Four common photography mistakes to avoid


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If your photos seem too bright, cluttered or ordinary, you can take simple steps to avoid these and other common photography mistakes.

“Photographers know it takes a good eye, practice and patience to make the most out of every moment,” says Bill Robbins, an award-winning advertising photographer, commercial film director and current program chair of professional photography at Brooks Institute, a leading provider of higher education for film, graphic design, and photography. “Whether you’re a professional or amateur photographer, it’s also about trying new techniques and experimenting with everything from lighting to composition.”

 

Robbins offers these tips for overcoming four common photography errors and turning any good photo into a great photo:

 
* No focal point. Ask yourself this simple question before you snap a picture: What are you taking a photo of and why? Your answer will ensure you capture the right elements for the viewer to easily understand the photograph’s subject and purpose. Less is usually more when it comes to photo composition. For example, if you’re taking a photo of a beautiful landscape, what’s the main focal point – is it the rock formation, sunset or covered bridge? You may need to move in closer to fill the frame with your subject and eliminate any distractions in the background or foreground. In addition, consider turning around to see if there’s a more interesting image or focal point in that direction.

 
* Too much or too little light. Getting the right exposure – the amount of light that passes through your camera lens – is critical to capturing the sharpest photos. If you’re shooting in a dimly lit space or standing too far away from your subject, your photo may be underexposed or appear too dark. Quick fixes: Add extra light if you’re indoors, move closer to your subject, or manually adjust your camera’s shutter speed to be slower or the aperture to a wider lens opening, thus allowing in more light. When there’s too much natural or indoor light, your photos may look washed out or have unwanted shadows. Consider using a flash to even out the lighting, moving the subject (or yourself) out of the brighter light, or waiting for a time of day when the lighting is better. For outdoor pictures, overcast days work well. When you get in the habit of focusing on the light, you’ll find the best places and times to use light to your advantage.

 
* Centered subject. The best photos may not be perfectly centered in your frame. When eyeing any photo opportunity, consider the tried-and-true “rule of thirds.” As you’re framing your photo, imagine two vertical and two horizontal lines spaced evenly, creating a grid of nine rectangular boxes. Try placing the main subject near the points along these lines or where the lines intersect.  This creates more visual interest than centering the subject. In a landscape shot, for example, it prevents the horizon from appearing to divide the picture in half. Instead, the horizon might appear in the lower third of the photo. You can also consider framing the image from a different position rather than always shooting at eye level. With digital cameras, it’s easy to experiment and be creative with your composition.

 
* Red-eye. This is one of the most common – and annoying – issues with photos. Red-eye is caused by the flash reflecting off the person’s retina, in which blood vessels cause the red glow. The easiest solution is to turn off the flash. You can also activate the red-eye reduction feature on many digital cameras, or, if a flash is necessary, ask the subject to avoid looking directly into the camera lens.

Courtesy of BPT

For a greener backyard, take cues from leading-edge California

(BPT) – From implementing stricter standards for vehicle emissions to creating a state-level agency to administer stewardship of the environment, Californians have always been at the forefront of the green movement. That commitment to the environment even extends to local backyards, where California homeowners are turning to eco-friendly materials, building practices and landscaping to create “greener” outdoor living spaces.

You can bring such style into your own backyard with a few tips and tactics inspired by your California neighbors:

Choose eco-friendly materials that are locally produced in California.

A great place to start thinking about such issues is with a deck, which can be the showpiece of your outdoor environment. When you’re building one, be sure to choose materials that are sustainable, recyclable and of local origin. First, it’s key that the material can be grown and re-grown and positively impacts the environment. In addition, locally produced materials consume less fossil fuel and create fewer emissions being transported from their point of origin to your home. And, materials that can be recycled are much less likely to end up in a landfill someday.

