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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

10 Tips for Taking Better Pictures

Author: Ryan Dube

Many people think they have to have an expensive, top of the line digital camera to take great photographs, but the secret to a great picture is not the camera, it is the photographer. If you try these simple tips when using your digital camera you will reap the rewards of better photographs no matter what your subject matter is.

1. Position your subject

Use the Rule of Thirds to make your photographs more interesting. Imagine the scene divided into three sections, like tic- tac- toe, horizontally and vertically. Positioning your subject at the intersection of those lines will break up symmetry and result in a compelling photo. If you don’t get the perfect shot, you can crop it with Photoshop. You should be able to get a free download for Photoshop at the Adobe website.

2. Choose the Right Backgrounds for your Subject

Simple backgrounds are best for subjects with busy patterns. You can also adjust the depth of field to focus on objects closer to you while blurring objects far away. Simple subjects look best against a more detailed background. Be sure the background doesn’t interfere and take attention away from your subject.

3. Create Distance and Dimension

A photo of a distant subject can seem static and one-dimensional. Including subjects nearer to you in your photos gives a sense of distance. Blurring the background focuses attention on your subject.

4. Choose an Orientation that Suits your Subject

Your camera produces a rectangular image which gives you two orientations to work with-vertical or horizontal. Your subject will lend itself to one or the other. One sure way to find out is simply to take your photo both ways and decide which is best.

5. Use a Unique Point of View/ Get in Close to your Subject

Break the habit of shooting everything from eye level. Experiment with kneeling down to capture subjects from near the ground, or photographing subjects above you. Get in close to your subject -- close-up photography adds intimacy to your photos and helps capture all the hidden details and moments you might not ever see. Learn Photoshop so you can edit, crop and enhance your digital photos.

6. Use your surroundings to Frame Your Subject

Position your subject in front of an interesting doorway, window, scene, etc. to frame your subjects, keeping the Rule of Thirds in mind.

7. Avoid Underexposed Pictures

Indoors - move near a window or bring a lamp into the room. Move closer to your subject. Manually adjust the shutter speed on your camera. Change exposure settings. For lighter photos, adjust exposure up; for darker photos, adjust down. You are able to see what your image will look like as you adjust this setting

8. Avoid Overexposed pictures

On sunny days, find a shady spot to photograph your subjects and use the flash which will cast an even light over your subject. Take advantage of overcast days to avoid shadows. When indoors, provide as much natural light as possible to avoid using the flash which may wash out colors and cast harsh shadows. Avoid the midday sun, early morning and late evenings are better times for photography.

9. Avoid Red Eye

Turn off your camera's flash or if it's too dark to go without a flash, ask your subject to look toward the camera, but not directly at the lens. By taking daytime photos, you may eliminate the need for a flash. Bring in additional light sources if needed. Try stand further away from your subject. If you try all this and still have red eye, try using Photoshop to edit your photograph.

10. Avoid Blurry Photos

Avoid shutter lag by pressing the button halfway down before you shoot your photo. When you are ready to take the shot, press all the way down to instantly capture the desired photograph. Use a tripod or brace yourself against a stationary object to hold the camera still. If your subject is moving, use the Action mode on your camera. The Action setting automatically optimizes the shutter speed to capture the action.

The best way to learn to take good digital photos is to takes lots and lots of pictures. You can just delete those you don’t want. Learn Photoshop so you can to make corrections, enhance your pictures, and use special effects to make your digital photographs look like a pro’s.

For more Photoshop Tips and Tricks, visit:

About the Author:

Ryan Dube has worked in the IT industry for over 12 years and is an Electrical Engineer by training. Ryan is a freelance journalist and author and has been published in several publications both online and offline over the past five years. View his writer's site at

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