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Simple Photography Tips

Top 10 Tips for Making It Easier to Use Your Camera

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Sometimes, the most simple digital photography tips are the best ones. People sometimes try to make photography too complex and too difficult.

Use these top 10 simple photography tips either as a refresher course on some of the basics of photography or to help you use your digital camera for the first time.

  1. Busy backgrounds. Make sure the background is free of distracting elements, such as a tree that might look like it's growing out of the back of the subject's head.

  2. Colors. Contrasting colors make good photos, especially when you're shooting an object or subject with a color that stands out from the background.

  3. Flash photos. When you're in a photography situation where you must use the built-in flash unit with your camera, be sure that you aren't too close or too far away. If you're too close, you'll wash out the photo with too much light. And, if you're too far away, the light won't reach the subject. Your camera's specifications list should give you good advice on exactly what distance over which your flash will work.

  4. Group shots. When shooting a group, try to give yourself a little elevation over the group, which makes it easier to see everyone's face. If that doesn't work, make two or three rows of people (seated, bending with hands on knees, and standing upright), trying not to go more than six or seven people wide. Try to make sure that each person's face is about the same distance from the camera, no matter how you arrange the people.

  5. Landscapes. Photos of nature are great, but try to include an object of focus in the photo, such as some colorful flowers or an old barn. Offset this object from the center.

  6. Move close. A common beginner mistake is to shoot photos from too far away. Move your feet to get as close as possible to your subject. Use the zoom only when necessary, because shooting at the extreme zoom setting can cause camera shake.

  7. Orientation. Try a mixture of horizontal and vertical orientations when composing your photos. Some scenes naturally look better one way or the other, but, if you can't decide, try shooting them both ways.

  8. Proper exposure. If you're new to digital photography, let the camera help you create the proper exposure. Use the camera's scene modes, where you select the mode that most closely matches the surrounding scene, such as "party mode" or "sunset". Or shoot in fully auto mode, as today's digital cameras do a good job of setting the proper exposure in most scenes.

  9. Rule of Thirds. If your camera has a grid option, where it superimposes lines on the LCD to simulate dividing the screen into thirds (nine sections), use it to help you compose your images with the Rule of Thirds. This is the best way to ensure good composition in your images.

  10. Shoot plenty. One of the great things about digital photography is you don't have to worry about wasting film. Shoot plenty of photos, just to make sure you end up with the image you want. Keep an extra memory card on hand, just in case you fill one.
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