HOW TO: Take Better Pictures

Now that you have a new digital camera, these ideas can help you use it to take better pictures!

1. Use the flash outside
    • Even if you are outside setting your camera to the Fill Flash setting can improve your pictures.
    • If you can’t avoid the bright sunlight, flash can lighten the shadows that would normally appear around the eyes and nose of your subject.
    • If it is too cloudy outside, you can use it to highlight your subject making them stand out from the background.
2. Know the range of your flash
    • Most camera flashes have an effective range of around 10 feet. If your subject is farther away than that, the picture could turn out too dark. Check your camera documentation to find out.
3. Watch the light
    • The right light can make a huge difference in how your picture turns out.
    • If you are taking photos of people, cloudy days are the best for the soft light. Whenever possible avoid overhead lighting that casts dark shadows on your subjects face. Scenic pictures more your thing? Early morning and late in the day create interesting long shadows and provide a different color to the light.
    • Look for obstacles to the light and rearrange the shot to avoid them.
4. Get down to the right level
    • Try to hold your camera at your subject’s eye level. If you are taking a picture of your pet or your kids, get down to their level and then take the picture.  
5. Move in close
    • Create drama and impact by moving in closer and filling the photo with your subject.
    • Eliminate the background distractions and show off the details of your subject.
    • If it’s a small object, you may have to choose your camera’s macro mode for those crisp close-ups.
6. Lock the focus
    • Most cameras can lock their focus by holding down the shutter button halfway. Center the object of your picture; press the shutter button halfway to focus in on it, then holding the button reframe your picture. Once you have it where you want it, push the button all the way down.
7. Get out of the middle
    • Another trick to making a more interesting photo is to move the subject off-center. Center the camera on your subject, lock the focus, then move the subject towards one of the corners of the image.
8. Use a plain backgrounds
    • Check the area behind your subject before taking the picture. Look for things like poles or trees or anything out of the ordinary. If possible, relocate your subject against a less cluttered background. Plain backgrounds make your subject “pop” in the photo.
9. Take vertical pictures
    • Don’t be afraid to turn your camera sideways to take a vertical photo. Some subjects like trees, or statues look better framed vertically.
10. Be a director
    • Take some time and think about what you want the picture to show. Maybe rearrange the subjects, or change the orientation of the object. Try a different viewpoint. Taking photos shouldn’t be a passive thing, have fun with it!

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