Even a beginner can take professional-looking photos – suitable for framing.
It doesn’t matter if you consider yourself an amateur photographer, or you just want to create better family photos, there are loads of things that you can do to create better photos. Here are some easy tips to use the next time you head out with your digital camera…..
Keep all of your photography kit together and ready for use. A good, weatherproof camera bag is ideal, because it will keep all your stuff accessible and safe, and lets you carry it all with you. Everything in its place. A good camera bag will enable you to bring a miniature tripod, extra memory cards, batteries and filters etc. – even a plastic bag or waterproof housing to protect your camera in wet weather.
Hold your Camera Steady
Blurry photos are almost always the result of camera movement. Even your own unsteadiness can causes your camera to shake enough to blur your images. So steady yourself and your camera before you take the shot.
It will help if you plant your feet firmly on the ground and tuck your elbows closely into your sides. Instead of using the LCD viewer, steady your camera against your forehead and frame the shot using your camera’s viewfinder. You can also steady your upper body by leaning against a wall or a tree. Or totally eliminate any camera movement by using a tripod.
Ready to take that shot? Good stuff! Once you’re all set, gently press the shutter release in one motion, holding at the halfway point to focus if necessary. Pressing the shutter release too hard will give you some camera shake.
One of the main differences between snapshots and really great photos is the composition of the shot. Unless you’re shooting an outdoor landscape, you can improve most of your images simply by getting closer to your subject.
Depending on the situation, you can physically move closer to your subject, or use the zoom feature on your camera for the same effect. Try to get within a few feet of your subject if you can so that you eliminate most of the background. You’ll prefer the results.
Take more Pictures
Even professionals take many shots of the same subject to get just a few (or one!) that they will use. One of the advantages of digital cameras is that you can delete the images you don’t like, and only print the winners – so don’t hesitate to take several shots of the same subject. Remember to change the angle of the shots. Move in a little. Experiment with exposure.
Vary the Lighting
Using natural light will give better skin tones when photographing people, and you can always experiments if you have off camera flash to add some fill-in. Outdoor daylight shots are easy enough, but you’ll have to be a little more creative when shooting indoors without a flash. Try using the light coming in from a window for warmer tones than you would get using the flash.
Experiment with natural lighting. You can get stronger shadows by moving your subject closer to a window, and turning your subject’s head can create more dramatic shadows in the face.
The Red-eye effect is the result of light passing through your subject’s eye and reflecting back from the back of the eye. You’ll get it more often when using your flash (especially built-in flash), because the light from the flash isn’t as diffused as natural light, and is close to the lens. So, the first tip for eliminating red-eye is simply to avoid using your flash when you don’t absolutely have to. 🙂
Another very easy way to reduce red-eye is to have your subject look anywhere but at the camera. This reduces red-eye because any reflection isn’t directed back at your camera lens.
If you DO have to use the built-in flash, some digital cameras have a built-in feature to automatically remove red-eye. Use it. Or if your flash is a separate unit, you can fire it using radio trigger and get some BEAUTIFUL results.
Go for Candid
Instead of posing two (or more) people looking directly at the camera, get a shot of them interacting with one another. I love shots at this, especially when I’m shooting a wedding. Two people engrossed in a conversation is far more interesting than having them stand next to each other facing the camera. Some of the best portraits I have captured have been when my subject is deep in thought, with their attention focused inward, rather than on the camera lens. It makes a more interesting shot. Your portrait will look more natural & less posed.
Create the Scene
Putting your subject in the center of a photo isn’t going to make the most exciting image. You’ll get a much more pleasing result if you place your subject off center when you frame the shot.
This is a technique used by professionals the rule over. Place your subject so that they are placed 1/3 into the composition, but NOT at the exact center of the frame. This is called the “Rule of Thirds“. Capture an interesting background object in the rest of the frame too if you like.
Remember – anybody can practice these techniques. They’re easy and you’ll get better, more professional photos.