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Take Better Pictures

You’ve wanted to snap better pictures for a long time. Now you can.

When it comes to taking pictures, there are many perspectives. Some people leave it to the professionals, others are content with having mediocre shots half covered with fingers, and still others want to be able to take great pictures with little effort. If you find yourself in the last group, read on to find out a few small tips that will make a big difference in your photography skills.

Tip 1: Know Your Camera

Nothing makes for a bad picture like an unknowledgeable photographer. Thankfully, knowing your camera doesn’t require you to be a pro at using the manual focus to zoom in and out and focus on your subject. What it does require is for you to push all the buttons, read the manual, and try different settings in different situations to figure out how to get the best picture, whether you’re inside a gymnasium, outside during a storm, or sitting by the campfire at night.

Tip 2: Get Close

Unless you’re taking a group shot of 50 people, there is no reason to stand more than a couple of feet away from your subject when taking a picture. By standing close, you don’t have to zoom as much, which is more important than you may think. With a digital camera, zooming in lowers the quality of your image, resulting in an image more likely to be pixilated. Getting close also helps capture more details that you can’t capture from a long distance.

“There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs. “- Ansel Adams

Tip 3: Lower Your Perspective

Taking a shot of kids or the family pet? Get on their level. Doing this gives you a straight shot at your subject’s eyes and puts the photo in the subject’s perspective. Holding the camera near the ground when shooting an adult also offers an intriguing, elongated perspective.

Tip 4: Forget the Center

For many photographers, a good photo is a well-centered photo, with the subject right in the middle and everything else on the edges. For a more visually stimulating photo, put your subject anywhere but the center. From the bottom right corner to the top left corner, placing your subject in an interesting position makes for an interesting photo.

Tip 5: Use Your Surroundings

In order to create a masterpiece on film, it is helpful to have a great background or foreground in addition to an excellent subject. When taking your photo, look for unique ways to use your surroundings to your benefit. Instead of seeing your surroundings as backdrops, consider them elements of your photo and make them do some work in your pictures. Lines – whether made from a straight tree trunk or a curved railroad track – are present in most any surrounding and go a long way toward creating more intriguing images. Just be careful not to clutter your photo with distracting backgrounds that subtract instead of add to the image.

Tip 6: Turn off the Flash

It’s a little bit scary for novice photographers to kill the flash. After all, the flash is often seen as a guarantee of a good photo. But it can also destroy any hope you have of capturing a great moment as it is. To capture a fireside moment or a downtown night scene, turn off the flash and hold your camera as steady as possible when shooting. If you have shaky hands, you may want to use a tripod. If you have shaky hands and a shaky tripod, set your camera’s timer and don’t touch the camera or tripod after the timer begins the countdown to photographic perfection.

Tip 7: Look at Photography

In order to figure out how you want your pictures to look, it’s a good idea to look at other people’s photography. Become a student of photography and figure out what you like about certain images and don’t like about others. Then use this knowledge to frame an award-winning shot of your own.

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