6 Steps to Taking Better Photos

After my last camera class, one of the students asked me about a photo challenge.  She wanted a way to practice her new skills and to keep improving!  Wow!

So I decided to start writing monthly about how everyone can improve their photography.  Whether it’s everyday moments with the kids or a nature walk or going out for ice cream, these moments are precious and part of the fabric of our being!

So we start today!  Join me on this journey…wherever it takes us…


Here are a few tips to get us started:

1. The “Rule of Thirds”:  It creates a better picture when your main subject is not right in the center. In your minds eye, divide your photo into thirds (either horizontally or vertically), and place your main subject on one of the third lines dividing your picture. You’ll be amazed at the different feel you’ll capture by not having your subject exactly in the middle! 
2. Draw Attention to Subject:  Try to draw the viewer’s eye to the subject of the picture by using other objects, such as a fence row or a road. If you use other objects properly, the viewers eye will unconsciously follow those objects, and be drawn to your subject. 
3. Watch Your Lighting:  Avoid using flash, as it creates harsh shadows and “red eyes” in people and animals.  Also, try to shoot with the light behind you.  If the light is behind the subject, you will get a shadowy “backlit” effect that often throws off the whole picture. 
4. Pay Attention to the Background:  We’ve all seen pictures with an ugly dump truck in the background, or a pole sticking out of your subjects head! Glance at the background before taking a picture, and either move subjects or move in closer to eliminate things in the background that may be unsightly or distracting! 
5. Get in Close:  Too many snapshots are filled with the background and the subject is lost.  While the scenery is beautiful, the most important thing you’ll want to see a few years from now are those missing teeth and crazy freckles.  Don’t be afraid to get up close and personal, that’s where all the important stuff is! 
6. Keep Shooting:  The best way to improve your photography is to keep shooting! Especially with the cost-effectiveness of digital cameras, play with different lighting and poses until you figure it all out… your family historian will thank you for it! 
Family Craft: Clothesline Photo Gallery 
Is your fridge lost under a mound of photographs and artwork?  Kitchen drawers stuffed with envelopes from the photo lab waiting to be sorted and displayed? This clothesline gallery is a simple concept that can make the art displays easier and fun! 
Choose an area of the wall about 4 feet long to hang your gallery.  Hammer two nails, one on each end of the space, about 5 feet above ground, with about half of the nail still visible.  Tie a cute ribbon or thin rope to each end, fairly tight but not completely stiff.  Use clothespins to hang photographs and children’s artwork on your clothesline, making it a weekly ritual to clear the line and refresh the gallery… keeping you free of clutter and your walls an active work of art! 
Find me on Pinterest to see an example of the Clothesline Photo Gallery
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