Quick Photography Tip
A few seconds spent on composition can transform a dull picture into something magical
How many times have you seen someone else's pictures and wondered why they are so much better than yours are, despite having the same or even better camera The truth is that most of the time it's not the camera, but how it's used that makes a great picture. If you take the time to learn how your camera works to to practice basic photography techniques, you can dramatically improve your digital photography surprisingly quickly. The following pointers will help you see noticeable improvement in your photos.
Learn how your camera works.
Although almost all cameras are equipped with a "Point and Shoot" or "Auto" setting, by relying on this for all of your shots, you are badly limiting your ability to take excellent pictures. Its typical that cameras have many modes, and by taking a moment to evaluate the conditions of the shot and selecting the proper mode, youll find your photographs will be much improved. Some common modes are: "Portrait" use this when taking people shots if you would like to have the subject in focus and the background (if it's distant) slightly indistinct; "Action" for quickly moving subjects, or in dim conditions and prefer not to use the flash, choose this setting to have the camera pick a fast shutter speed, which will stop the motion; "Scenery" ideal for panorama or far-off subjects; "Nighttime" choose this for low-light situations if you have a tripod, as the shutter speed will be slow and motion will be blurred; "Macro" excellent for extreme close-ups, great for flowers, bugs and such. By using the right mode, the camera can work with you to capture your subject in the best possible way. You may also have manual settings on your camera, but these are for advanced photographers, and beyond the scope of this article.
Take care in how you set up your picture.
By and large, when shooting a picture, people look only at the subject in the middle and then are surprised when they look at the picture and see a street sign emerging from their friends head! You can dramatically increase the quality of your photos simply by taking a moment to look at what the camera sees - the entire picture. Notice some unsightly wires across the top, any annoying objects in the background, and if so, try to change the picture to get rid of these problem areas. When taking pictures of people, try to have them fill most of the frame. Faces make appealing photos, much more so than whole bodies, generally speaking. Get a fix on what the point of the picture is, and then take the shot with that as your goal. A little care in the setting up phase will be well rewarded.
Carefully choose your camera angle.
In horror films, youll often find that when an evil character is filmed, it is often from a lower angle looking up, which alters the subject and makes him look ominous. In still photography, it is also true that an angled camera will produce a distortion, possibly giving your photo a point of view, often unintentionally. Take care that you are even with your subject unless you desire to fashion a precise effect. Adjusting your camera angle can have a dramatic improvement on photos of children and animals. By getting down to their level, you correct the unintentional distortion that occurs when taking the shot from above. For pets and babies, lying on the floor often helps to take better photos.
Try to draw on natural lighting whenever you possibly can.
Use of flash, in particular the standard camera-mounted flash, lends itself to issues for your photos, such as harsh shadows, color washout, red-eye, and over- and under-exposure. There are times when it is essential to use a flash, like at an indoor gathering where everyone is moving about, but overall you will get a better results by using natural light, including indoor lighting. You can take stunning indoor portraits by surrounding your subject with lamps, with one side of the subject more brightly lit than the other, creating soft, interesting shadows. Try different lighting - you'll be amazed at the interesting quality of pictures taken like this.
Keep the camera steady.
Even though this point is fairly obvious, it is good to be reminded of it. When the camera moves around while shooting, the resulting photo will be blurry. Don't push the shutter button - squeeze it gently. When taking shots in low light, use a tripod or some other form of support.
Shoot tons of pictures.
Now that we have the digital camera, there is no longer any reason to be stingy about shooting pictures. There's no film, no processing, and you only print what you like, so go to town and take lots of tries. Professionals always take tons of pictures, aware that each one is at least a tiny bit different, and the more you take the better chance of an excellent shot. Experiment with lighting, angles and composition. When taking pictures of subjects in motion, you should use the "Burst" setting if your camera has one, to take many pictures in quick succession. When the session is over, you'll find you have many more "keepers".
Take batteries and an extra memory card with you.
There's nothing worse than getting ready to take the critical shot of the day, and finding that your battery has just died. Act like the pros and be prepared. Have an extra charged battery, or a new pack if your camera uses alkaline batteries, and take a spare unused memory card. Someday you'll be thankful you did.
The distinction between a snapshot taker and a photographer lies not so much in the camera, but in how the camera is used. Follow the points described here, and you will be using the techniques of professional photographers - knowing how your camera works and choosing settings for the appropriate situations, carefully composing the shot, taking notice of your camera angle, using flash sparingly and with care, correctly supporting the camera, taking many pictures, and being prepared.
Take the time to get to know your camera, and go out and practice. In a short time you will be shooting photographs that you can proudly keep for a lifetime.