Mar 6, 2008

Snapshot Tips

Marchet writes:

I was over at a friend's place the other day shooting for fun and letting our babies play together. I caught this great moment of her little one. I also played with her point-and-shoot digital camera, and shared with her some of my tips for better digital photography. Here are some of my suggestions:

1. Focus first; then shoot. Press the shutter release button (the button you use to take a pictuer) half-way down to focus on your subject. Then, press the shutter release all the way down to take the shot. So many people don't know this! But it's one of the easiest ways to improve your photography and avoid the "blurs."

1. Avoid using the flash indoors. When I first started out in photography, I was dismayed by all the dark shadows I was getting behind subjects when I shot indoors. I realized later that it was because I was using the built-in flash. (It has to do with hard light, if you want to look up soft and hard lighting basics on your own.) Without the flash, I have to take more pictures to get a good enough shot, but I'm a lot happier with the results.

2. Get in close! Choose ONE subject for your photo. Then get in close to and shoot that. Is it the face? Shoot just that. Is it the leaf or the piece of cake or the car fenders? Shoot only that. Don't worry about other people or objects you want to capture. Do them one at a time and you will get much better shots. For groups of people, think of the relationship between them as the subject, and not the people themselves.

3. Stick to a simple background. If you can position your subject in front of a plain, unimportant background, your shot will be much better. This is because there's no competition between your subject and the background. The picture above was taken with a big screen TV behind the baby.

4. Shoot at eye-level of the subject. This is perhaps most important for people shots. Generally, the best photos of children are taken on the ground where they are! Also, (I had to learn this the hard way) avoid taking shots "up" to the person's face. This makes everyone look like they have a double chin, even me!

5. Experiment! Do you know where your camera manual is? Have you even opened it? Have you ever taken your camera off of the "Auto" setting? Try it! You'll get a lot of bad shots at first, but then you'll start learning and that's when the fun begins.

For more great tips on photography, I recommend Mastering Digital Photography by David D. Busch and How to Photograph Absolutely Everything by Tom Ang. These books are great for beginners!

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