Saturday, March 6, 2010

How to take great pictures.

I am not really one to write "How To" guides, other than the 6 volume set I recently released on 'How to Sleep Soundly on Any Surface Other than Nails or Glass'. Shamefully, it was not well received by the general public. However, I have high hopes for the Aborigines people, who are known to sleep on hot cinders and spend their bark-like money on helpful 'How To' books.

Nevertheless, I feel obligated to share my expertise on the art of photography, which is actually just a dirty, intellectual word for "taking pictures."

A word of warning: If you are looking to step into the cutthroat world of photography, you must first be aware of it's seedy, crime ridden underbelly. I've seen folks that started by innocently wanting to snap a picture here or "point and shoot" (as we say in the business) and they ended up laying face down in a State Street gutter, their bloody camera cord strung around their neck and a nasty case of foot fungus festering between their toes.

However, if you have the right instincts, the honor of a lion, and the speed and agility to escape treacherous situations, you might just have what it takes to take pictures. Regardless as to if you have these qualities (most likely not), if you are going to take pictures, you are going to need a to know the ropes.*

1. First, you are going to need to purchase a camera. While shopping, you will notice that the price of a camera is directly tied to something called "mega pixels". Although I am an expert in photography, I am not entirely sure what these mega pixels do - just that they are highly desirable amongst those of us in the photography community. Very often, you will find a desperate, inconsolable photographer looking to sell their spare mega pixels for ecstasy or Amish crafted scarfs. Do yourself a favor and get a camera with at least 15 mega pixels. 15 is the number you are looking for because you really don't want troublesome, aimless, homeless former photographers constantly asking you to trade your extra pixels for Amish crafted scarfs.

2. Once you have your new camera in tow, you are going to want to take a few practice shots, to ensure that it is properly working. But HOLD ON! Take some deep breaths... you're not ready yet.

Now, before you take a picture of anything, you are going to need some essential supplies: 4 double A batteries, a camera bag, a lens cap and a shoulder strap. Every photographer needs these items and most are available at Walgreens or nationwide flea markets. Please close your browser now, gather these items and return for further instruction.

Nice to see you are back. Have you obtained the said items? Good. Now place all of these things on your dining room table and take pictures of them. You are to begin your practice pictures here for two reasons: 1) Double A batteries have an illustrious shine to them that if captured on film correctly, can be breathtaking. 2) Just in case these items are stolen, you will have a photo to show the cops.**

3. Now that you have practiced and rehearsed taking pictures with your 15 mega pixels, you are ready for the real deal. I suggest beginning your photography experience with something simple, elegant and familiar- a family photo.

Of course, not any family will do. You are going to want a particularly handsome family. Preferably, the father must have a handlebar mustache, the mother should be shaped like an hourglass (and not a Russian hourglasses, with it's completely misshapen top and frying pan bottom) and the children must be properly nourished and look like little sitcom midgets.

If you cannot find a family that meets the above criteria, your own family will do. Just ensure that you are equipped with sufficient fake handlebar mustaches.

You are going to need some nature to hand place these people in - like Barbee dolls on vacation to the Poconos during the fall. In fact, fall time is the perfect time to begin your family photography excursions. The leaves make for a perfect backdrop, as does a nice sunset, as does a wooden bridge.

We have a common saying in the industry: "Take a picture, it lasts longer!" And it does. It really does.

Once you have your family assembled, it's go time. Place them in adorable positions. Perhaps holding hands, walking into a thorny bristle. Try putting the small ones on the knees of the bigger ones. I've noticed a good photographer always makes absurdly idiotic sounds around children. Additionally, you must be overly concerned about leg placement. These are tips I have collected over the years.

4. Once you have mastered taking pictures of actual people, you are ready for the big time.

- Nature -

If you find something that is nature, it is now your obligation to take pictures of it.

The best advice I can give you regarding photographing nature is to catch nature when it least expects it. Go out into nature, hide in a bush and wait. Then allow nature to come to you. When ready, it will come and your photos will glow because of it.

*Quite literally, if you become someone that photographs different varieties of ropes. "Rope-ographers", as they are often referred to as, will go to great "lengths" to get the perfect shot. These rope-ographers are well aware that - given the right light - the most photogenic rope is clearly the "braided polyester"

** I would also suggest, in case of thievery, taking a picture of the camera itself. However, I am not sure if you can get the camera to bend that way. Of course, you could ask someone else to take a picture of the camera for you, but I doubt they could get the camera to bend that way too.


Sco said...

That's quite the family portrait; sweet 'stache, can't really tell if the wife has an hourglass figure, but at least she doesn't have a neck.

Tammy said...

Do you look at that site I recently added to my blog? I know that's where you got the family picture from. It's hilarious!!! Seriously, what are people thinking? We had our family pictures taken yesterday . . . . I wonder how they'll turn out? Maybe we should have had YOU take them!