Orangeville, ON (James Doan) You may consider yourself an amateur photographer. Or you want to create better family photos. There are many things you can do to get better photos. Here are some easy tips to use the next time you head out with your digital camera.

Be Prepared
Keep all your photography equipment ready for use. Collect everything you’ll need into one place. A camera bag is ideal, because it keeps all your stuff together and lets you carry it all with you. Everything in its place. A good camera bag will let you organize. You can carry a miniature tripod, extra batteries, memory cards, and other accessories. You can even include a plastic bag or waterproof housing to protect your camera in wet weather.

Hold your Camera Steady
Blurry photos are almost always the result of camera movement. Your own unsteadiness causes your camera to shake enough to blur your pictures.

So steady yourself and your camera before you take the shot.

Plant your feet on the ground and tuck your elbows in close to your sides. Don’t use the LCD viewer. Steady your camera against your forehead. Frame the shot using your camera’s viewfinder. You can also steady your upper body by leaning against a wall or a tree. Or eliminate any camera movement by using a tripod.

Once you’re all set, press the shutter release with a smooth, gentle motion. Pressing the shutter release too hard could jerk the camera downward.

Get Closer
One difference between “snapshots” and great photos is the composition of the shot. Unless you’re shooting an outdoor landscape, improve most photos by getting closer to your subject. You can move yourself closer to your subject, or use the zoom feature on your camera for the same effect. Try to get within a few feet of your subject to crop out most of the background. You’ll like the results.

Take more Pictures
Even professionals take loads of shots of the same subject – to get the few that they will use. With a digital camera, you can delete the images you don’t like. Then only print the winners. Don’t hesitate to take several shots of the same subject. Change the angle of the shot. Get a little closer. Adjust the lighting.

Why not fill the entire memory card with pictures of your kid at the pool, or your daughter in her cap and gown? The more pictures you take, the better the odds that you’ll get a few shots that will thrill you.

Vary the Lighting
Using natural light will give better skin tones when photographing people. Try not to use the flash if you don’t have to. Outdoor daylight shots are easy, but you’ll have to be a little more creative when shooting indoors. Try using the light coming in from a window for warmer tones than you would get using the flash.

Experiment with natural lighting. You can get stronger shadows by moving your subject closer to a window. Turning your subject can create more dramatic shadows.

Eliminate Red-Eye
Red-eye is the result of light passing through your subject’s eye and reflecting back. You’ll get it more often when using your flash, because the light from the flash isn’t as diffused as natural light. So the first tip for eliminating red-eye is to avoid using your flash when you don’t have to.

Another way to reduce red-eye is to have your subject look anywhere but at the camera. This reduces red-eye because any reflection isn’t directed back at your camera lens.

If you have to use the flash, some digital cameras have a built-in feature to remove red-eye. Use it.

Go for Candid
Don’t pose two (or more) people looking at the camera. Instead, get a shot of them interacting with one another. Two people having a conversation is more interesting than having them stand next to each other facing the camera. Some of the best professional portraits have the subject captured deep in thought. Focus their attention inward, rather than on the camera lens.

It makes a more interesting shot. Your portrait will look more natural – less posed.

Create a Scene
Putting your subject in the center of a photo is boring. You’ll get a much more pleasing result if you place your subject off center when you frame the shot.

This is a professional technique. Place your subject so that they occupy 1/3 to 1/2 of the total composition, but NOT at the exact center of the frame. Capture an interesting background object in the rest of the frame.

 

Anybody can practice these techniques. They’re easy and you’ll get better, more professional photos.