Photo Tips


Top Ten Photo Tips:

1. Use the sun to your advantage. Put the sun behind you when you can. When photographing people outdoors, watch your subjects. People will squint in bright sunlight, baseball caps or hats will cause harsh shadows, and when the sun is high, eye sockets will be shadowed and look deep. Use your fill flash outdoors to fill in shadows. When possible, have people stand in shaded areas to relax faces, and use your flash to even out the exposure.

Think horizontal or vertical. Remember to turn your camera when shooting tall objects. This allows you to fill the frame more with the subject and eliminate unwanted background clutter.

Keep the background simple. When photographing people, look at the background and foreground for things that will clutter the photo. Watch for plants or other objects that look as if they are growing out of your subject’s heads. When using a flash indoors, watch for things that will cause shadows. A chandelier hanging low will cause shadows on the subject or the background. Glare can be avoided by shooting glass-covered pictures at an angle. Watch for glass doors or windows that are in a straight path to the flash—these will cause glare.

Fill the frame with the subject. When photographing people, get close, fill the frame, and use your flash outdoors to fill in shadows. When photographing objects, fill the frame as much as possible to eliminate background. More detail can be achieved when this technique is used.

Hold the camera steady. Any movement while taking a photo will cause a picture to be blurry. Deliberately hold the camera still during the picture taking process. It is best to relax and hold the camera in a natural way. Be careful not to cover the flash with your finger while firing the shutter. Be aware that the camera strap may be hanging in front of the lens or flash.

6. Understand the limitations of your equipment. Most point-and-shoot cameras are unable to focus closer than three to four feet. Getting closer than the focus limitation of the camera will produce blurry, unacceptable pictures. Most flash units on point-and-shoot cameras are limited to about eight to twelve feet when using 400 ISO film. Using a flash at a sporting event will not produce the results you want. Instead, use 800 ISO film, turn off your flash and hope for the best.

Keep your eye on the horizon and other lines of reference. When looking through your viewfinder, keep all visual lines straight. If the horizon in your picture is out of balance, your subjects will look like they are leaning to one side. This makes it more difficult to enlarge photos, because, in order to straighten the photo, a portion of it will need to be cropped to correct for crooked lines. With vertical pictures, watch for vertical lines that correspond with the subject. Keep lines parallel with the edge of the frame.

The rule of thirds. This is a popular rule that photographers and artists use to strategically place points of interest. Divide your viewfinder into thirds horizontally and vertically. This creates a grid of nine boxes. Try placing important elements of your photo where these lines intersect. Please remember that while this is a rule that can and should be broken, using this rule will help you become more creative with your photography and improve your composition.

Try new angles with the same subject. When photographing a subject, walk around, shoot different angles, change your lighting, turn your flash on, etc. By moving around and firing off several shots, you will be amazed how your pictures will improve.

Show off your best pictures. When sharing pictures with friends and family, eliminate photos that don’t show your best work.

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