Tip #1: Be Creative

Apply the “Rule of Thirds” to improve the creativity of your imagine.  Like a grid or hashtag #, place your main subject at the intersecting points of the photo and not always in the middle.

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Tip #2: Avoid Bright Backgrounds

Unless your goal is to capture dark profiles of an object or person, avoid taking photos directly in front of bright windows.  If avoiding the window is not an option and you want to see details of your subject, use flash to solve the problem and light up your entire image.

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Tip #3: Stabilize Your Camera

When using zoom to get closer to your subject, it’s best to use a tripod or find something around you that will help stabilize your camera and avoid a blurry image.  This could be a rock, door frame, railing, fence, car, table, etc.., anything to help keep the camera as still as possible.  If it’s an option, try using a remote shutter release to avoid all movement.

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Tip #4: Take Your Time

Be confident and patient when taking photos.  Many amateurs move their camera away from the subject too quickly which can result in a blurred image.

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Tip #5: Know Where Your Focus Is

This is especially important when taking pictures of people (portraits).  Try focusing on the center of the eye to capture the best image.  Most digital cameras do not have large enough screens to see if you focused correctly.  Preview the image and use the zoom function to get a closer look at your main subject before you get home and realize you missed out on a great photo.

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Tip #6:  Try Other Settings

If your camera has presets such as Sports, Kids/Pets, etc.. try them out.  Camera manufacturers have done most of the hard work on getting your settings correct so you can spend more time taking pictures.

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Tip #7:  Get Close

Commonly referred to as macro photography, try getting closer to your subject for a new and creative view.

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Tip #8: World View

When photographing kids or pets, move the camera to their eye level to capture both your subject and how they see the world.

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Tip #9: Low Light

Some cameras come equipped with low light settings.  If not, you may need to do some work to help get better low light photos.  Check to see if your camera has the option to adjust ISO speed.  If it does, try increasing it above 400 to allow more light in your image.  Additionally, if you can adjust your F Stop down this will open your shutter and allow in more light.  Using a tripod in low light can also improve your results.

**Please note that adjusting your ISO speed may result in what’s commonly referred to as noise in your image.  This gives your photo a grainy appearance and may not be the crisp image you were hoping for.

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Tip #10: Refining Your Image (Post Production)

Free editing software is available online or your computer may come equipped with its own.  This will allow you to correct and refine your photo without a photography degree.  Key features include: cropping, straightening, saturating, and retouching your image.  They often come equipped with creative options also that let you try new things, making your photo unique.

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Tip #11: Take As Many As You Like

Digital images only use memory and can easily be deleted or saved to free up space.  Click often and get lots of photos.  Even the best photographers  have  shots that don’t turn out well… and sometimes you’ll be surprised with some that exceed your expectations.  Like many skills, improving your photography requires lots and lots of practice.

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Tip #12: Have Fun

Get creative, find your own style, and most importantly have fun!  Photography is about capturing life’s moments and preserving life’s memories.  Even photos that “didn’t quite turn out the way you wanted” can still carry significant sentimental value when looking back years later.

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Photo Tips written by Jeremy Shugars, LEAH Media & Communications