Whether you are an amateur photographer, or if you simply want to create better family photos, there are many things you can do. Here are eight easy tips to use next time you get out your digital camera.
#1. Be Prepared
Keep all of your photography equipment ready to go; a roomy camera bag is ideal, it will keep all your equipment together, and it’s easy to carry with you. A good camera bag will let you organize extra batteries, memory cards, a miniature tripod, even a waterproof housing to protect your camera in wet weather.
Hold your Camera Steady
Out of focus, blurry photos are nearly always the result of camera movement. Steady yourself and your camera before you take the shot, by planting your feet firmly, tuck your elbows in close, and hold your breath. You can also steady your body by leaning against a tree, rock or wall, or better yet, use a tripod. Instead of using the LCD viewer, frame the shot using your camera’s viewfinder for better focusing. Once you’ve framed the shot, press the shutter release gently in one quick motion. Pressing the shutter release too hard could jerk the camera.
One difference between really great photos and “snapshots” is the photo’s color and composition. Unless you’re shooting a landscape, you can improve most photos by getting closer to your subject. You can use the zoom, or physically move closer to your subject. Get within a few feet of your subject, to eliminate most of the background.
Take more Pictures
Professionals take many, many of shots of the same subject, just to get just a few that are exceptional. With a digital camera, you can simply delete the images you don’t like, and only print the best, so do not hesitate to take more than a few shots of the same subject. Change the angle, get closer, adjust the lighting.
Vary the Lighting
Natural light will yield more attractive skin tones when photographing people, so avoid using the flash if you don’t absolutely have to. Outdoor daylight shots are easy, but you’ll have to be a little more creative with your lighting when shooting indoors. Try using the sunlight light from a window for warmer tones than you would get from a flash. Experiment with natural lighting, try getting stronger shadows, by moving your subject closer to a window, and creating more dramatic shadows.
Red eye is caused by light passing through your subject’s eye, and reflecting off the back. This will happen more often when using a flash, because the light from a flash is not as diffused as natural light. The first tip to eliminate red eye is simply avoiding your flash when you don’t absolutely need to. Another way to reduce red eye is have your subject look away from the camera. Some digital cameras have a built in feature to automatically remove red eye. Use it.
Go for Candid
Rather than posing people with everyone looking directly at the camera, pose your shot of the group interacting with one another. Even two people having a conversation will be more interesting than two people standing next to each other, staring at the camera. Often professional portraits pose the subject as if in deep in thought, with their attention focused inward, rather than focusing on the camera.
Create a Scene
Placing your subject in the center of a photo is boring; try placing your subject off center, when framing the shot. Placing your subject so that they occupy 1/3 to 1/2 of the total composition, but NOT in the center of the frame is a professional technique. Have an interesting background in the rest of the frame.
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