What makes one picture better than another? Here are some simple techniques that you can apply to dramatically improve your photography – regardless of whether you are using a $200 point and shoot or a $1000 DSLR.
- #1 Tell a story – Pictures capture moments. A characteristic of a great picture is that there is something going on. Whether it’s a tender moment between a child and a parent or a moment of frustration, look for these moments to really add to your photography. This picture incorporates points 1 and 3.
- #2 Fill the frame – Which of the following pictures is more compelling? By zooming in, either by using your camera’s zoom or by walking in closer, tighter shots make instantly better photos whether you’re shooting portraits or capturing details. By zooming in you can also minimize distracting backgrounds. .
- #3 Use leading lines – Draw the eye to where the action is by capturing elements that suggest a path. Winding paths, table settings, or other elements can help make a picture.
- #4 Simplify the background – Always check your background for distractions that can take away from your pictures. By shifting the position from where you shoot you can capture a much more pleasing picture.
- #5 Get down (or up) – Change your perspective. As adults our natural inclination is to take pictures from up on high. With kids, it’s important to get down to their level in order to capture them in their element. If they’re really young you may want to get down low on the ground to get them at eye level. You can also try posing them on tables (please extra careful and make safety first). Also shooting from higher up as they look up can add a unique perspective.
- #6 Blur the background – You can minimize distracting backgrounds by blurring them using your camera settings. Set your aperture as low as it will go (f/stop 5.6 or lower). Moving your subject as far away from background will also help as will stepping back from your subject and zooming in.
- #7 Convert your picture to black and white – When a picture has too much going on, sometimes the best way to simplify is to convert it to black and white. By removing the color, it can help focus on the important elements of a scene like the interaction between a child and a dad.
- # 8 Use the Rule of Thirds – Often times when we take pictures, especially with point and shoot cameras, our natural tendency is to center our main subject. Next time, try moving some of the action off to one side and see the result. The rule of thirds is an imaginary grid (though some cameras allow you to set your display to this setting) that helps with ensuring that you don’t put your subject smack in the center of the frame. The best placement is to put the subject on the intersection of those lines. If you’re shooting close up, try putting the person’s eyes on the lines or if you are taking a picture that includes a horizon, try moving the horizon to the bottom or the top of the horizontal grid lines rather than having it go through the center of the frame.
- #9 Crop for greater meaning – Sometimes less is more. You can convincingly get the essence of the moment across by focusing on the minimal. Here, I was going for the bond between big sister and baby brother and their hands said it all.
- #10 Tilt your camera – By simply tilting your camera, particularly in portrait mode, you can get more in your frame AND get a more dynamic, professional looking capture.
For additional tips on capturing great pictures here are some inexpensive ebooks that you can instantly download. These ebooks range from $5.99 to $9.99 and are totally worth it. You’ll get lots of great ideas and sample pictures that you can put to use right away! I own these myself and always anxiously await the next edition!
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