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Inside the Viewfinder


Ninety nine percent of the time we look through the camera’s viewfinder before taking a shot.  A quick look is hardly ever enough and in this article we are going to tell you how to get the most out of your viewfinder.


Don’t you hate the feeling of discovering an annoying element in your favorite shot after an exciting photo shoot?  Elements that you could have eliminated with simply taking a step to the left, or moving your subject to the right.  That’s what happens when we are in a rush, we don’t take enough time to make sure that the shot is perfect inside the viewfinder.  Getting used to paying attention to details inside the viewfinder before taking the shot takes some getting used to, you will have to force it in the beginning.

There are few things you have to keep in mind.  The first thing is to make sure that you roll your eye around the corners of the frame.  Most of today’s camera’s viewfinders cover about 98-100% of the frame.  That means that what you see is what you get.  By rolling your eye around the corners of the viewfinder, you will ensure that everything you want is inside the frame, and everything you don’t need is left outside the frame.

After looking around the edges of the frame, look at your background, everything behind the subject, make sure that the horizon line is straight and is where you want it to be.  It is a matter of tilting your camera so you can set the horizon at 1/3rd of the frame(if you want to go by the rule of thirds).  Composition is important, as you are thinking about the placement of your subject in the frame, you shouldn’t forget about the background.

Think about the focal point, this one is a composition matter as well.  Look around and try to find where the viewer’s eye will go.  Most of the time we are shooting action and it is clear that you want all the attention to be on your athlete.  Finding competing focal points is essential to arranging great photos.

All the modern DSLR’s display plenty of information inside the viewfinder.  Besides shutter speed, aperture and iso, you can find out your exposure, battery charge, remaining shots on your memory card, etc.  The less you take your eye off the viewfinder, the less distracted you are going to be and the more things you are going to catch to make sure the shot is perfect!  All the data is there for a reason, use it!

Once you’ve gotten used to completely evaluating the shot inside the viewfinder before even taking the shot, make sure to take the camera away from your eye for a minute.  Look around you, and find another great angle where you will want to repeat all the steps above!

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Hi everyone, I am a freelance commercial photographer and specialize in actions sports/lifestyle imagery. For me it’s all about putting my vision in front of the lens to get unique photos. What makes a photo unique for me is not only the photo itself, but also the way I capture it. This kind of mentality has gotten me dangerously close to the action and into some amazing situations. I have a great passion for action sports, and photography helps me stay close to the action and involved in the industry. Photography is not only something that I do, it’s my lifestyle.


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