Friday, January 23, 2009

10 Tips to Taking Better Digital Pictures TODAY!

It doesn’t matter if you’re using a compact digital camera, a Canon S5IS, or a digital SLR, the application of these simple guidelines will greatly improve your photos.

1. Shoot early or late. The best times to shoot are early morning before sunrise and late in the afternoon around sunset. Shooting at these optimal times will give your pictures warm and gold tones. Unless you’re shooting macro shots, the midday light is too bright and creates harsh shadows. Actually, an overcast sky could be your best friend because it acts like a soft box, which creates beautiful pictures.

2. Use the Rule of 1/3s. This is an incredibly powerful compositional rule in visual arts such as photography, painting and design. The theory states that you divide your frame into nine equal parts by two-equally spaced horizontal lines and two-equally spaced vertical lines, (the same as drawing a framed tic-tac toe). Then you place your subject off-center and into one of four intersections (as indicated in red). Tip: if your subject is looking into the scene from the left, it's best to place it either in the upper left intersection or the bottom left. Look through your camera’s manual. You may be able to set-up the gridlines for your viewfinder.

3. Get closer. This is the easiest and most effective way to improve the look of your photos. Either physically move-in closer to the subject or zoom in.

4. Change Your Point of View. This is another quick and easy way to make your photos look interesting and professional. Instead of taking a photo at your eye level, squat down low and include foreground elements that lead up to your subject. If you can, include a little splash of color in the foreground.

5. Include Reflections. If you are shooting reflections, make sure you include the entire image of your subject in the reflection. Disregard the Rule of 1/3s with reflections and place the dividing line in the middle of the frame.

6. Look for Interesting Structural or Graphic Elements. When you’re composing a photo and there’s a meandering path, include it in the frame.

7. Odd Numbers -The human eye for some reason loves odd numbers. When composing a photo, either shoot a single subject, a group of three or 5 things. Avoid even numbers. This rule is a general guideline in all design elements.

8. Use a tripod. This will eliminate a blurry photo especially when you’re working with slower shutter speeds. Also, try using the camera’s remote for with the tripod because the camera will still vibrate after you shoot the picture.

9. Pay attention to your background. It doesn’t matter what type of subject you’re shooting (person, place or thing), make sure your background isn’t too busy and doesn’t have any distractions such as rickety fence, a person’s cut-off head, a pile of dirty clothes, heavy traffic, power poles, etc.

10. Look through your viewfinder. Look through your viewfinder instead of the digital camera's LCD screen. Using the camera’s LCD screen won’t give you a great shot because there’s a slight time delay, and it also eats up your battery power.

Whether you’re documenting your life or using photography as your creative expression, I promise these 10 tips will help you take better digital photos today!

"Art is not what you see, but what you make others see." - Edgar Degas