Seven Photography Tips for the Artistically Challenged

Seven Photography Tips for the Artistically Challenged

Have you ever noticed the lamp growing out of Aunt Edna’s head in the snapshot from last Christmas? Or what about the great picture of you, your boyfriend and the bright white ceiling on prom night? All too often our scrapbooks and albums are filled with less than amazing pictures of our more than wonderful memories. With just a few tips to remember you can start taking better pictures instantly. It doesn’t matter what kind of camera you have, these tips work with all brands and models.

  1. Take your time. The first mistake most people make is not taking the time to make sure the shot is a good one before pressing the shutter button.
  2. Check your background. Look for those objects that are distracting, the objects that appear to be growing from your subjects body. Try to locate a background that is complimentary. Ex: Large leafy trees, solid walls, open skies.
  3. Fill the frame. Too much empty space around your subject or having your subject off to one side of the frame takes away from the overall look of your photo.
  4. Watch the light. If you subject’s back is facing the sun, there is a good chance you will get the “silhouette effect” or a bright background with little to no light on your subject’s face. Sometimes this is the desired look for sunset pictures, or side views of a subject for a more artsy touch. In general, though, you want to make sure that your flash is on, you are close enough to your subject for the flash to light their face, or you move to a location where the background lighting isn’t as strong. Also, be care in low light settings, such as a restaurant or at night that you are far enough away that the light doesn’t overpower or cause the “washed out” look. Standing back and using a zoom sometimes will help to correct this.
  5. Crop in the right places. When taking pictures of people, the bottom of the frame should be across the shoulders, hips, middle thigh or middle calf. Making people look like a head only or an amputee is not flattering.

6.Use complimentary angles. Taking a photo looking up at a subject can be edgy and different. Make sure that if your subject is human and looking down at you that they don’t have a double-chin, or that there is enough light from your flash to lessen the shadows under their neck. If shooting from above make sure your flash isn’t too close and washing out skin tones. Turning the camera at an angle to the left or right can give a plain picture a whole new look.

  1. Compose. Or “pose,” as may be the case. For human subjects, ask that the pose is natural. Sometimes when people stand together for a picture they lean their heads in at what appears to be an exaggerated angle. For a softer look, a light tilt of the head can be much more picture-worthy. Some females prop their arms on their hips, and pose their legs bent at the hip, ankle and thigh. Though they are trying to look like the celebrities on TV the result sometimes looks more like a very stiff person who is probably in pain. Posing to flatter your figure is a good thing, but ask that they relax so they aren’t giving off that fake vibe.

For groups, vary people of different heights. Symmetry also can look nice. Examples of symmetry can be two people standing side by side with opposite arms propped on hips, back to back, or bodies facing each other and heads turned toward the camera. You can duplicate these poses with larger groups, even with uneven numbers. Just have the the extra subject to stand in the middle as an “anchor” of the pose.

For landscapes, try not to put the horizon line in the middle of the frame. More sky on top or more landscape on bottom is perfect. When lines run right through the middle, it has a displeasing effect on the eyes. If you are shooting a city-scape, vary the heights of the buildings the same as you would trees or mountains in a landscape.

These are simple tips that are easy to remember and utilize, no matter your experience or your camera. So go grab your camera and a few friends and start shooting!

Have you ever noticed the lamp growing out of Aunt Edna’s head in the snapshot from last Christmas? Or what about the great picture of you, your boyfriend and the bright white ceiling on prom night? All too often our scrapbooks and albums are filled with less than amazing pictures of our more than wonderful memories. With just a few tips to remember you can start taking better pictures instantly. It doesn’t matter what kind of camera you have, these tips work with all brands and models.

  1. Take your time. The first mistake most people make is not taking the time to make sure the shot is a good one before pressing the shutter button.
  2. Check your background. Look for those objects that are distracting, the objects that appear to be growing from your subjects body. Try to locate a background that is complimentary. Ex: Large leafy trees, solid walls, open skies.
  3. Fill the frame. Too much empty space around your subject or having your subject off to one side of the frame takes away from the overall look of your photo.
  4. Watch the light. If you subject’s back is facing the sun, there is a good chance you will get the “silhouette effect” or a bright background with little to no light on your subject’s face. Sometimes this is the desired look for sunset pictures, or side views of a subject for a more artsy touch. In general, though, you want to make sure that your flash is on, you are close enough to your subject for the flash to light their face, or you move to a location where the background lighting isn’t as strong. Also, be care in low light settings, such as a restaurant or at night that you are far enough away that the light doesn’t overpower or cause the “washed out” look. Standing back and using a zoom sometimes will help to correct this.
  5. Crop in the right places. When taking pictures of people, the bottom of the frame should be across the shoulders, hips, middle thigh or middle calf. Making people look like a head only or an amputee is not flattering.

6.Use complimentary angles. Taking a photo looking up at a subject can be edgy and different. Make sure that if your subject is human and looking down at you that they don’t have a double-chin, or that there is enough light from your flash to lessen the shadows under their neck. If shooting from above make sure your flash isn’t too close and washing out skin tones. Turning the camera at an angle to the left or right can give a plain picture a whole new look.

  1. Compose. Or “pose,” as may be the case. For human subjects, ask that the pose is natural. Sometimes when people stand together for a picture they lean their heads in at what appears to be an exaggerated angle. For a softer look, a light tilt of the head can be much more picture-worthy. Some females prop their arms on their hips, and pose their legs bent at the hip, ankle and thigh. Though they are trying to look like the celebrities on TV the result sometimes looks more like a very stiff person who is probably in pain. Posing to flatter your figure is a good thing, but ask that they relax so they aren’t giving off that fake vibe.

For groups, vary people of different heights. Symmetry also can look nice. Examples of symmetry can be two people standing side by side with opposite arms propped on hips, back to back, or bodies facing each other and heads turned toward the camera. You can duplicate these poses with larger groups, even with uneven numbers. Just have the the extra subject to stand in the middle as an “anchor” of the pose.

For landscapes, try not to put the horizon line in the middle of the frame. More sky on top or more landscape on bottom is perfect. When lines run right through the middle, it has a displeasing effect on the eyes. If you are shooting a city-scape, vary the heights of the buildings the same as you would trees or mountains in a landscape.

These are simple tips that are easy to remember and utilize, no matter your experience or your camera. So go grab your camera and a few friends and start shooting!

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