Archive for December, 2006

Power of 5 Winners

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Today I announce the five “Power of 5” winners.

Many subscribers will remember that last month I held a “Great Tip Search”, and with that a competition. The five authors of the best 5 tips submitted would each win a Canon Powershot A630 digital camera.

I had a huge number of entries – over 2,500! Thanks to everyone who entered – I really appreciated the time you put into entering your particular tips. Reading all the tips, I noticed a number of very common themes, so it was sometimes hard to choose a ‘winning’ tip from all the great entries.

After much deliberation. I have selected the five winners:

I chose these tips because they each described a simple, yet very effective way of taking better photos.

Thanks again to all who entered. I got lots of great feedback.

If you didn’t win this time – stay tuned, because I have more competitions and special prizes in the works.


Know The Age Of Your Batteries

Know The Age Of Your Batteries

Al Willen is our final “Power of 5” winner. Al’s tip about batteries is very useful – even if you only have two batteries that you swap. When I emailled Al to say that he’d won the camera, he said he’s had a run of bad luck, so this was great news. Congratulations Al. – David.

Whenever I buy a new camera or flash battery, I mark the date and give it a sequential number. This allows me to know the exact age of the battery, which is useful to know for future battery purchases.

It also tells me the order that I put it into the camera or charger. This ensures that all my batteries are used equally throughout their life span. Once the battery is flat (during the photo shoot), I wrap a rubber band around it so that when the time comes to recharge, I recharge the “right” battery or batteries … and not ones that still have a fresh charge in them.

Al Willen

Create a Foreground

Create a Foreground

Justine Stevens has won a digital camera with this great tip that works very well alongside the use negative space tip by Neil Speers. Congrats Julie! – David.

When taking photos most people remember to consider the background. However a really important thing to remember is that we see three dimensionally, and to create amazing photos we should remember our foreground too!

For example in landscapes take your photo down lower and include a rock or leaf in the foreground up close. It really emphasizes the rest of the picture by creating more dimension. Another example when at the beach taking photos of your family and friends, have the beach/sea as your background, people in the middle ground and again take your photo down lower and put a sandcastle, or starfish, shells, or driftwood in the foreground.

Fantastic three dimensional photography! I actually carry a beautiful piece of driftwood in the car with me wherever I go, so I have an instant piece of beauty to create a foreground when there is nothing else around.

Justine Stevens

Use Negative Space

Use Negative Space

The third camera winner is Neil Speers, who has a great tip on composition. Congratulations Neil! – David.

Learn to use negative space. Positive space is your subject – a person, an animal, a building, an egg, etc. Negative space is everything else that shows up in the picture. Take five pictures of five different subjects – any subject is fine, just choose five different things.

BUT, concentrate on making the BACKGROUND perfect. That is, concentrate on everything except the subject itself – what is behind and around the subject has to be perfect. Once you’ve started to pay attention to the negative space, your whole composition will improve.

Neil Speers

Easily Know Where The Light Is Coming From

Easily Know Where The Light Is Coming From

Our second “Power of 5” winner is Vanessa Lister. Vanessa’s tip was something I hadn’t heard of before – and is a very quick and easy way of making sure your subjects aren’t squinting into the light. Congratulations Vanessa, you’re also the proud recipient of a Canon A630 camera. – David

Great photos need the light coming from the right direction. Shooting towards the light can cause your subject to squint – never a good look. So how do you know which direction this is? It’s easy to work out when the sun is shining, but what about those flat grey, cloudy or overcast days when the light seems all around?

Many shots are ruined by overexposure if you accidentally shoot into the light without realizing. The tip? Always keep a white business card in your pocket or camera bag. Fold the business card in half to bend it into a V shape. Hold it up in front of you so you are looking at the folded crease.

You will see straightaway if one side of the card is brighter than the other. You have now found out where the light is coming from! Move your subject (or yourself) around and hold the card up again to check the light direction. You can position your subject or yourself to make the most of the outdoors light, even on misty grey flat days.

Vanessa Lister

Keep Your Camera With You Always

Keep Your Camera With You Always

Our first winner of the “Power of 5” competition is Robyn Januszewski. Robyn entered a tip that was a common theme (keeping your camera with you always), but she had the best description of why! Congratulations Robyn – I’m sending you a Powershot A630 for your winning entry! – David.

The one thing I have found that produces my best photos is just keeping a camera with me at all times. My best shots are the unexpected things that I find to photograph while I am out walking or working – such as a discarded bike in the mud or a swirl of ice around a tree stump.

Keeping a camera close at hand elements the often heard comment “what a great shot that would make, I wish I had a camera with me.” I used to take my camera but left it in the truck, figuring I would go back and get it if I saw something interesting. Needless to say, I missed a lot of shots.

Once I started taking it with me I began to get some great shots. I usually carry a point and shoot if I’m working and a digital SLR otherwise.

Robyn Januszewski