Figure 5-3.Using a foot strap to make a tripod more rigid.
A monopod is a single pole on which a camera is
mounted. Monopods are useful for keeping the camera
steady for location work when a tripod is too bulky or
difficult to use; however, the use of a monopod is not
advisable when using large, heavy cameras or when
shutter speeds below about 1/15 second are used.
Standing or kneeling with a monopod braced against
your body or leg provides a camera the extra support and
steadiness required for it to be an effective tool (fig. 5-4).
Another practical way to support your camera is to
use one of the many clamps available for this purpose.
A camera clamp has a mount that screws into the tripod
hole or socket on the camera and has jaws that can be
clamped to a convenient object. Camera support clamps
can be attached to furniture, doors, posts, fences, and
other firm anchor points. There are even clamps with
suction cups for mounting cameras on smooth, flat
surfaces, such as a window.
Photographic composition is the pleasing
arrangement of subject matter elements within the
Figure 5-4.Using a monopod.
picture area. Creative photography depends foremost
on the photographer's ability to see as the camera sees
because a photograph does not reproduce a scene quite
the way we see it. The camera sees and records only a
small isolated part of the larger scene, reduces it to only
two dimensions, frames it, and freezes it. It does not
discriminate as we do. When we look at a scene we
selectively see only the important elements and more or
less ignore the rest. A camera, on the other hand, sees all
the details within the field of view. This is the reason
some of our pictures are often disappointing.
Backgrounds may be cluttered with objects we do not
remember, our subjects are smaller in the frame or less
striking than we recall, or the entire scene may lack
significance and life.
Good pictures are seldom created by chance. To
make the most of any subject, you must understand the
basic principles of composition. The way you arrange
the elements of a scene within a picture, catch the
viewers attention, please the eye, or make a clear
statement are all qualities of good composition. By
developing photographic composition skills, you can
produce photographs that suggest movement, life,
depth, shape, and form, recreating the impact of the
How are photographic composition skills
developed? You look, you study, you practice. Every
time you take a picture, look all around within the
viewfinder. Consider the way each element will be
recorded and how it relates to the overall composition.