take better pictures

People have been saying more and more how much they like my pictures. Often, their first question is what kind of camera I have. I could prove the camera is of little importance by showing you some of the pictures that have come out after I hand my camera over to a friend for a while. Fact is, with a little effort most people could be taking radically better pictures with their current point-and-shoot camera. Here are just a few hints that will see you taking much better pictures.

  1. The Rule-of-Thirds

    This is a simple compositional rule that is very well known among photographers. We don’t know all the “science” behind it, but for some reason pictures are a lot more interesting to human viewers when the focal point or subject is at the intersection of thirds of the picture. Many cameras allow you to turn on a “grid” so you can visualize this while you shoot. Stop centering all those images. Granted this rule can and must be broken at times, but in general this will show a huge improvement in your photography.

  2. Less Flash

    The cheap flashes on most cameras cause all sorts of problems. Red-eyes, shiny highlights on glasses or oily skin, strange shadows around the edges of your subjects, etc. Try to avoid using your cameras flash when you can. If it’s just plain too dark, there isn’t much you can do to avoid it. But go out of your way to take pictures when and where there is plenty of light available. Your pictures will look more natural, and that’s good.

  3. Hold Steady

    The camera needs to allow light to enter the lens and “expose” the picture. Since there is usually not an infinite amount of light available this exposure takes time. If your camera or your subjects are moving during this time the picture will be blurry from the motion. Be sure to hold your camera steady when shooting. If at all possible set your camera down on a table, or brace it against a hand rail or a wall. If that isn’t possible just hold still, and try to take the picture on an exhale.

  4. Think Background

    Your subject is what’s important, but if your background is full of stuff it will distract people from looking at what you really want them to be focused on. The more simple the background the better. For instance if you are taking a picture of your friend downtown make sure there isn’t a telephone pole sticking out of his head.

These are really just a few tips, but I can honestly say they have improved my photography a lot. I still have problems following my own advice with some of these
occasionally, but getting these things into your head while taking pictures will make your photography better fast.

September 16, 2008 at 4:17 pm

@skoda on App.net @technochocolate on App.net