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5 Quick Ways To Instantly Improve Your Photography
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In recent years camera phones and digital cameras have made photography more popular than ever, but if you find that the ease of digital has not made the quality of your image making improve, observing these 5 easy steps will help lift the standard of your photography instantly.
Tip #1. Turn 90 degrees!
No, not you, the camera. Most amateur snappers hold their cameras in the standard, horizontal fashion, which means all their pictures end up in the standard, horizontal format. But if you are photographing a tall building, a single tree, or a small group of friends, for example, turning the camera so the picture format is upright (or portrait format as it is known) can instantly improve the composition.
Tip #2. Split the screen into 3's.
There is a basic rule of composition, used in all the visual arts, called the Rule of Thirds. If your camera allows you to overlay a grid on screen or in the viewfinder, this can be a great aid to using the rule for quality composition, but even if you don't have this feature simply imagine 2 horizontal lines and 2 vertical lines evenly spaced and dividing the viewing screen into 9 'blocks'. Where the horizontal and vertical lines cross is one of the thirds. If you place the main feature of the subject (perhaps a person's eyes, or a single tree on the horizon) at one of these intersections, it will instantly lift your composition. Another tip is to place the horizon on one of the horizontal lines, rather than having it smack bang through the middle of the picture. Give it a try, you'll be impressed.
Tip #3. Keep it clean.
This sounds an obvious point, but do keep the front of the lens clean, but never remove dust from the lens using the end of your finger. This will simply leave a greasy mark that will spoil sharp detail in the photograph. Sometimes that's a pretty effect, but only when you want it.
Tip #4. Keep the light imaginative.
A subject with little contrast between dark and light areas, or little colour, will be naturally flat, and this is made even worse when photographed under an overcast sky. Try to make the lighting more imaginative and you'll instantly lift a mediocre shot into something special. For example, if photographing a portrait, have the person stand side on to a brightly lit window, and the side lighting will instantly make their features stand out (although they may not always welcome that!).
Tip #5. Watch out for weird growths!
When photographing a scene, especially including people, it is very easy to only concentrate on the immediate subject. But take a moment to check what's in the background, so that people don't have lampposts sticking or similar out of their heads!
With digital, one of the biggest benefits is being able to review a photograph instantly, so if it is an important shot, take a moment to check that you've followed all 5 tips above and you'll start to improve your photography instantly. And the good news is that after a while these techniques become increasingly automatic, and you soon have people referring to you as a natural born photographer. Happy snapping!
James Fowler is a copywriter specialising in creative subjects ranging from photographic art to audio books.
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