If you’re new to digital photography, it can be a little discouraging when your photos don’t turn out correctly. However, keep in mind that photography is like any other skill: Practice makes perfect.
Although it can take quite a bit of time and practice to become a great photographer, beginning photographers can make use of any number of tips to make some quick improvements to their basic photography skills. In addition to “Ten Basic Photography Tips” that I compiled a couple of years ago, here are “Ten More Basic Photography Tips” that hopefully can help you have some quick success.
- Four rules to follow. Before taking your digital camera out for a photography session for the first time, be sure you’ve followed these four rules: Have the battery charged, have plenty of space on your memory card, figure out the basic commands for the camera, and take a few practice photos around the house. You don’t want to be fumbling with unfamiliar buttons when a photographic opportunity could be lost.
- Clean the camera lens. Many problems with poor images can be fixed pretty easily by just cleaning the camera lens. Smudges and fingerprints on the lens will cause you to have problems with your photos. Clean the lens with a dry microfiber cloth, and you’ll be much more pleased with your images.
- Find the grid. Many digital cameras include a superimposed grid or on-screen level line on the LCD that can help ensure your photos are aligned correctly and the camera is level with the horizon. The grid won’t appear on your final photo, so it makes a great guide.
- Avoid LCD glare. Many inexpensive digital cameras force you to compose your photo by using the LCD screen, because they don’t include a viewfinder. However, some LCD screens can suffer from significant problems with glare, especially when used outdoors in bright sunlight. This glare can make it almost impossible to see the image on the LCD. To combat glare on your LCD screen, increase the brightness setting on the LCD, shoot from a shady location, or carry a towel or umbrella that you can use to create some shade for the LCD screen.
- Stick with auto mode. As you’re learning about photography, use the digital camera’s automatic settings to ensure good exposure and results from the photos. As you learn a bit more about photography, then it’s time to make the most of some of the manual control features your camera offers.
- Pre-focus. By holding the shutter button halfway, you can have the camera pre-focus on a subject. This allows the camera to work more quickly, because it won’t have to spend a fraction of a second trying to find the right focus. You can’t pre-focus in every type of photo because you may not have the time, but when you can, pre-focusing can help you avoid blurry images.
- Invest in a tripod. Zoom lenses are great, but using it at the maximum level can cause your image to be a bit shaky. If you must zoom to the maximum setting, be sure to use a tripod or lean against a wall or tree to steady the camera. Blurry photos from camera shake are common with large zoom lenses fully extended.
- Stay in the flash’s range. If you must use the camera’s built-in flash unit to improve the lighting available in a particular photograph, make sure the subject is close enough to receive some benefit from the flash. Know the flash range for your camera model, and move closer, if needed. The flash range will be listed in the camera’s user guide or in the specifications list.
- Learn how to edit photos. Although it’s a good idea to delete obvious mistakes among your photos as soon as they’re shot to help preserve storage space on the memory card, try to get into the habit of keeping photos that are borderline in quality. It’s possible that you might be able to save borderline photos with photo editing software. Using photo editing software later to crop and reconfigure photos can help you improve your photography skills, too, as once you learn about which types of photos you want to end up with after editing, you’ll have a better chance of creating those photos from the start.
- Keep quiet. Finally, to keep peace with those around you, figure out how to mute the camera’s sounds. Few things are as annoying as an obvious digital camera novice whose camera is making loud beeps and simulated shutter sounds as you’re trying to listen to a musical performance at school, for example.