Below are some easy to apply tips for improving the quality of your pictures:
- Fill the frame: Zoom in or move in close so that your subject fills most of the frame in your viewfinder. This will result in an image that not only feels more intimate but also has fewer distractions in the background to take away from your subject. Getting up close will also reveal more detail.
- Watch the background: Make sure there are no distracting objects behind your subject when you compose your image. There is nothing worse than taking a great picture of a friend or relative only to find out they have appear to have a pole or tree growing from their head.
- Follow the rule of thirds: As you look through your camera’s viewfinder, imagine there are lines dividing the image into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, essentially dividing your image into nine equal-shaped blocks. Frame your subject at one of the intersection points of these lines instead of in the center of the viewfinder. At the very least, avoid placing your subject right in the center of your pictures. Simply placing your subject near one of the corners and a bit in will result in more interesting pictures. When taking closeups, you should try to place your subject’s eyes so that they are about a third of the way in from the top. When taking pictures of landscapes, the horizon line should be about a third of the way in from either the top or the bottom.
- You may need to lock focus when taking your pictures if you want to place your subject off-center. This is done by focusing on your subject, pressing and holding the shutter button halfway down, then moving your camera to compose the picture before you press the shutter button all the way down to finish taking the picture.
- Use flash only when necessary : Try to use natural light, such as from an open window, whenever possible. Flash tends to wash out the detail in your pictures. When taking pictures outdoors, the best time is either early in the morning or in the late afternoon. If you must take pictures of people during the middle of the day, when the sun is at its most intense, at least find a nicely shaded area. Otherwise your subjects may have to squint a lot. Cloudy days are also good for taking pictures outdoors by providing nice soft light with few shadows.
- Sometimes you may need to use your flash while taking pictures outdoors. In that case flash can be used to avoid shadows in your picture (this is known as fill flash). Flash is also needed when your subject is backlit (the light source is behind the subject). Unless you use flash in that situation, your camera may only capture a silhouette.