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Tuesday’s Tip: Establishing Shots

October 9, 2007

This tip is from a little talk I gave at my church’s MOPS group (Mothers Of PreSchoolers). They asked me to share some how to photo stuff for the average user with a small digital camera – no SLRs. SO, this is one of many tips from the day, and I have photos to illustrate – all shot with my sister’s Fuji FinePix Z10.

Too often with little digital cameras that have digital zoom (bad, bad, bad, stick with optical zoom – more on that at another time) , people tend to go overboard on the tight shots (zoomed in and close up) that they forget an establishing shot. This is a shot that frames the scene. It gives us reference for the story you are about to tell with your photos. We need to know if you are indoors or outdoors, what time of day it is, what does the mood feel like with the weather? So I illustrated all of this with a little outing to our local orchard/farm for some shots from a typical fall family outing.

Establishing Baughers’
Here is a shot of the family blue barn as you enter the orchard. Yes, it establishes where we are, but man is it boring!!

Establishing Baugher’s 2
This shot is much better – it is still simple, but at least gives reference to what season we are visiting in. It also is giving a hint as to why we went. The lines of the front flower stand lead your eye toward the pumpkins and the blue vertical lines on the barn itself lead your eye to the sign. Ok, we’re doing better.

But could we be more creative?

Establishing Baugher’s 3

In this shot, I got down low (off of eye level shooting) and found that I like the crate in the foreground. However, the pumpkins are distracting and not giving me the effect I want. So… maybe get a tad higher?

Establishing Baugher’s 4

Cool – I like this one. We see the pumpkins in the crate. The words stamped on the crate are no longer there competing with the main Baugher’s lettering and we still get all the reference I need. Pumpkins for fall, foreground elements and a decent establishing shot for the day.

So remember when you are shooting an outing, a party, etc…
don’t forget your establishing shot.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Laura permalink
    October 22, 2007 3:27 pm

    Very nice examples. Trying to teach others how to take better photographs isen’t easy but you definitely can. Thank You!

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