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Feel free to experiment with unusual poses and camera perspective. This nice snap was taken by having Vanessa stand on a picnic table and holding her arms out. On-camera flash was used liven up the skin tones. At this time, I need to emphasize that almost any camera and film could have been used. I employed generic color film costing about $1.25 per 24 exposure roll. The camera was a 35 year old single lens reflex, available on the used market for about $125. The flash was a good quality, but amateur-type electronic unit, purchased about 25 years ago. Overemphasis of films and equipment is made by photo magazines, in my opinion. By now, you must have guessed that the secret to most good pictures is proper composition and lighting, with equipment placing third on the list of importance.  


Go for a nice, tight composition. Here the message is Vanessa and the bell on a nice sunny day in a park-like setting. It is not necessary to get the whole body in the picture; on the contrary, attempting to do just that would weaken the picture. Fill-in flash was used to relieve the shadows formed by the bell. A lot of flash power is needed for outdoor fill-in; built-in flash is seldom adequate for this technique. Look for a camera with a high "sync speed" for reduced power requirements and longer flash range. Once more we see the arms bent at pleasing angles and the arms and bell create an effective frame for the face. A series of pictures taken at this scene, with different poses would yield variations from which to chose. Take plenty of film for a shoot! Professional photographers often will shoot a roll or two just to get one picture judged fine enough to publish. 


Somewhat similar in philosophy to the previous picture, this picture illustrates the photographer's technique of getting down to the subject's level. In fact, the camera is actually somewhat lower, about at shoulder height. A common mistake in photographing children or pets is to stand before them and point the camera downward. As in most of my close-up sunlit pictures, I have used flash to lighten the shadows caused by the 3/4 back lighting. The fire hydrant was a convenient prop to add interest to the composition.  In addition, a polarizing filter was placed in front of the lens. By rotating the filter element for best effect, harmful reflections were minimized, improving the color saturation. This explains why the flesh tones are true and the sky is a rich blue as compared with the usual washed-out rendering. The physics of polarization are worth mentioning: Surfaces which we wish to photograph gain color by absorbing some of the sun's white light (a mix of all colors) and reflecting part of spectrum. For instance, a red fire hydrant absorbs most of the blue and green light and reflects the red component of the sun light. But, every surface also reflects some white sunlight from the sun. These reflected beams of white light "dilute" the colors of the surfaces; in essence, the white light mixes with the colors and weakens them. The polarizing filter selectively blocks these beams of white light and thus allow the true colors of the objects to pass through the lens of the camera and register faithfully on the film.