How many of us once dreamed of becoming professional photographers for “National Geographic, " only to find out that we did not even know how to get the lens cap off of our cameras? And now that digital cameras are becoming more and more common, it seems that we will have to learn all over again how to take a photograph, this time with a digital camera.
Do not worry – realize that this time, you have technology on your side. You may not end up with photographs worthy of “National Geographic" status, but you will be able to get some that will look beautiful on your wall and in your photo album.
Here are some tips for taking better photographs with digital cameras: Get to know your camera. It may seem tedious, but be sure to read through your owner’s manual. Spending just an hour or two acquainting yourself with your camera will save you a lot of stress down the line. When you first get your digital camera, practice taking photos. Make sure that you know how to use it before you take it on your vacation or to your daughter’s graduation! You do not want to miss great photo opportunities because you are too busy trying to turn your camera on! Do not be shy – take as many photographs as want. Most digital cameras come with memory cards that hold a multitude of photographs – if yours does not, get an extra memory card. If you take a hundred photographs of one thing, at least one of them will turn out! Use the features on your camera! Most digital cameras have different modes for different types of photographs – night mode, landscape, portrait, macro, etc. Understand these modes, and know when to use each one. Use the LCD screen – if your digital camera has a good LCD screen, you will be able to tell almost immediately whether or not you took a good photo – if your daughter’s eyes were closed, be sure to take another one! Remember: close-ups are often more interesting than shots from a distance. You do not have to have everyone’s feet in every photo! Consider taking a photo that includes everyone from just the shoulders up. Also, if you are taking a photo of your family at the Epcot Center, for instance, realize that you do not have to fit the entire Epcot globe into your photo. If you do that, your family will look like ants in the photo and there is no reason for them to have stood in the frame in the first place. Instead, get a close-up of your family with just a small aspect of the globe in the background. Or get a photo of your family by the sign, instead. You can always use the landscape feature of your digital camera to take a photo of the entire globe, later. The subject of your photograph does not always have to be the center of your photograph! Try taking photographs with your subject slightly to the side of the frame, for instance. Be aware of lighting. Without learning too much about how lighting affects a photograph, you can still be aware of certain aspects. For instance, if the sun is setting behind your subject, your subject may turn out as a silhouette. Of course, if you try take a photo of your friend with the sunlight hitting him from the front, be aware that he will probably have to squint his eyes. If it is extremely bright out (like if you are in bright sunlight or in the snow), hold up something of a neutral color (like a dark tan bag or light gray sweatshirt) to the camera as you focus (most digital cameras focus when you push the button halfway down), then remove it before you take the photograph of your actual subject. Try new things. Do not be afraid to get down on the ground to take a photo of an object or a person from a different angle. You do not have to take all of your photos head-on. Take a photo of a sign from an angle, take a photo of the Eiffel Tower from the bottoms looking up, etc. If you are on vacation, do not get stuck taking photos of your fellow travelers standing in front of one famous, forgettable building after another. Yes, you can still take these photographs, but consider taking a photograph of your friend in front of the sign, too, so that you at least know which building it is! Also, be sure to take photographs of not just places, but of memories. For instance, be sure to get a picture of your friend’s feet as she stumbles around with a broken high heel. Take a photo of the menu from your favorite restaurant. Take photos of not just the beautiful fronts of buildings, but the graffiti-ed, trashy alleys, too. Take photographs of things that you will not see on the postcards, of things that are unique to your own personal experience! You do not need to set up every single shot. Take photos of people when they are unaware that you even have your camera out. Go ahead and take some photos of strangers, as well. One of the benefits of taking digital photographs is the fact that you can touch them up on your computer at home. Be sure to make use of this great feature. You do not need to spend your time touching up all of your photos, but definitely go through and fix up your favorites – you can straighten them, remove red eyes, brighten or darken them, and do many other things, as well. If you are unsure as to whether or not you think you would like using a digital camera, try out a disposable digital camera, first. Disposable digital cameras are also excellent for if you are going somewhere where there is the potential of breaking or losing your camera.
Anne Clarke writes numerous articles for websites on gardening, parenting, fashion, art, and home decor. Her background includes teaching and gardening. For more of her articles on digital photography and cameras, please visit Disposable Digital Cameras