Top 10 tips to getting better photographs

December 9, 2011


Santa Clarita Photographer

There are all types of people out there taking photos with all sorts of devices.  Finding a person without a camera is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Although having a high quality camera and lens helps for printing and reproduction purposes, they’re not a necessity for taking great photos.

Even though I’m no Annie Leibovitz, I have put together a list of the top 10 things that can help anyone take better photos regardless of what device they’re using. And it goes a little something like this:

#1: Ditch your flash if you don’t need it
Most of us let our camera make all the decisions for us. When you have an opportunity, turn the flash off and see how much better the ambient lighting can be. There will be plenty of times when you’ll need the flash, so if you’re in a dimly lit room and your camera is trying to activate the flash – turn it off and see what it looks like without it. You just might be surprised.

#2: Use a tripod if you can
Using a tripod is the best way to make sure the camera doesn’t move. Especially in very low lighting situations such as sunsets and sunrises.

#3: Stand completely still and ground yourself
If you can’t use a tripod, try being as still as possible. This should include holding your arms and camera closer to you as opposed to sticking your arms our and using the LCD instead of the view finder. Some photogs even hold their breath when they shoot in order to make sure they don’t move.

#4: Learn how to use your camera
I know that seems like a silly thing to say, but you would be shocked at how many people don’t read their manuals. If you just spent a ton of dinero on a camera, why wouldn’t you want to learn about all the cool stuff it can do?

#5: Zooming in too much
As a person that loves to take macro (close-up) photography, this was a hard one. However, the more you zoom on a subject, the more pixelated the photo turns out. If you can get closer to the subject – do that as opposed to just zooming in. Mark my words. Don’t use it unless you have no other option (such as spotting Lady GaGa across the street at McDonald’s).

#6: Not taking enough pictures
You can’t trust the digital LCD screen on your camera. How may times have you taken photos, saw they looked pretty good in your LCD screen and then when you got home and loaded them onto the computer – the horror!? They’re either too dark or too blurry! For every photo you’re trying to get right, take about 5-6 of them. Odds are at least 1 of them will look correct. Use slightly different settings for a couple of them if you can just to give yourself a variety of choices.

#7: Set the highest resolution on your camera settings
Higher resolution = more pixels = clearer photos when printing. The higher the resolution the better.

#8: Too much stuff in the background
Cleaner is always better. Even in photos. You want your subject to be the focus of the photo so make sure there aren’t 100 things behind their heads or body.

#9: Don’t center your subject
One of the things that makes a photo so interesting is composition. Although this is a huge topic unto itself, the basic rule of thumb is not to center every single subject. So if you’re taking a picture of your little one, don’t center their face in the middle of the shot. Use the rule of thirds when composing your photo.

#10: Learn to love the shade
The sun is an amazing thing but not when it’s shining in someone’s face making them squint and over-exposing their skin. On bright and sunny days, try to find a shaded spot such as a tree or a wall of a building to take your photo. Not only will you get more even light but your subject’s eyes will look so much younger and larger from not squinting. You’ll be their new photographic hero!

Happy snapping!


Tasty Vino
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  • James Roighte
    January 29, 2012 3:45 am

    Thank you for these tips!

  • Loisa Smith
    January 29, 2012 7:46 am

    These are awesome! I love taking pics with my iPhone! Thank you for the help!

    • genesismoss
      August 15, 2012 11:03 pm

      Oh thank you! You’re so welcome!

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