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Great photography 101

Great lighting can make a photo outstanding (courtesy: Marcel Rosa)
Great lighting can make a photo outstanding (courtesy: Marcel Rosa)

Gary Archibald, Weather Broadcaster, The Weather Network

February 22, 2013 — A picture is worth a thousand words – and they're worth even more here at The Weather Network.

Good composition makes all the difference (courtesy: Alain Audet)
Good composition makes all the difference (courtesy: Alain Audet)

The photo and video submissions we receive here at The Weather Network are proof that people are very much affected by the weather events that take place in Canada. 

Your images helped us tell the story of the Nor'Easter that slammed into Atlantic Canada, the stifling lake-effect snow event over Ontario, the blizzard-like conditions in the Prairies and the drenching coastal rains and heavy snow that British Columbians have had to deal with. 

But regardless of the season -- and the subject  -- a few golden rules make a big difference when taking pictures.

While breaking the rules can sometimes yield magic, understanding the fundamentals is a launching point for successful photography.

Here are a few tips to help you get the perfect shot.

Tip 1: Identify and know your subject. Look for what is arresting or compelling about what you are seeing in front of you. That is a key component of the art of photography. The more you focus, the sharper your images will be.

Tip 2: Look for the light. Light is everything in photography, whether it's warm, soft, harsh, or a shadow. Do a web search of great weather images -- or award-winning photography in general -- and you will see that the photographer manipulated and recorded the light in a way that compliments the subject matter and the photo's composition.

We'd love to feature your photos and videos on TV and our website! (courtesy: Darryll Pauls)
We'd love to feature your photos and videos on TV and our website! (courtesy: Darryll Pauls)

Tip 3: Develop good habits. Hold your camera with two hands -- you want the image to be sharp after all -- and shoot horizontally. Think of the TV screen, which has a ratio of 4:3 or 16:9.

Tip 4: Make your shots as interesting as possible. Check the four corners of your frame before you press the shutter. Ask yourself: does everything in the frame add to the scene? 

If you find elements of your shot are distracting, or take away from the "wow" factor,  eliminate them.

You may even have to move something physically out of the frame, like a piece of windblown trash or a pedestrian in the background.

Tip 5: Shoot as many photos as possible. The vast majority of amateur and professional shooters are using digital cameras (or smart phones) these days. You don't have to worry about running out of film, so shoot a lot of images. In doing so, you will develop your own photographic style, point of view and you'll have a better appreciation for the world around you, which is one of the reasons why I am passionate about photography. 

If something doesn't work, you can simply press "delete", set up and shoot again. All it takes is time, patience, some creative fortitude and the willingness to learn through trial and error. 

Tip 6: Have fun! If you're using a smart phone or computer, there are some great apps available to help budding photographers along. I have an iPhone5 and I love using apps like Dynamic Light, PS Express, Pro HDR, TiltShiftGen, Instagram, Hipstamatic, Phoster, CrossProcess, iMovie, 8mm, to name a few.

There are also a lot of great photography books available at your local book store are library. 

I highly recommend picking up anything by Michael Freeman. His book The Photographer’s Eye is a great starting point for anyone interested in photography.

Tweet me @Gary_Archibald. I'd love to see  your weather photos! You can also upload your creations to The Weather Network website

Good luck and happy shooting!

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