Taking a digital picture is very simple but obtaining a great picture is a complicated task. Have you wondered what is the difference between a great photographer and a beginner photographer? The main difference, in my opinion, is that a good photographer thinks the picture through before pressing the button. Then he or she uses all those manual features of their camera and they keep touching buttons…it feels like they take forever before they take that picture. The reason is very simple…getting a great picture is a complicated task. On the other hand, I believe that there are some simple steps that can can result in great pictures. Granted, these steps will not put you in the professional category but they can improve your photography greatly.
Why another list about taking better photos?
It is true that the web is full of lists about improving your photo taking skills like this one. I’m pretty sure that you can find similar information on other sites but most of the times you really need a list that is short and to the point. Tuus, I have compiled my own list of simple steps for taking better photos everyday. I have personally seen great improvement in my own photos after implementing these tips.
5 easy steps that will help you take better photos everyday
These tips are very simple and they are definitely not exhaustive. There is a lot more to great photos than these tips but these are simple for everyone to learn and do. The results can be dramatic. These are the things that I do most of the times and I get pretty good results even though I’m not a great photographer.
1. Place your subject on the side, not in the middle
This is referred by photographers as the rule of thirds. This means that you place your subject in a third of the viewfinder like top left or top right or bottom left or bottom right of the viewfinder. The key here is not to place the subject in the middle. This is especially true when you want to capture the background.
2. Come close to your subject
The key here is that you have to decide what the purpose of your picture is. If your purpose is to show landscape then the people in the picture should be small and in a corner. If on the other hand your purpose is to show people then come close to their faces rather than getting the whole body. Pictures that show a person full size that covers the picture top to bottom are mostly useless and boring. You have to decide before shooting the picture…people or background? They’re showing neither the person (because you can’t really see the face) nor the background (because it’s covered by the person). The picture becomes a lot more dramatic when you come close to your subject or very far from your subject so you can show the background. So don’t be afraid to come close to your subject even though you will not be capturing their entire body.
3. Use the flash even if it’s sunny outside
This is usually called fill-in flash. If your subject is in the shade or wearing a cap turn on your flash…you will be pleasantly surprised. A sunny day can create very harsh shadows on your subjects’ faces. In this case just by turning on your camera’s flash you can get rid of these shades and get much better results.
4. Turn off the flash around sunset time and indoor
This is a little more difficult because if your subject is moving then the picture will turn out blurry. On the other hand, if your subject is not moving…like a city scene or a sunset at the ocean will come out great without the flash. Actually, if you use the flash in these cases you will be very disappointed.
5. Don’t be afraid to use a camera mode different than automatic
Almost any mode other then automatic will allow you to change the ISO setting which will make a big difference especially when shooting in low light. The ISO setting represents how sensitive is your camera’s sensor to light. The higher the ISO setting the more sensitive it is to light. This means essentially that you can compensate for the lack of light by increasing the ISO setting without using the flash.
Essentials for organizing your digital photosOver the years I have come to rely on only a few products for managing and backing up my large media collection. These are my essential products and services I have been using for many years to keep things organized and safe. Even though these are affiliate links, I wholeheartedly recommend them.
I recommend using Adobe Lightroom Classic CC via the annual Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Lightroom has excellent photo editing capabilities. Yes, Lightroom has a steeper learning curve as you have to learn to keep your catalogs in sync with your hard drive. However, Adobe Lightroom makes most sense especially when you do lots of image editing.
If you don't like the subscription, you can get also download the last standalone Adobe Lightroom 6 for Mac or Windows (while it is still available). However, the product is no longer maintained by Adobe.
Excellent Lightroom and Picasa alternative. If you're looking for a cheaper and simpler photo manager then ACDSee Photo Studio for Mac or ACDSee Pro for Windows is my preferred solution for organizing your media on your computer. It has a very fast browser, beautiful image editing capabilities and you don't work with catalogs at all.
In addition, make sure you have an inexpensive and reliable external hard drive for backing everything up. It is absolutely essential for backing up your media regularly.
If you're looking for a reliable unlimited cloud backup service, I recommend Backblaze Cloud Backup. I have used Backblaze for my online backup for more than 3 years now. All my files are safe and secure and I have never had any problems with them.