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8 Tips For Better Digital Photos by Brandon Layne
Whether you consider yourself an amateur photographer, or you just 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.
Even a beginner can take professional-looking photos - suitable for framing.
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 a miniature tripod, extra battereis, memory cards, etc. - even 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. Just 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 firmly on the ground and tuck your elbows in close to your sides. Instead of using the LCD viewer, steady your camera against your forehead and frame the shot using your camera's viewfinder. You can also steady your upper body by leaning against a wall or a tree. Or totally eliminate any camera movement by using a tripod.
Once you're all set, gently press the shutter release in one motion. Pressing the shutter release too hard could jerk the camera downward.
Get Closer
One difference in "snapshots" and really great photos is the composition of the shot. Unless you're shooting an outdoor landscape, you can improve most photos just by getting closer to your subject. Depending on the situation, you can physically move 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 so you eliminate most of the background. You'll like the results.
Take more Pictures
Even professionals take loads of shots of the same subject - to get just a few that they will use. With a digital camera, you can delete the images you don't like, and only print the winners - so 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 really thrill you.
Vary the Lighting
Using natural light will give better skin tones when photographing people, so 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, and 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, just because the light from the flash isn't as diffused as natural light. So the first tip for eliminating red-eye is simply to avoid using your flash when you don't absolutely 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 automatically remove red-eye. Use it.
Go for Candid
Instead of posing two (or more) people looking directly at the camera, get a shot of them interacting with one another. Even 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, with their attention focused 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 just boring. You'll get a much more pleasing result if you place your subject off center when you frame the shot.
This is a truly 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.
About the Author
Brandon Layne is a "serious amateur", using both digital and film cameras for action shots and outdoor photography. His web site contains digital photography tips, current digital photography news, and digital camera reviews.
All trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners.
Copyright 2006 Digital Photo News. All rights reserved.
 
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