For example, redwood is the material of choice for green-minded homeowners when building a deck. Natural and organic, redwood is sustainable, removes carbon from the atmosphere and is recyclable, whereas materials such as man-made plastic composites are not. Redwood grows in one of the world’s healthiest forest systems, and redwood lumber is carbon negative, which means that redwood removes more carbon from the atmosphere than it takes to produce. As a building material, it naturally resists decay, warping and shrinking, and is easy to work with. Unlike composite decking, redwood is a renewable resource. Because it’s local, it not only underscores the beauty of California’s natural environment, its transportation creates less environmental impact than imported hardwoods such as Ipe from the tropics or even cedar from Canada. To learn more about -redwood, visit redwoodstrong.com.

Landscape with an eye toward sustainability.

Sustainable landscaping practices can help you create a beautiful backyard that is kind to Mother Nature. A sustainably designed backyard allows homeowners to conserve water, create an environment that celebrates the beauty of local nature, and minimize the amount of chemicals needed for plants, bushes and trees to thrive.

With many parts of California experiencing warm, dry summers, it pays to incorporate drought-resistant, local flora into your landscaping. Native plants have evolved to thrive in the specific conditions of a given region, so they’re much more likely to do well – with less work, fertilizer and water – than imported species not habituated for conditions in your area. What’s more, choosing native plants means they will travel less distance from nursery to backyard.

Likewise, when seeding your lawn each year, be sure to choose grass seed specifically bred to thrive in local conditions. You’ll need less seed to fill in bare spots on the lawn, and less water to keep the lawn healthy and green throughout the summer.

Not sure what plants are native to your area of the state? You can find information online, either at your local college’s extension website or through resources like www.landscaperesource.com, where you can enter your ZIP code and get information on local plants, as well as green service providers in your area.

While the green trend has branched out across the country, its strong roots grow in the climatically diverse, beautiful landscape of California. Whether you’re planning to expand your outdoor living space with a deck or just want a beautiful, lower-maintenance landscape, choosing local, sustainable materials can help ensure your backyard is as green as possible, no matter where you live.

Courtesy of BPT

How to choose furniture for a light color themed home


Light colored walls offer you so many different options in furniture and home decor. But, they also give you several advantages over dark walls. When used in small rooms light walls can make your room appear to be much larger than it is. They are an ideal way to make any room feel more open and airy. When used in a room that doesn’t get very much natural light, light walls add brightness. To get the exact look that you want, you need to know how to buy furniture for a light color themed home.

Choose a Style for Your Home

Before you purchase furniture for a light colored room, decide what look you want for the room. Do you want a warm and inviting room? Do you want to create a bold contrast in the room? One of the best advantages of a light colored theme is that you can incorporate almost any color furniture and accessories into the room. But, a change in color will cause a dramatic effect on the rooms look.

Warm and Inviting

Light and neutral colors work well together and they are ideal for any size room. Using light colored furniture with light colored walls makes the room feel warm and inviting. It will also make the room seem cleaner and uncluttered. If you have white walls, choose furniture pieces in white, cream or light beige. You can add a little contrast with complimenting colors in a area rug, throw pillows or home decor.

Bold and Dramatic

You can create a really bold and dramatic feeling in a light colored room by choosing dark colored furniture. However, keep in mind that it’s best to use furniture that is just a few shades darker than your walls. If the difference is to dramatic the rooms decor can be to bold for the eye. To blend the colors together, balance them out by adding contrast to the rooms trim, baseboards and molding.

Modern

Using furniture colors such as black or red in a light color themed room not only adds a bold feeling to the theme, it also gives it a modern look. More and more homeowners are choosing to decorate their homes in a modern design. And, one of the most popular colors for modern furniture is black. Black furniture has a sleek feel and gives you the advantage of using numerous colors in your decor, pillows and area rugs.

Country

If you have a country style home, choose furniture that carries that look over into your rooms. Choose furniture in natural or pastel colors. Furniture with light colored floral designs are an excellent way to compliment a country decor. If you don’t want a floral design on the furniture, use light or pastel colors and add a floral touch on your curtains, pillows or other accessories.

by: Oleg Oyfe 

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