How To Take The Perfect Picture

Updated: Dec 5, 2019


By Georgelina Guzman—

On Tuesday October 29, 2019 Mark Hillringhouse shared his knowledge and love for photography. Students at Passaic County Community College gathered in the Hamilton Club for a photography seminar.

The event was funded by a grant that helps students learn about their Paterson history. The event was organized by Professor Alexandra Della Fera and Dr. Martha Brozyna.

The event had a small table filled with cookies, brownies, and water. Students rushed for these snacks.

Prof. Hillringhouse is a professional photographer who loves to capture the beauty of Paterson, New Jersey. He is also a professor at Passaic County Community College in the English Department.

Prof. Hillringhouse wore a brown shirt with black pants and brown shoes matching his serious yet wonderful personality.

Prof. Hillringhouse demonstrated many photography skills and showcased his best photos. He also gave a background of his past. Hillring said, “I used to cut class to go to the movies with the ladies”—demonstrating his humorous side.

Prof. Hillringhouse showed the best ways to take photos. He stated, “It is not about the camera, it is about the photograph.” The best photo is taken horizontally.

Prof. Hillringhouse also handed out guides to students. The handout was on the following topics; Leading lines, positive of the negative, understanding tone contrast, fill the frame for impact, the secret of patterns.

Leading lines are typically an easy scene to spot. Photographers usually take this shot on the first try. The leading lines are horizon line, diagonal lines, dynamic angle, S and Z curves.

Negative spaces are empty space surrounding the main item or person in the photo. Isolating the positive aspects of the picture gives “breathing room.”These pictures usually have shadows.

The shadows create a unique effect to the photo. Without the shadows people see the photo as flat. A silhouette is similar to a shadow, or outline that is visible against a light background. It is made to see the shape of the object.

Understanding the tone of the picture is also very important. The tone is the color of the picture. It is either light or dark. It may be a colored picture or black and white.

The article states, “Tone contrast can be used to set the mood.” The mood you want to present should have the appropriate tone. Layering can also be used for tone.

Layering adds depth to a photo. It is used with big photos. It consists of three layers to add a photo that does not have much going on. It has a foreground layer, mid-ground layer, and a background layer. It only works when the three layers are presented.

Filling the frame is another term for getting close. Photographers believe they need to be far when they do not. A closer view gives viewers a sense of feeling.

Patterns are similar objects combined in a regular arrangement. The use of items are not the same they are similar.

These handouts had students learn the best way to take a photo. It also taught the different kind of photos. Prof. Hillringhouse advised that unformattable positions make the best photos. He explained, “It makes a better image.” Prof. Hillringhouse often finds himself on his side or back to get a shot.

Prof. Hillringhouse also talked about how technology has improved photos. He said, “My favorite app is light tracks, it says where the sun will be rising or going down and the exact time.” This helps Prof. Hillringhouse plan out his sessions.

Prof. Hillringhouse said, “I have got on many roofs for my shots.” Prof. Hillringhouse usually bribes maintenance to get on roofs or if it is unlocked he will walk right up.

His sessions are usually unplanned. Although, his unplanned sessions are usually his best. He said, “When fog is that beautiful, I have to call in sick.” He finds beauty in nature.

Prof. Hillringhouse also admitted to using photoshop. He stated, “Oh, I love it. If I do not like a sky I will replace it.”

Prof. Hillringhouse is very passionate about his work and it was shown. He talked with a smile the entire presentation.

According to Angle Camacho, English Major “the event was great, I learned how to take the perfect picture. I did want to take home a picture though.”

At the end of the event, Prof. Hillringhouse had dozens of his pictures in frames for students and staff to take home.

Within five minutes they were no more pictures left. Some students left with two pictures. The students were very excited for their new pictures in frames.

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