Point Pleasant at Multiple Angles
As the Point Pleasant photographer, it's important for me to be prepared for the many different photo situations I could find myself in. For example, event photography, portrait photography, and landscape photography have all been essential components for creating Point Pleasant's brand. However, photographing each of these is a very different experience, each with its own challenges, which is why I am going to explain a little bit about each.
We've all been in the position where we are driving down the road, or visiting a new place, and we want to get a picture of a gorgeous view. However, getting your landscapes to look full of life can be tricky. Personally, landscape photography is one of my favorites, especially for capturing the beauty around the Point Pleasant area. So below are a few tips and tricks I like to use for my landscape photography:
Create depth: When you are taking a landscape shot, you want to make sure everything is in focus. This will create a sense of depth that makes the photo less flat and dull to the viewer. To do this, I make sure my aperture is somewhere between f/16-f/22. This will ensure that everything in the scene is in focus.
Rule of thirds: To photograph using the rule of thirds, you must first start by imagining four lines. Two going horizontally and two going vertically, creating a total of nine squares over a photo. Placing an object in the intersecting parts of the square can create an interesting composition for the viewer. This can be helpful in situations where the landscape has a person or interesting object in it.
Capture movement: We all love a beautiful photo of water. However, how do you add movement to this photograph? With a slow shutter speed/long exposure, you can do exactly that. I typically start with my shutter speed set at two seconds or longer and go from there. Slow shutters can make your photo a bit less stagnant, and a lot more lively. Be sure to use a tripod!
Bracketing: Bracketing allows you to take multiple shots (typically three) of the same photo, but at different camera settings. So let's say you are taking a photo of a nice mountain scene. Each part of the picture needs to be properly exposed to light, including the grass on the ground, the mountain and the sky. Bracketing will take each photo at a different exposure of light to make sure the entire photo is evenly exposed. So, if the sky is overexposed, the mountain looks good and the grass is too dark, bracketing will solve this problem by combining several images together.
Above is an example of a landscape photograph of the Ohio River. In this example, I set my camera aperture at f/22, so I could create depth between the foreground and background. I also slowed my shutter a bit to help show the fog in the photo. You can check out Tony and Chelsea Northrup's video on landscapes for some more tips here!
Events are probably one of the most common things to photograph, but also one of the most difficult. Most of my time as the Point Pleasant Photographer has been spent photographing events and finding ways to represent Point Pleasant best. Here are some of the tips I have for this type of photography:
Be aware of your surroundings: This will come with experience, but it's always important to put yourself in a position where you can best predict the photo. For example, if someone is giving a speech, be prepared to capture the audience's reaction to something the speaker says. Being able to predict these situations will help you capture those special and unique moments throughout an event.
Candids and posed photos: When shooting an event, you want to make sure you have a variety of photographs. Take a moment to watch how people interact with each other, then go and photograph it. Often candid shots have some of the best moments. However, don't be afraid to pose people either, if necessary.
Retake the shot: If someone blinked or made a silly face, don't be afraid to ask them to retake the photo. Yes, it might be frustrating that you've missed the picture the first time, but you and the client will be much happier if you take the extra time to make sure the photo is perfect. Also, if your subjects are just a bit on the stiff side, try talking to them. It will make them much more relaxed, and that translates to better photos.
In this photo, I set up my camera so I was ready for a crowd reaction during the Point Pleasant High school vs. Wahama High School basketball game.
Some posed photos were taken during the Brand Launch event as well.
I love working with people and finding the best way to portray them to a viewer. Taking photos of people can be nerve racking, but it just takes practice!
Get closer: It is so common for photographers to be too far from their subject. To create detailed and intimate moments with your subject, you need to get closer to them. I find that breaking the ice with some small talk or a compliment is the best way to help everyone feel much more comfortable. Try practicing with people you know first, and then photographing strangers will become much easier. Practice makes perfect with this.
Find a setting: Using a background or the environment is a great way to tell a story, or to tell more about the subject. It helps give context and tells the viewer where they are and how it relates to them. However, try not to distract from the subject with too much in the background.
Detail shots: It's easy to think that photographers always want a face in the frame. However, details of the human body are also important in telling a story about the subject. Try to think of what else makes your subject interesting. Is it their clothes? Their hair? Something they are carrying with them, or doing? Capturing these intimate details can tell the viewer more about the person than them merely smiling at the camera.
National Geographic's website also has more tips on taking portraits here.
Photography can be a challenge, especially when you have to approach each shooting situation differently as I do in Point Pleasant. However, it's a very rewarding experience, and hopefully, these tips can make it easier for those who would like to learn. If you would like to keep up with the Brand Storytelling Team's work, click here.
Kristian Davis is a senior journalism and photography student at West Virginia University. Her passions for photography sparked when she was just a kid and have since grown into an overall passion for storytelling. She is currently a staff photographer and culture writer for the Daily Athenaeum Paper, and also the photographer of WVU’s Public Relation Student Society of America. After graduation, she hopes to work for National Geographic or within tourism. When she’s away from her camera, she also enjoys playing video games, being outdoors and learning about environmental science.