Taking better photos

Posted on by Wess Foreman

With Thanksgiving in a couple of days, and the Christmas season hot on it's tail, I thought I'd throw up a
quick post on taking better photos - just general tips. Hope they are helpful. Here we go:


Week 7/52: A cup of tea


1. Fill the frame - too many great smiles disappear when they are a mere fraction of an inch in the photo. Get up close and use your zoom lens if your camera has one - fill the viewing area with that great smile.


2. Be aware of everything in the frame - sometimes a good photo is ruined by distractions in the background. Make sure to check everything in the viewing area before taking the picture. Is there anything distracting behind your subject? Is there a better angle that would make a better photo? For instance, in the photo of the teacup to the right, the dark shirt of the person in the background provides a perfect foil for the light cup and saucer in the foreground - had the angle been lower, the photo might have been ruined with too much white in the background

3. Think about your shooting angle - This especially comes up with shooting pets or kids (with cameras). When taking photos of kids or pets, get down on their level - this can be inconvenient sometimes, but trust me, it makes a big difference in your photography.

4. Camera orientation - Most photos are probably taken with the camera held horizontally, but don't forget you can also take vertical photos. Be willing to change the camera's orientation depending on the subject matter - if the subject matter is mostly vertical, like an individual or, I don't know, a candle, it would be harder to fill the frame with a horizontal shot . . .

5. Use a flash indoors and out - Your camera's flash is good for low-light, indoor shots, but also good in bright afternoon sunshine. When the sun is high in the sky, facial features lose all nuiance - dark shadows fill the eye sockets and beneath the chin, not to mention underneath hats. To make a better portrait, try facing your subject(s) away from the sun (to reduce squinting in your subjects) and shooting with the flash engaged (to brighten up the face).

6. Take lots of photos - snap away. The more photos you take, the better your chance of getting a great one. That said, don't take the same photo more than twice (and only twice if you think someone was blinking in the first photo) - move around, get different angles and compositions. Here's one way: start with a broad establishing shot, then move in closer and closer to your subject, then move around the subject for different perspectives. Just a thought.

Well, that will get you started. For further reading, here's a link to Kodak's: Top 10 Tips for Great Pictures

In another post, I'll describe my post-processing secret-sauce that'll give your pics some professional polish. Happy Turkey Day!

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