Controlling the image

Many picture takers know little or nothing of photographic technique, but expect miracles from the camera. These people are usually disappointed. Even though their equipment may be complex and expensive, the pictures produces by it are somehow mediocre at best. Apologies for one thing or another always seem necessary when they show their photographs to others. Often these people have no inkling of where the difficulties may lie. Havenít they purchase the best camera available? Donít they always (well, almost always) remember to focus? Then whatís wrong? Why their pictures so often either disappointments or outright disasters?

The problem is that control of the image has been left largely to the camera or else ignored altogether. Such novices are either unwilling or unable to exercise most of that control themselves. Often their equipment is more sophisticated than their ability to handle it. However, many of these people can be helped greatly by an understanding of the various ways a photographic image is controlled.

The basic principle to keep in mind is that a camera canít think for you. It canít sense your point of view or your feelings about a subject. It canít determine what you want emphasized or played down. It doesnít know what you consider important, or beautiful or meaningful. Only you know these things, and you can bring them to life in pictures if you know how to control all the factors. Selecting the subject, arranging the setting and background, adjusting the lighting, and determining the camera position are controls that can be employed even before lenses and cameras are involved. Other controls may include choice of cameras, filter selection, and type of camera support. Finally, those controls directly related to the camera can regulate image size, sharpness, angle of view, perspective, depth of field and exposure. All these factors work together to manipulate the image to your requirements.

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