3 Ways to Make Your Photographs Even Better

Camera by potzuyoko on Flickr

A few great photography tips from guest author Jared Jaureguy.

These days, it seems like cameras are designed to do all of the heavy lifting for you. They autofocus, automatically remove red eye, and determine whether or not to use the flash based on ambient light levels. However, even though today’s digital cameras are smarter and more advanced than ever before, they still rely on you to locate and capture those moments that deserve to be immortalized on film. To put it another way, all of the technology in the world can’t help you if you don’t have an eye for photography. But don’t worry; there are two ways to acquire talent: you can be born with it, or you can learn it. Here are three tips on how to improve your photographs, even if your artistic side leaves something to be desired.

1. Learn how to capture a moment

When we encounter something, there is so much more to the experience than the image that reflects into our eyes. Seeing a famous historical landmark is a noteworthy event because it allows us to bridge the gap between the years and actually connect on an emotional level with something that changed the course of the world. The festivities surrounding a wedding are filled with joy and beauty, but they also hide the bitter-sweet pain of the end of a lifestyle and the apprehension associated with the beginning of another. When you take photos, you should be looking to capture more than just a frozen picture of how everything looked in that moment; you should try to capture the feeling of the experience. Choose a subject that has some connection to the environment. Take candid photos of their interaction with other subjects, and try to use your camera to tell a story. As with most art, it’s important to know that you’ll probably go through dozens of images that just don’t work before you get the perfect shot, so keep snapping pictures and be patient.

Cheese by dbbent on flickr

2. Consider lighting

Lighting is the most important element in any picture. In fact, the word photography literally means “drawing with light.” So before you click the shutter, take a moment and make note of the lighting in your image. Where is the strongest light source? If it’s directly behind the subject, you’ll end up with a silhouette. If it’s behind the camera but is too strong, your subject’s features may end up looking washed out (and if your subject is a person, they could end up squinting and ruining the photo). Lighting from directly above or below a subject will result in strange shadows, which can make for some interesting pictures if that’s what you’re after. Generally, you’ll get best results with soft, diffused lighting, such as at sunrise, sunset, or on a cloudy day. If you’re shooting inside, consider covering light sources with a sheet to reduce the harshness. Of course, high contrast can sometimes improve certain pictures and help tell a story, so be sure to experiment to discover what’s right for any particular photo.

3. Fix it with software

The best thing about digital photography is how simple it is to manipulate. Once you have your favorite pictures, download some photo editing software and set to work enhancing your image. Photo editors allow you to play with colors, contrast, and lighting. They also provide you with tools that can be used to remove blemishes, sharpen areas that may be slightly out of focus, and even remove entire undesired elements. With some practise, you’ll be able to turn your amatuer photographs into vibrant, professional level images that really shine.

So if your pictures aren’t turning out the way you want them to, don’t give up. With a few tips and a lot of practice, you’ll be able to be proud of the images that end up on your memory card. After all, the modern camera is designed to take care of the hard stuff for you; all you have to do is point and click.

Images from flickr.com used under Creative Commons license. Image credits: potzuyoko and dbbent.

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One Response to 3 Ways to Make Your Photographs Even Better

  1. Michelle F. says:

    great tips. need all the help I can get.

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