Back to Basics

Today as I am getting back into the swing of things after a day or so of downtime, I have a couple miscellaneous items that may be of use…  A lot of it is basic stuff, but there is a common thread to it as they all involve some concept of “back”.  So, here is a Friday Foursome of tips to improve your photos.  The theme:  Back to Basics


  1. Back story – provide some background on how you got the shot.  Give it a personal meaning or significance for the viewer.  Often times connections with imagery are because of a personal tie to it – and if you give people a hint of the “who, what, where, when why, how” element of your photos that you share, it can increase the impact.  Just remember, keep back stories short – if it takes two pages to set the stage, the show will almost always disappoint.
  2. Backgrounds – speaking of backgrounds, take a look at the backgrounds in your photos.  Are there any elements there that draw your eye?  If so, that is likely a detractor.  Keep backgrounds simple.  If shooting a lot of family members at a dinner, keep the lower edge of your camera above the table line to avoid the distraction of glasses, plates, food, centerpieces, etc.  Likewise, look where people are.  Is it a crowded subway or is it a meadow of daisies?  Either can serve to enhance or detract from your image because the background can take emphasis away from the subject or it can help focus on your subject.  Generally speaking, the simpler the background, the better the picture!
  3. Backsides – in family or group shot settings, can you see anyone’s backside?  If so, then their face is not likely facing the camera.  We tend to prefer shots of people where we can see their faces, so if you see someone’s backside, hold off on taking that shot – get them to turn around a little.
  4. Backups – It’s been said before, but the importance of backing up your files can never be understated.  When do you backup?  I do it three times – on first import to the computer, after I sort through and delete out unwanted images, and then after I process for print and web.  Typically the latter two will be purged after a month or so of inactivity.  By purge, I mean relegated to the RAID side of the house, rather than the active folder I keep on my desktop.


So, that’s the Back to Basics for Friday.  Any other tips out there I missed where you can incorporate the term “back” into the subject?  I had four, but surely there’s more!  (Heh, if it’s not alliterative, at least it rhymes, right?)  Happy shooting, everyone!  Watch those apertures and we’ll see you back here Monday!


P.S.  Don’t forget about the Photographing Freedom contest now underway here at CB – day 7 of 30!

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2 comments for “Back to Basics

  1. July 14, 2008 at 8:47 am

    Great blog, subscribed to your rss feed. Thanks.

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