Skip to main content

Take Great Photos, Win Prizes!

Longtime York County, Pa., photographer Bil Bowden has learned a lot over the years, and, lucky for you, he’s willing to share his secret: The Best Rice.
  • Author:
  • Updated:




st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) }

/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
font-family:"Times New Roman";

It’s summer time, which means lots of picture perfect opportunities.

Longtime York County, Pa., photographer Bil Bowden has learned a lot over the years, and, lucky for you, he’s willing to share his secret: The Best Rice.

Bil broke down 11 steps for good composition of a photo (the first letter of each step spells The Best Rice), which is a good thing because Smart magazine is holding a summer photo contest again this year!

This year, we want to see your vacation pictures. Whether it’s a shot of you and your family hanging out at Kiwanis Lake or basking in the sun on a Caribbean Island, send it in!

Just send your pictures to Smart Editor Kara Eberle at You can also send your pics via snail mail to 1891 Loucks Road, York PA 17408. Include your name, age, address and a daytime phone number.

Your photo could appear in an upcoming issue of Smart magazine!

Scroll to Continue

Recommended for You

Here are Bil’s tricks…

T.360 Degree Rule: When looking at a possible subject of a picture, try to imagine it from every angle, walk all the way around it — 360 degrees. This can mean time, too. Imagine the subject being shot in the morning, afternoon or late at night.

h. Human Interest: The old man with plenty of character lines and a personality we can feel; the little girl cuddling her kitten. These are the pictures that “grab” us for no good reason other than emotion.

e.Expression: A graduation picture, empty of anything but solemn faces, stands little chance of being noticed. Put a grin, scream, tear or laugh on one or all those faces, and bingo, it’s a winner.

B.Balance: Generally, a face, runner, boat or anything suggesting direction should be facing into the picture.

e.Entrance and Exit: This is the “old farm road leading into the barn” picture we’ve seen in the art shops. It’s a road, river, sidewalk, step, fence or footprints that take us right into the main center of interest.

s.Simplicity: Don’t try to get everything in the picture. The simpler we keep the picture, the easier it is to view. Generally, the less in the picture, the better it is. Especially when it comes to people.

t.Thirds, Rule of: Divide a film frame into thirds both horizontally and vertically. The intersections of those lines are strong places to put the photograph’s subject.

R. Rhythm and Repetition: Utility poles, fences, people, cars or other objects lined up to give a design make interesting pictures.

i. Interest, Center of: A pretty scene can be an eye-catcher at first. But it loses appeal after the eye wanders from point to point if the photo has nothing on which to anchor itself.

c.Contrast: We’re not talking merely black and white, but also big and small, tall and short, fat and thin, dry and wet, pretty and ugly, hot and cold.

e. Eye-Level Syndrome: This is a photo fault that shows every picture at our eye level. Bend down or climb a step or two to get away from everyone’s normal point of view.

— BIL BOWDEN, Smart photographer


A Gift for Mom to Sit-a-Pon

Check out these step-by-step instruction to help you turn a daily newspaper and a tablecloth into something your mom can sit-a-pon.

The Ultimate Motivator

The arrival of a new baby is quite a motivator.

Learning to Love Technology

In my professional life, I love learning new things. I embrace new technology and the latest online initiatives. At home, I’m the complete opposite.

Time Stands in the Way

Time can be my best friend and my worst enemy. When Mara wakes me at 4:30 a.m., I’m not a big fan. When I’m rocking on the front porch on a breezy summer afternoon with Mara on my lap, I’m happy for every second.

My Daughter’s First Perfect Checkup

My usually bubbly girl stared out the window as I drove up Interstate 83. Her frown spoke volumes. I knew she didn’t want to go to the dentist. She had made that clear in the days leading up to the visit.

Sharing The Spotlight

My baby boy is due in a month. Of course, I’m worrying about the little guy’s health, labor and delivery, and how I’m going to lose my baby weight. But I also can’t stop wondering how my daughter is going to adjust to sharing the spotlight.

Cherishing the Calm Moments

Although I know I should send her back to her room, she looks so sweet with droopy eyes and disheveled hair. I can’t help but pull her into bed next to me.

Waiting For Labor

At 39 weeks pregnant, I can’t think about anything except going into labor. Is it going to happen now? How about now? Maybe now?