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Six Simple Steps to Better Photos

Tim Coulon

Tim Coulon

With Facebook, Instagram, Pintrest and texting, we seem to live in a photo-based world. Everyone seems to have some type of camera on them at all times and are taking photos as fast as they can press the shutter.


So, I have compiled six simple steps to better photos. Utilizing these techniques will also help get you to feel more comfortable with photography.


1. First, get to know your camera.

Your camera is your friend. Go through the basic settings while reading your camera manual. If it’s a smartphone camera, just tap the different features to get a basic understanding of what they are and what they do. Knowing the basic camera features such as zoom, flash and focus will help you in making faster decisions when you’re ready to actually take a photo.


2. Set the correct resolution.

Make sure you set the camera to the right resolution BEFORE you start taking photos. Nothing is more frustrating than finding out you have set your resolution too low knowing you can’t go back and retake the photo. My rule of thumb is to have the resolution set to the highest setting possible. You can always shrink the photo in digital imaging software, such as Photoshop, but enlarging a low-res image rarely yields good results. The files may be larger, but I’d rather have a good photo to work with than a poor one.


3. Look at what you’re shooting.

Before you take the photo, assess the situation. When inside, don’t put people up against a wall. Don’t have them stand directly under a really bright light. Remember the flash only helps up to about eight feet. When outside, don’t have them face the harsh sunlight. Don’t have the sun directly behind them, unless you want their silhouette. Move around and think about the photo before you shoot. Then look at the shot and retake if necessary. Change positions to avoid trees or poles looking like they are growing out of heads. Watch out for distracting backgrounds. Just remember you are trying to capture a moment to remember. Take a few extra seconds to make it a good photo.


4. Take horizontal photos.

Humans were created with one eye next to the other, not on top of one another. Landscape photos ALWAYS look better than vertical ones. Try to ONLY take vertical photos when you are looking at the Eiffel Tower, flagpole or a basketball player. Trust me on this one.


5. Make the shot more interesting.

When you look through the camera’s viewfinder, try to understand the photo will look better if the main subject is off-center within the viewfinder. Try these simple steps: Look through the viewfinder to see the subject; move the camera so the subject is to the left or right of center; depending on camera type, focus on the subject; hold steady and press the shutter button. Now, retake the photo and put the subject in the center. Review both photos, and my guess is the off-center subject will look more appealing. Here’s another tip: try tilting the camera just a bit when taking the photo. Depending on the subject, you may like the photo you get. And don’t be afraid to get close to the subject. Sometimes trying to fill the frame with your subject can make a great photo.


6. Focus, focus, focus.

Nothing, I repeat, nothing is worse than a blurry photo. Learn how your camera focuses and memorize it. DLSR cameras focus by pressing halfway on the shutter button. Focusing on most smartphones is done by tapping the screen on what you want to be in focus.


Remember, Coles Marketing provides photography, videography, editing and retouching services to help enhance your brand if you have professional-level needs.


In closing, one of my favorite websites, TheOatmeal.com, has a funny bit on photos that I would like to share (http://theoatmeal.com/comics/photos).


Now go take some (better) photos!


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