Ten top tips for taking photographs

So you’ve been bought a digital camera for Christmas – now what? Mark Drinkwater shares his tips for making the most of your photographs:

Try to place people in context. This documentary style image I shot was then used as part of the campaign to stop the closure of the Maudsley hospital’s emergency psychiatric unit.

         ·  When photographing people take a number of shots in case they blink or grimace.

         ·  Some occasions are easier to photograph than others. Choose photogenic events like carnivals and fairs.

         ·  At events try to shoot a photo-story to capture the spirit of the day. 

         ·  Vary your photos as much as possible by shooting from low viewpoints or unusual angles.

         ·  If possible, choose a sunny day as pictures tend to look better in sunshine, so check the weather forecast before setting out.

         ·  Be bold and get in close to your subjects to capture details and expressions.

         ·  Always ask permission from your subject, and if it’s for publication ask for permission to publish it.

         ·  If publishing pictures of children, consider using photos of them having their faces painted as these are more anonymous and also make more interesting images.

         ·  Photographs don’t have to feature people to tell a story – they could be more abstract like this image I took for a suicide awareness project with the Institute of Psychiatry last year.

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Photography and mental health: a relationship kick-started by Hugh Welch Diamond

Mark Drinkwater is a community worker and occasional freelance photographer in Southwark, south London

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