Taking Great Digital Photos

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Digital Cameras are everywhere today. Here are a few tips to taking great digital photos and get the most out of your digital camera.

One of the most important things you can do is read your camera’s manual. You need to be aware of what settings your camera will allow you to change  and where to find those settings. If you read about how to do this before you start taking pictures, things will go much smoother when you begin.

Familiarize yourself with your camera's preset modes. Many cameras, even camera phones, have settings for shooting portraits, moving objects, or in low light. By reading about those in your manual and playing around with them, you can have a really easy way to get good, clear photos in a variety of different conditions.

Use your camera’s macro setting (often the symbol of a flower) for close ups of small objects.with great detail.

If you’re shooting a person or animal, make sure they are not directly facing their light source. It will cause them to squint and will make an unattractive photo. And unless you want to create a silhouette, don’t have the light source directly behind your subject either.

In very bright, harsh light, force the flash. This is normally a condition where the flash would not go off if it’s set to “Auto”. But very harsh light makes very harsh shadows. If you are photographing people, you may want to use the flash in this situation to help soften those shadows.

Turn off your flash. A flash in low light will flatten out your subject giving you a boring photo. Instead, use all the natural light you can. Open the blinds or go outside. There are also a few settings you can change to lighten a photo. If you can’t get enough light, you can change your camera’s ISO setting. Play with the ISO setting- increases your camera’s sensitivity to light-a lower ISO setting allows for a longer shutter speed-use in low light. Use a higher ISO setting for brighter settings. If your ISO setting is too high for the light level, the image will be grainy.

Another way to adjust for light levels is to increase or decrease the shutter speed. The longer the shutter is open, the more light can be let in and the brighter it will be. Use a low shutter speed if you’re in bright light and want to capture a moving subject. Us a long exposure time if the lighting is low or for various photographic effects (such as photographing light or moving water).

Even though it is an additional expense, a tripod is really worth it. Especially for long exposure times, a tripod will ensure you have clear photos. Even if you don’t have a tripod, you can always find a stationary object on which you can set your camera or steady your arms.

A great photo should have good contrast. It should contain very light lights and very dark darks. Your camera’s HDR setting can help you with that. This setting increases the range of lights and darks in your photo to create a good level of contrast. It’s great to use in many situations, but don’t use it for a photo that already contains high contrast.

Before you start shooting photos, compose your shot. There are a couple good guidelines to do this. First, use the 2/3rds rule. Putting your main subject 2/3rds of the way on your photo can often make a more interesting composition. Many cameras even have a setting that will display a grid on your screen so you can see where the 2/3rd marks are located.

Another way is to use leading lines. If you study great photos you will notice that often they are composed so that your eye naturally travels around the image. For example, say there is a photo of a road with the main subject of a tree at the end of it. The line of the road points to the tree and draws the viewer’s eye to it. Try to use that in your own compositions.

Don’t just take photos from your own eye level. Get down on the floor or up on a ladder to view your subjects from a different perspective.

Lastly, just have fun and play around with your camera. With digital photography it’s so easy to experiment because you have the benefit of seeing the photo immediately. If it doesn’t look quite right just delete it and try again.

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Corinne Porter has 2 articles online

Corinne Porter is the owner of Porter Photo Repair, a digital photo repair and retouching service.

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Taking Great Digital Photos

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This article was published on 2014/01/07