Hey there photo phriend! In yesterday's "How to Take Better Photos ....Part 1", I talked about 8 tips to improve the photos you will be scrap booking. I have a few more tips that will surely help most of us take "photos" rather than "snapshots".
FYI - though the focus of the articles is for scrap booking pix, the truth is these tips apply to anyone for all photos for pretty much any situation, whether the photo will be scrap booked or not.
Please review the steps in "Part 1" and then let's pick up where we left off... Here we go!
9. Pay attention to the background. Try to position the subject or your body and the camera so that the background that will show in the picture is not distracting. Try to avoid extra clutter in the picture that could detract from the subject. If you are able to adjust the aperture on your camera, use a very wide aperture (low number) to turn the background into a nice silky blur.
10. Use the flash outdoors when taking people pix. I know in a previous step I said to avoid using the harsh light of the flash, but outdoors the light is dispersed enough so that it just fills in the shadows on nicely. Also, if you are somewhat close to the subject, a flash can stop motion blur. For example, take a pic of a flower blowing in the wind using the flash to freeze the image for a split second.
11. Focus on focus. I know that it seems obvious. Of course you have to focus! Right? But, sometimes we get so excited to capture a picture we don't pay attention to which part of the picture the camera is focused on, then when we see the resulting pics we are disappointed to find that a unimportant part of the photo is tack sharp while the subject is blurry.
12. Be aware of shadows. They can be an interesting feature or ruin a picture. It's cool to capture the elongated shadows of trees & people when the sun is low in the sky. It is usually not cool to have an unintentional shadow covering 1/2 of the subjects face. In situations where there is a partial shadow that cannot be avoided, use the fill-flash (item 10 above)
13. When possible, use leading lines to draw the viewer in to the photo. Lines that start near the lower corner of a picture, continue to the subject or diminish in to the distance help to pull the eye into the photo.
14. Use a tripod, especially when there is low ambient light. The lower the light, the slower the shutter which means if your hand shakes at all the picture will be blurry. Built in anti-shake features found in cameras and lenses help, but there is no substitute for a tripod in low light.
15. Love your camera. Hug it, learn it, keep it clean. After all, it's THE tool required to take good pix, ya know? Learn how and when to use all the settings and features of your camera. Read the manual and play around to see what the settings do. Maintain the camera by keeping it dry and store in a stable temperature. Carry in a padded camera bag. Keep batteries charged and store them outside of the camera if you will not be using it for a while. Protect LCD's with clear protective stick-on covers. Be really careful not to get dust or scratches on the lens. Clean it carefully and often with a cloth or tool designed especially for cleaning lenses. Never clean with tissue, paper towel, etc. All of this is pretty basic, but it is important so worth mentioning.
Here's a few pictures that are good examples of what is covered in this blog and Part 1:
Why it's good: LEADING LINES & OFF CENTER SUBJECT
Why its good: INTERESTING USE OF SELECTIVE FOCUS
Why it's good: UNCLUTTERED BACKGROUND, OFF-CENTER, UNPOSED PICTURE, GOOD SIDE LIGHT
Why it's good: RULE OF THIRDS APPLIED. (Subject is placed at one of the four intersections where the lines meet.)
Why it's good: INTERESTING CROP + FUN COLOR/FILTER APPLIED IN PHOTO EDITOR