7 Tips for Shooting Great Digital Photos
Do you have trouble shooting good digital photos? Perhaps you've been taking digital photos for some time, but never really got the beautiful shots you wanted. Maybe you somehow messed up the photos you took of important events, like your daughter's birthday or your trip to Paris.
How do you begin to take good photos? Well, the first thing to remember is this: It's the photographer that takes great photos, not the camera. Think about that for a minute. It's true isn't it? I've seen some people take great photos with a simple point-and-shoot camera, while some take lousy shots with the most expensive SLR. Fret not! Read these tips on shooting digital photos and apply them the next time you have a chance. Before long, you'll be shooting photos like a pro!
1. Know Your Camera
Does this sound familiar? You buy the latest digital camera out there, come home, rip off the box, then proceed to fiddle with the device. You briefly flick through the hundred page camera manual and then never look at it again. Not a good idea! If you buy a digital camera, you owe it to yourself to understand its ins and outs. Learn how to control exposure, how to use different camera modes and how to use the flash. The knowledge you gain about the camera will be invaluable when you're out in the field taking those special photos.
2. Learn to Control the Flash
One of the most important things you need to know about digital photography is to control the flash. Personally, I hate to rely on the automatic flash that comes with the digital camera. Depending on the situation, you need to switch off or switch on the flash.
For example, when taking outdoor photos, it is sometimes good to turn on the flash to illuminate the subject, especially if he or she is in the shade. On the other hand, you can also choose to turn off the flash when taking indoor shots. Sometimes, using the flash indoors will result in unnatural skin color and harsh glare in your photos.
3. Play with the Macro Mode
Almost all digital camera these days have a macro mode. This setting is ideal for taking close-up shots of objects like flowers or insects. On my Canon PowerShot S500, it's represented by a flower symbol. What you do is pick a subject, turn on macro mode, then get as close to it as your camera will allow. Make sure you allow the camera to focus properly before depressing the shutter button fully.
4. Hold the Camera Level
A basic rule of photography is to hold the camera level. Since most digital cameras come with an LCD, you can use it to properly frame your shots. Next time you're taking a shot, try to look for the horizontal lines and use them as guides. A good example is to make use of the horizon when you're taking a photo of a sunset.
5. Use The Tripod
I recommend this tip to all budding photographers—camera tripods are an essential tool in your photography arsenal. When will you need a tripod? Well, it's useful if you're taking shots under low-light conditions or trying to capture fast moving objects. I like to use a tripod when taking night shots on city streets, for example. Always try to look for a tripod that's convenient to carry around. For personal use, you don't need a huge one—just a simple compact one that's easy to pack.
6. Play with the ISO Setting
I find the ISO setting in digital cameras very useful. The ISO setting of a camera controls its sensitivity to light. If you're taking a photo of a still object, like a flower, then always use a low ISO setting. It allows for a longer shutter speed and produces a cleaner image. If you're shooting a moving object, like a baby playing with a toy, then a higher ISO setting, of say 400, would be better. Do take note, however, that a higher ISO setting gives a faster shutter speed and requires less light. This will produce noiser photos.
7. Have Enough Memory Capacity
Just like you must have enough rolls of film when using traditional cameras, make sure you always have enough memory capacity in your digital camera. It's terrible to be on a holiday taking great photos and suddenly realizing you've no memory space left. Here are some general guidelines for digital camera storage.
Whew. A pretty long article. I hope I've managed to give you some good tips on shooting great digital photos. Always remember what I said—while the latest and greatest digital cameras have amazing features, you still need a skilled photographer to take nice pictures. Apply the above tips to your everyday shooting and learn to be a better photographer.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Hendricks runs a hobby site on digital photography. Visit his website at http://www.basic-digital-photography.com for tips and tricks on buying digital cameras, as well as shooting great photos.
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