Taking a picture is as easy as pushing a button, but taking a beautiful photograph is a work of art. You can take great photos with a simple, point-and-shoot camera or get lousy shots with the most expensive, top-of-the-line camera. It is not the camera that produces wonderful images, it is the photographer. To help you take great photographs, here are some helpful tips.
Play with the aperture settings. Take a number of photos of the same subject with different settings to see how it affects the look of the final photo. Bigger f-stops allow you to get an entire landscape in focus, while a smaller f-stop will draw attention only to the center of your frame.
If you are planning to take photos in a new country go straight to the postcard rack. Postcards can help you gain new ideas of the scenery that is unique to the country that you are in. Use these photos as ideas for the spots that you want to visit.
Keep your photo subject simple. The busier the subject is the more difficult it is to capture something that is going to be interesting. Keeping the backgrounds simple will make it easier for the eye to focus on the subject that you are capturing. Keeping it uncomplicated seems simple, but many forget to do it.
Use a polarizing lens filter on your camera to minimize glare from direct sunlight and to create an even distribution of light. This is essential when shooting in direct sunlight, but also can be beneficial in any lighting situation. Think of polarizing lens filters as sunglasses for your camera. They are inexpensive, easy to attach and have the added benefit of protecting your expensive lenses from scratches.
Shoot during the “golden hours,” especially if you are shooting human subjects. The time around dawn and dusk are named “golden hours” because the hue of the light makes objects look like they are glowing. This light also complements human skin, making human subjects appear to look better than they would in photos taken at other times of day.
When taking a picture, try to take one at a medium distance and then take one closer. You may decide later on that a picture would have looked better had you taken it a little closer. Also, try to make sure your subject is toward the center of the picture.
When traveling, take pictures of your food. Take the time to play with lights, colors and compose your pictures. You might get used to the food by the time you come back home, but these pictures will look very original to you and your friends later when you reflect back on your trip.
You can do a lot to change the quality of your pictures by adjusting the focus of the shot. What is your primary subject? This doesn’t always have to be in the center of the photo. Having your subject in the lower right hand or left hand corner, for example, can increase dramatic aspects of your picture.
When you are on a trip, snap photos of insignificant things. Small unique details are often what makes a particular item, location or face interesting. Taking photos of things such as street signs, storefronts and other interesting objects will help trigger memories you would have forgotten otherwise.
Many parents cannot resist the temptation to put a bow in the hair of a young girl when she is being photographed. If at all possible, discourage this practice. It creates an unnatural feeling to an image, while almost always contrasting with the fine texture of human hair. Bows dominate the image and detract from the young girl’s natural features.
On your smart phone (as long as it has a camera), keep a special inspiration album within your photos. Every day you may stumble upon some amazing, inspirational idea, moment or place. Snap photos of these locales and moments, and store them in this inspiration album. Next time you are looking to try something new with your photography, look back to your inspiration folder for some great brainstorming ideas!