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Tips for taking good photographs outdoors

Tips for taking good photographs outdoors

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Kodak moments don't roll around that often, so it's important not to botch a good opportunity to preserve a golden memory. You likely will regret it later on.

There was a time when getting high quality photographs required a considerable amount of technical know-how on the photographer's part. Thanks to the digital evolution, that is not necessarily the case anymore.

Anyone who can read and follow the directions of an instruction manual can take a digital unit into the field and come away with some images worthy of the wall or mantel.

It helps to understand the basics of composition and lighting. Once you have that down, getting good quality pictures with a point-and-shoot can be as simple as 1-2-3.

Here are some helpful tips for capturing good images of hunters and fishermen with a prize kill or catch:

* Equipment: Digital cameras are gauged by megapixels. A megapixel is a measurement of resolution. More megapixels allows the camera to capture more detail and sharpness in photos and allows for better quality enlargements. A four- or five-megapixel camera made by a name manufacturer is plenty sufficient for consumer-grade use.

* Image quality and file size: Most point-and-shoots have a image quality setting under the main menu. The settings usually are labeled low, medium, high and raw.

The lower the setting, the more images you can fit on your memory card. The higher the setting, the fewer images the memory card will hold. High settings provide better quality on enlargements, especially if you like to go big. Adjust the image file size to "large" when trying to shoot the best, biggest quality photo possible.

* Composition: How the subjects are arranged in the viewfinder can make a good photo or ruin one. When photographing a hunter with game, try to position the subjects so they don't detract from one another. Avoid set-ups with the hunter sitting on a deer's back or those that depict the animal hanging from a meat hook or rope.

Tailgate shots are fine, so long as they are clean. Remove any blood and make sure the animal's tongue is not dangling out of its mouth. Trust me, you'll wish you had if you didn't.

In deer photos, try to position the subjects so that nothing takes away from the primary element in the photo -- the antlers. It's important for the antlers to stand out.

I prefer to position the hunter to the side of the deer with only one or two fingers touching the antlers. A pleasing background such as a lake, river, open field or blue sky will really help the antlers jump out in the photo. Be wary of any background the antlers might blend into (like camouflage).

Fish pictures are no different. Making sure a fish is wet will add some serious appeal to the photo.

* Take multiple shots: The more photos you take from different angles, the better the chance of coming away with an image you will cherish for life. One or two photos will always stand out from the rest.

* The right light: Early morning and late afternoon are ideal times for taking outdoor photos. The sun produces soft, golden light during these periods. Cloudy or overcast skies are good, too. It is a good idea to use a fill flash to give the photo some "pop."

During midday, when the sun is directly overhead, place the subject in the shade. This will eliminate harsh shadows. Plus, it will prevent the subject from squinting. Use a fill flash.

* Use props: The use of props such as a rifle, bow or fishing rod will add a personal touch to the photo. Be sure the prop is positioned in a manner that it is not be ndistracting.

* Get tight: One of the cardinal rules of photography is to get close. Compose the shot, so that the the subjects fill the viewfinder.

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