5 Tips for Taking Better Photos

Whether you want to take better photos of your kids, your vacations, the flowers in your yard, or the cookies you just baked, I’ve got five quick tips to improve the quality of your photos.

1. First and foremost remember these two terms: lighting and composition.  These things alone make the difference between a good photo and a bad photo. A great subject lost in poor lighting is, well, lost. Natural light is always best, so do your best to seek it out and use it. Composition refers to the arrangement of subject matter within the picture. Study photos you love. What makes them so great? You’re likely to find a pattern—interesting composition and great lighting.

2. Follow the “Rule of Thirds.” Or, in simpler terms, avoid putting your subject in the center of a photo. This applies to horizons also. Keep them above or below the center line of your photo. It may be counter-intuitive at first, but you’ll notice that offsetting the subject is more pleasing to the eye and makes for a better photo. Read more about the Rule of Thirds here.

3. Make sure your subject is clearly the focus of the photo. Clutter or poorly placed subjects often result in your eyes being unable to find a home; they will naturally wander around the photo looking for an interesting place to land.  A photo should lead the eye to the subject. Sometimes it’s only a matter of taking a few steps to your left or right to find a background that will enhance and not detract from your subject.

4. Avoid using the flash on your camera. The reason why flash point-and-shoot photos look so boring is because they are.  A harsh flash pointing at the subject directly in front of the camera results in harsh, flat, boring lighting.  If at all possible, turn your flash off and use the light that is available. (If you must use a flash, try this trick to bounce the light and make it softer.)

5. Take the camera off “auto” and have some fun. Experiment with your camera! The auto setting is there for one reason and one reason only—to take well lit, properly exposed photos, but not necessarily interesting photos and definitely not artistic photos.  We live in the digital age. If something doesn’t look good, you can just delete it, learn from it, and move on.

{Image via Digital Photography School}

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