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Two ways to improve your pictures

October 9, 2010
By Brent Kepner

My camera has been on fire this week as I have followed Maid Silvia and her royal court around the greater Elkins metropolitan area meeting and greeting just about everyone in town. It looks like I'm not the only one either. Everywhere I go, people have cameras and are snapping away.

With the combination of digital cameras and phones that take pictures, it is easy to photograph anywhere and everywhere. Plus, with so much to photograph this week a lot of people are concerned about how to improve all those pictures.

This week I have two suggestions that anyone can start using right away to make a huge improvement with your next photo.

Article Photos

The first step is to shoot with intent. As I said, everyone is snapping away, but I often wonder if they are really paying attention to what they are shooting. The key to a great shot is to watch and wait for the right moment. Just like a Secret Service agent watches the crowd for unusual activity, you need to watch for the decisive moment to push the button. Don't just randomly fire away hoping you will hit something.

A famous photographer once said if your pictures aren't good enough, then you are not close enough. That means fill up your viewfinder with the thing that you are photographing. Often times I see a little tiny subject with all kinds of space around it and that's fine if you are trying to tell the story of the location, but most times the person in the picture is the most important thing. So the simple solution is to use your sneaker zoom. Yes, the old sneaker zoom works every time and doesn't cost near as much as a zoom lens. Simply use your feet and take a few steps closer to the subject. Problem solved.

So there you go, pay attention and step closer to the subject. You have two easy ways to improve your Forest Festival photographs. Speaking of Forest Festival photographs, in the next few weeks I will have all the official photographs posted on the Foto 1 website ( in case you missed something this week.

(Brent Kepner is the owner and photographer at Foto 1 Pro Photo in Elkins. He is a master photographer, certified professional photographer and president of the Professional Photographers of West Virginia.)



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