Five Tips to Becoming a Better Photographer

Five Tips to Becoming a Better Photographer
By: Robert Davila
Professor of Photography

I think one of the most important tools that any artist could have is their camera. It is a great way to have references to work from and now with Illustrator CS6 live trace can replicate and image to vector drawing, better than ever before. Which than can be modified to fit your artistic style. However not being able to fully understand your camera setting can leave you upset and frustrated to the point that you just don’t use it. The myth that you need an expensive camera to take good picture is not true. However having an expensive camera gives you more choices which in hand give you more control. But the camera does not make the photographer.
I have created five tips that can help you become a better photographer. Each week for the next five weeks, I will discuss a tip. It does not really matter if you are using a Digital SLR or just a point in shoot. As an instructor of photography I found these five tips to be the foundation in which most of my students build and refine their skills.

Tip Number One: Understanding Exposure

I don’t care which camera or model you have, even if you are using your I Phone camera. All cameras have two settings. These two setting are the basis for photographing. Aperture works similar to the pupil in your eyes. In darker lighting situation it needs to be open more and in lighter situation it needs to be closed down. This Setting controls not only exposure but depth of field. How much of the image is going to be in focus. A limited depth of field (small amount of the image in focus) is created when the aperture is open up (F 2). An increase depth of field is created when the aperture is closed down (f 22). The other setting that is important to a camera is the shutter speed. This is done for the most part in a fraction of a second. When your camera reads out 500 for a shutter speed it means that that shutter open and closed 500th of a second. That is pretty fast. A Guide line to follow is that if shooting anything less than 1/60, you are going to need a tripod. The shutter speed is going to control motion in your image. If you are going to take picture and want the motion to be blurry, you are going to photograph with a slower shutter speed. Want your moving subject to be sharp, use a faster shutter speed.
Determining your right exposure will be base in how you meter the light. You must read your manual to understand how to get the “right” exposure. But keep in mind once you have figure out your correct setting you can adjust them as needed. For example you might want to us a slower shutter speed than suggested. By increase the time that light will enter the camera you can use you aperture to cut down the amount of light coming in. So if you allow more time on one end you close down on the other end. You will than see your meter reading that is “right “again. Think of it as a faucet filling a bucket. If you open the facet all the way you will fill that bucket quicker than if you slow it down. At the end you could have both buckets filled, just one will take longer.
Next week, I will discuss Tip Number Two. Have a great weekend and take some photographs.

Published by Contemporary Art Gallery Online

The Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculptur


The Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park

I know I’ve already mentioned my home state of Michigan in connection with the ArtPrize competition, but Michigan’s Grand Rapids area is so full of art that I can’t help bringing it up again. The Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park is a place to be visited by all art lovers and appreciators. I myself have visited once, and once is surely not enough to see everything. You can take a trolley through the sculpture park and have a guide give you the low-down about each piece, but I chose to walk the grounds and have a personal experience while viewing the artwork. There are pieces by Alexander Calder, Claes Oldenburg, and even a giant metal horse based upon the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci. You can view metal heads without bodies, bodies made out of metal letters, abstract shapes you’re not quite sure what to make of, and an enormous red trowel stuck in the ground—all of these things you can find here among so many others.
A favorite of mine, if I can really say that I was able to pick a group of favorites, was a sculpture entitled Mad Mom by Tom Otterness. This large bronze sculpture, crafted in 2001, stands tall and depicts the “mad” feeling well through simple body language and facial expression. With arms akimbo and a frowning face, this mother figure exudes disappointment or frustration, but in a less than serious way. The use of geometric shapes and simplicity tone down the negative emotion in my opinion leaving the piece to be more accessible rather than off-putting as anger usually is. I attempted to mimic the statue’s pose and expression and I believe I ended up looking angrier than the Mad Mom. Perhaps I’ll have to use this stance and look when I’m actually a mother.
There is much to see at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. Over ten different types of gardens can be visited, a vast sculpture park can be perused, changing indoor exhibitions can be viewed, and there is also an amphitheater where concerts can be enjoyed. Again, if you’re ever in southern Michigan and the weather is being cooperative, stop by and enjoy all the art and creativity!
Submitted by Alexandra Dailey

Published by Contemporary Art Gallery Online

Contemporary Art Gallery Online would li

Contemporary Art Gallery Online would like to welcome Ashley Peters as a new artist to our gallery!

Ashley’s art consists of a combination of printmaking(woodcuts & linocuts) and illustration, (pen, ink & wash). The pieces are often pettily intimate or interesting, particularly elongated sizes. She implements colors found in nature, often muted. Then to bring a contrasting life are the linear forms interrupting the space, (used for metaphors) that consist of vibrant, saturated colors. Her work is an observation of the world around s as it changes and evolves as well as what is left behind in the process.

To view more of Ashley’s artistic work, visit her page on

Published by Contemporary Art Gallery Online

A Map of the World


A Map of the World


In his Map Works series, Dallas-based artist Matthew Cusick has created intricate collages out of maps and acrylic paint.  Echoing traditional Japanese woodcuts in some and Lucian Freud in others, the images depict people and the natural world through the harsh lines and bold colors of maps.  It is almost as though humanity’s attempts to capture and illustrate the complexity of Earth with a series of spheres, borders, and grids is being reflected back as a truly futile mission.  For more information on the artist, please visit his website.

Contributed by-Jayme Catalano, Canary Public Relations

Presented by Contemporary Art Gallery Online

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