Hints on taking good photographs.

Taking a good picture of yor installation can be tricky. You think you've got it all sorted but when you get your camera home and check it on your PC or the images come back from the developers, your pictures look different to how you thought they had.

We've put together a few hints to help you get he best out of your images. By putting a little more thought into what your photographing you can easily produce images good enough to grace any Blu Partner brochure!

1. CAMERA. Here at CAME we use digital camera's to take all our images, it's just quicker for us to get the images on screen immediately, but the same results can be achieved with a film camera, the images will have to be scanned into the computer, unless you use a 'images on CD' service, which most developers now offer.

Taking pictures with a disposable camera isn't going to give you much chance of success; the lenses and internal mechanisms are cheap and basic, ideal for quick snaps but not great for your gates! Try to use a reasonable camera and you'll get better results more of the time.

When using a viewfinder on a standard camera, what you see isn't always what the camera lens will see. Often viewfinders are offset from the lens and this explains why peoples heads are sometimes chopped off! SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera's do however show you accurately the view your taking and many of todays modern digital and film SLR's have fully automatic options which should give you good results without being overly complicated.

Using a Tripod if you have one available is also a good idea, this will help keep the camera steady as often even the smallest movement can blur your image, particularly when no flash is being used.

2. COMPOSITION. Getting the right composition of your installation depends heavily on the situation; some general rules can be followed to help you achieve the best picture possible.

Inside looking out or outside looking in? Should you take a photo from the outside of the property or the inside? Have a look at both, whats behind the gates? Taking a photo of a busy road behind your newly installed gate might not show it off all that well and equally a building site behind the gates won't look great! Try to have a clear driveway behind railed gateways, cars often make a great photo look mediocre, remember your customer is looking at a gateway not a car park.

Try not to take photos from a 90 angle to the gate; this'll make the gate look very flat. Stand slightly to one side to take your images and be sure to get any decorative gateposts in the picture. Consider taking a few photo's with the gate partially open, this is what the gates do, why not show it off!

Get as much of the gate in as possible, don't stand too far back and don't be shy take a few photo's, use different angles and distances, with a digital camera your only limited by the size of your memory card, and when you get back to the computer you'll be able to see which pictures worked best.

3. LIGHT. The best pictures are often produced when the sun is shining; your camera has to do less so the results are often better. Try to get the sun behind you rather than shining in to the camera's lens, this way you'll avoid any unwanted reflection.

Obviously in the UK we can't ensure bright sunshine that often, but your pictures can still come out well, we are able to brighten things up in 'post production' on our computers and make the photo's look even better.

Stand still and hold the camera steady, if it's overcast most modern cameras will take into account the amount of light coming through the lens and they hold the shutter open for longer to expose the image more and create a richer, brighter photo.

You want to take the photo's is daylight, if it's starting to get dark your already losing the battle! Avoid using the flash, you'll artificially highlight the gate and the image will look unbalanced, if you've a snazzy camera with a big flash then you probably don't need these hints but you can create a better 'filled' effect that brightens the whole picture. With a standard in built flash it's best to come back tomorrow when the light is better than to struggle in the dark with a flash.

4. LOOK AT SOME EXAMPLES. Look at the images in the complimentary section to see some examples of good and some of not so good pictures. You'll be able to judge for yourselves which you like and which arent so successful as pictures, take note and try some things out!


An SLR Camera viewfinder uses a prism to reflect the lens image to the viewfinder
A standard camera's viewfinder (1) is offset from the lens (2) explaining why sometimes heads go missing!
A straight on shots like this often offen give a very flat image.
Even a small angle gives the gateway more depth.
Photo's with the gate opening show just a customer a gate in action!