by : Carm Paynter
Taking great photographs with today's automatic cameras allows anyone to produce a sharp, well-exposed image. If you are just beginning to use an 'auto-everything' camera like a 35mm compact or program SLR then your main area of control is going to be in the composition of your photographs. No one can tell you how to take a great picture because it comes down to your ability to 'see' the potential to create a picture. Never-the-less, here are 7 tips and techniques you can use to improve the final look of your photographs. You will find some of the most popular, effective and easy to implement photo techniques, that you will be able to start using right away, to improve your picture taking.
Tip 1: Read your camera manual, then read it again. Keep it with the camera and learn all of your camera's features. The more familiar you become with what your camera will do the more you will be a photographer and not just a picture taker. The more your camera automatically becomes an extension of your eyes and fingers, the more you can concentrate on your photo before you take it.
Tip 2: The Rule of Thirds. Divide the image in your viewfinder into three sections with 2 imaginary horizontal and 2 imaginary vertical lines. Place your subject near one of the intersections of those lines.
Placing your subject off-center creates an interesting, dynamic image that makes the photo more interesting.
Tip 3: Find fresh angles to take your photograph from. Change your viewpoint or the angle of view, don't be afraid to shoot from a low angle especially when photographing pets. Several years ago a single use camera manufacturer gave a camera to each of a group of younger children, the resulting pictures changed the way we look at camera angles to take photographs. When you change your camera angle be sure to get horizons horizontal. Be conscious of getting Images Straight and be sure to fill your picture frame.
Tip 4: Create active space - When photographing any object that is moving or would require space if it moved. leave space for the move. If you photographed your pet and placed the nose on the edge of the photo and left space behind, the photo would look very uncomfortable. Leave room in front and put the back close to the edge of the photo to create active space.
Tip 5: Getting backgrounds right and framing your shots. Use a dark background for taking a picture of a light object, or, alternatively, a light background for a picture of a dark object.
Caution: Absolutely light backgrounds cause flare effect that lead to reducing the overall contrast of a picture. The use of an object to frame your photo can greatly reduce this effect. For example you can use a tree limb over the top part of your photo when you take scenic photos to help improve the composition and reduce the glare.
Tip 6: Center of Interest. Try and keep only one center of interest having too many interest points in a photo is distracting causing the viewer to lose focus and interest. Use Tip 2 to place the center of interest in the proper place. When you shoot people portraits keep the subjects eyes around the top 1/3rd grid line.
Always use less distraction. Sometimes your mind tends to exaggerate what you see through the viewfinder of your camera. Very often things are perceived bigger than they actually are. What you end up with is a photograph with huge areas of wasted space around the edge and people with things growing out of their heads.
Tip 7: Editing: Before you show anyone all those holiday photos you took, edit your work. Take out all the doubles, all the duds, the ones that are out of focus and generally the ones you think are crap. Only show people the good stuff and your perception as a photographer immediately increases. Pro's often shoot a load of junk like anyone else, they just don't show it to anybody.