I’m reprinting a few articles from Alibony while I’m away from the blog. I’ll be back soon!
Have you ever taken a photo and discovered later that the baby has a tree sticking out of her head? Or that breathtaking landscape looks lifeless in print? You know how frustrating it is when your photos don’t measure up to the moment you tried to capture. Our best photos tell a story of a memory we want to keep, of an experience we want to share, of delight in color, texture and shape. Here are ten tips that can help you take better photos and make your stories sparkle.
Tip 1: Think Before You Click
Do you have a story to tell? What do you want to say or show? What’s important? Decide what to include – and what to leave out.
Baby Chimp With Blanket
Tip 2: Find the Light
Good light makes great photos. Where is the sun? From what angle do you get the best effect of light on your subject? For most photos, shoot with the sun behind you or to one side. Shoot into the sun for a backlit effect. Look for interesting reflections and shadows. The best light is at dawn and at dusk. Midday light is very harsh, especially for portraits.
Tip 3: Check the Background
Is there a tree sticking out of your subject’s head? Is the background too busy or distracting? Recompose the photo or move the subject for a better background. For close ups, use a camera setting such as Portrait or Aperture Priority to blur the background.
Tip 4: Use the Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds is a basic principle in photography and graphic design. Use the rule of thirds to compose a photo and place important objects in the frame. Imagine a grid laid out on top of your image, dividing your photo in thirds horizontally and vertically. Position important objects at the intersections of the lines.
Tip 5: Change the Viewpoint
Turn your camera sideways to change the orientation from landscape to portrait – or shoot at an angle. Walk around your subject to find the best view. Look up or look down for an interesting angle.
Tip 6: Look for Leading Lines
Lines in a photo lead our eyes in or out of the frame. Look for lines or curves in a scene to draw attention to the subject.
Tip 7: Track the Action
When shooting action photos, leave some space in the frame for forward movement. The runner should be running into the frame, not out of it.
Tip 8: Fill the Frame
Focus on the details. Zoom in close for portraits and flowers. For portraits, focus on your subject’s eyes. If the scene is very busy, show only a small part of it that captures the mood of your story.
Tip 9: Find the Big Picture
Get the big picture. Zoom out for landscapes, panoramas and portraits where setting is important. Make portraits that show people in the context of their surroundings, on vacation or at home.
Tip 10: Leave Room for Cropping
The dimensions of photos taken by digital cameras do not match print sizes. You may have to crop your photos for standard prints – and in the process, lose some important part of your photo. Include more than you want to capture in the frame, especially if you will crop or print the photo later.