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5 Ways to Take Better Pictures

5 Ways to Take Better Pictures

While I believe in investing in professional photography to document important life events I also believe that it’s important to catch every day moments well too! Here are just 5 ways to improve your own photography.

1. Turn off your flash!

The biggest mistake I see people making is using flash. Of course there will be times where it’s very dark and you’ll need to use your flash, but otherwise I recommend not using it. When enough natural light is available there is no reason to use a flash.  Natural light is much more flattering and will not make women’s makeup shine (Don’t you hate when that happens?)

You can turn off your camera by exploring the options on your camera.

Another note: A basic flash won’t carry more than a few feet. If you are taking a landscape or your subject is more than a few feet away your flash won’t illuminate them anyway.

This photograph was taken without flash inside the Shedd Aquarium, in Chicago.

2. Hold Your Breath

Sometimes holding a DSLR, or even a point and shoot, completely still can be difficult. If you have unsteady hands and have a hard time taking sharp pictures take a deep breath in and hold it as you click the shutter. This technique is especially useful in low light situations.

p.s. Making sure your elbows are pulled in toward your body will help keep your hands steady as well.

3. Try Out the Macro Setting

Try out all your settings. Read the manual and figure out the limitations and potential that your camera has. I specifically think the macro setting is a fun one to begin with because it lets you photograph details with much more clarity!

Shooting in Auto gives you the least control over your photographs. Even the most basic point and shoot cameras let you play with shutter speed, or aperture even a little bit. The best way to figure out how they work? Find out where they are (by reading your manual!) and start using them.

This picture taken with the Canon Powershot (basic point and shoot camera!) using the Macro setting.

Note: If you have a nice DSLR there won’t be a default macro setting. You’ll need to specifically invest in a macro lens in order to get great close up shots. (Tip: Don’t want to buy your lenses brand new? Buy them used. Here or here or here.)
It’s definitely worth the investment if you like shooting very fine details. Here’s a quick example:

4. Experiment With Perspective

One of the simplest ways to create creative and unique photographs is to vary the angle you are taking pictures at! Stand up on a chair, lay down at the ground, or “shoot from the hip” are all great ways to mix things up! It’s something that actually is very easy to do but what a lot of people forget.

Shooting from above:

Or getting on the ground:

5. Practice!

You can’t expect your camera to sit on a shelf all year and then expect to take amazing pictures of your child’s birthday or your trip to Florida. If you want to take good pictures you really have to practice. Keep your camera in a place easily accessible so you can grab it quickly when you need it. This might mean your living room or it could mean your purse.

Lastly, don’t let bad pictures stop you from taking pictures. Who cares if the lighting is off if the picture is of your grandparents sharing a kiss or your child making a silly but super cute face? Those moments are priceless, regardless how they’re captured. You might not blow those pictures up on canvas to hang in your home but they will make you smile whenever you flip through your photo book.. and that’s what it’s all about!



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