Beginner Photography Guidelines to Take Better Pictures

Follow these great beginner photography tips if you have ever seen a great photograph and wondered, "What makes that picture stand out? Why don't my photographs look like that?"

What is it that makes a photograph special? We're usually inclined to think it is the main subject in the photograph. Maybe the photographer was just lucky to find such a great subject and to quickly capture it on film. That happens, to be sure. But more often, a good photo is the result of knowing what to look for, planning in advance, and experience.

For example, you have likely seen a really fantastic football or basketball photo in a sports magazine. Consider the fact that the vast majority of sports photos are bad, even unusable. Why? Because in fast-moving sports, even with automatic exposure and auto-focus capabilities, the camera cannot plan a photograph or be at the right place at the right time to capture a winning photograph. A sports photographer has to know how to follow the action, how to use the camera's settings for the given conditions and, most important, how to use a few simple guidelines to plan for a good photograph.

You can likewise improve your own photographs, using any kind of camera, by following these three basic guidelines:

  1. The picture should have a specific theme or subject. The photograph says something to the viewer, and this message is clear and unambiguous. Maybe the photo tells a story or maybe it invokes an emotion. Clarify what the theme or the subject will be, and plan for the viewer to see that person or object or story immediately.

  2. The picture should focus attention on your subject. The viewer sees the subject first, and the subject immediately invokes an emotion or theme or idea without distraction or allowing the mind to wander. There are many techniques for drawing the eye to the subject, such as compositional placement, selective focus, framing, size emphasis, motion and converging lines.

  3. The picture should simplify. Only elements that draw the eye to the subject are included; everything else is eliminated or diminished. This means moving closer to the subject, selectively focusing on the subject or finding other ways to remove distracting elements from within the frame. I have been known to step into the frame and physically remove an offending item.

Think about these three simple guidelines every time you snap a picture, and you will begin to see great improvement in your photography. For example, you want to photograph your child on a sunny day in a field of wildflowers. Your first inclination might be to back up several yards away from the child, place her in the center of the frame, ask her to smile and snap the picture. Unfortunately, the resulting photograph will likely be mediocre or even disappointing in quality. Problems could include being too far from the subject, a posey expression, deep shadows across the face or a boring composition.

Use the basic guidelines to improve your photo. First, what is the subject or the theme? For a child in a field of flowers, what will you say about the child? What is the theme? Is it a fantasy world, the beauty of nature or childlike innocence? How will you focus on the subject? Consider allowing the child to explore the field, picking and examining flowers. Take candid photos. Move in close. Photograph the child from all angles, even from behind as she romps through the flowers. Place her off-center. Use selective focus to frame her with out-of-focus flowers at the top and bottom of the frame. Watch the background for distractions. Don't be afraid to go through an entire roll of film or take a substantial series of digital photographs.

Herein lies another truth about creating a great photograph. No matter how well-planned they are, not every photograph will be "the one." Consider the sports photographer we discussed earlier. He will expose several rolls of film or create large digital photo files from which to choose that one winning shot that will published on the sports page. Most of the rest will be discarded. Likewise, when you see your final pictures, one of them will likely stand out above all the rest. Celebrate, and don't focus on your less-successful efforts.

Begin using these guidelines now to greatly enhance your ability to see a great photo in the making. Soon you will find yourself producing high-quality photographic work that you can be proud of.

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If you want to improve your photos, follow some useful tips for taking digital photography. When you're composing your photos, your goal is to draw attention on the subject you're photographing; start by playing with subject's position, the structural elements surrounding it, lighting, even your focus.

With the digital age comes digital everything, including cameras, and because of this, it is a lot less expensive and time consuming to take photos now than it was before the digital camera.
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One might ask what photography is. What is the purpose of taking a photograph? For some, just a simple snap shot will do but, for others, there is more of a destiny to experience in the photograph.

Kids love to take pictures, so improving their family photography skills is a great idea. Most children find cameras and photography fascinating, often asking for a camera at a very young age. Fortunately, there are plenty of beginner cameras that are inexpensive, sturdy, and easy to use.

You don't need sophisticated camera equipment to take better digital pictures, you just need to follow a few basic guidelines for distance and light and be willing to take several shots to better the chances of getting the one you want.

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