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Research Guides@Tufts

Photography Kit

Making images


1. Point lens at subject and adjust your framing.  Looking through the viewfinder activates an internal level for checking your camera isn't on an angle. Otherwise use the adjustable LCD screen.

2. Focus on your subject.  Touch your subject on the display to set your focus and then depress the shutter button slightly. In auto focus mode, the camera will beep when the subject is in focus.

3. To switch from auto focus to manual focus, depress the button near AF/MF and adjust the focus ring on the lens.

4. Adjust settings (ie. Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO and White Balanced) to get desired exposure or use auto.  If possible, set custom white balance using white cards provided.  To adjust flash settings in TTL mode press the SET button and use the arrow buttons to increase or reduce the light.

5. Depress the shutter button completely to take a photograph.  

6. Press the play button and use the scroll wheel to select and view your images.

Compositional Strategies

There are a lot of things to consider when taking a photograph including (a)symmetry, perspective, lens choice, focus, proximity and much more.  Below we’ve pulled a few examples of things to consider from Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb’s book titled “on Street Photography and the Poetic Image.”  This book is available to the Tufts community to read in full by visiting the link to the book in our catalog below.

Excerpts from Alex Webb and Rebecca Norris Webb’s book titled “on Street Photography and the Poetic Image.”

Color is Emotion

Three black figures are standing behind one another with bright green and yellow windows in the foreground.  The figures are dimly lit by a reflective red light coming from the right side of the image.  The person in the foreground is smoking a cigarette looking directly into the camera, the person behind them is leaning on a table and the person behind them is sitting at a table looking away from the camera.

Gouyave, Grenada, 1979 - Alex Webb

“I began to realize that color isn’t just about color.  Color is emotion.” -AW

“Sometimes a red is a soothing red, sometimes it’s a threatening red, depending on the sensibility, personal history and cultural background of the viewer.” -AW

Color is a powerful way to convey emotions that can draw the viewer in and help move the eye around the frame.  When taking a photo consider what color's are in the frame and how they are working together or against each other to tell a story about your subject.

Crowded Frames

There are three main subjects in this picture.  On the left is a person covering their face with a magazine, in the middle is a shadow of a person carrying a young child and on the right is a couple smiling, one person with their back to the camera.  The figures on the right and left pop out of the image dramatically since they are lit but the background is all shadow excluding the light in the center that forms an arch with the shadowy figures in the center.

Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, 1996 - Alex Webb
“I’m drawn to photographs that don’t simply show the existence of one thing, but the simultaneous existence of many things, sometimes in ways that may seem contradictory.” - AW

Having multiple subjects or points of focus in your image can help keep you explore diverse themes simultaneously.  Try taking a photo that has more than one central subject in the frame.  Be patient!

On Creative Tension

A yellow, organic shape resembling a leaf occupies most of the frame.  It is so close to the lens that it is out of focus.  In the center there is a gap and we can see into the distance trees and clouds with green/yellow leaves that are in focus.

Hot Springs, 2005-11 - Rebecca Norris Webb
“Many of the My Dakota images convey this tension - between the foreground and background, the near and the far, the ground beneath and the distant horizon, all of which suggests the gulf between the living and the dead.” - RNW

Creating tension in an image by playing with having multiple subjects with different relationships to the camera can help to create visual interest and complexity as the viewer works to decode the image.  Try taking a picture where there is something very close to the lens and something very far away.  What is the relationship these two subjects have to each other?  How are they in dialog with each other or creating tension?