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Picture perfect: 8 great tips on how to improve your photography

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By Col Sim

As hobbies go, photography is fairly easy to get started with – cameras on smart phones are getting better all the time, so all you need to do is point and shoot, right? Well, not quite. Whether you’re kitted out with the latest DSLR or simply keen to take better photos on your phone, here are a few tips to take your photography to the next level…

View everything you see as a potential photo
Stop burying your eyes in your mobile phone and take notice of the world around you – you may never see things the same way again!

Wherever possible, try to avoid using the flash
A harsh light source, the flash can create unattractive reflections and cause red eye. Try photographing in the shade, or invest in a speed-light flash for your camera to bounce the flash off walls or ceilings and soften the light. Use a tripod (or any solid surface) for long exposures.

Composition is key
Decide on your main subject, and consider any other elements in the frame – will they improve the photo or create a distraction? Be aware of what is in the background and try not to overlap people – a slight step sideways can completely change the image.

Change your point of view
Get down low for children and animals or get up high for a view most others don’t usually see.

Stop shooting in auto mode
Don’t allow your camera to guess what you’re trying to achieve – read your user manual, learn the basics of aperture and shutter priority, and take control for yourself. Try to keep ISO as low as possible to avoid grainy images.

Lighting is your friend and your enemy
Strong light can create shadows, meaning the midday sun is your worst enemy. Look for soft light such as the golden hour just before sunset, or try to find a window or doorway away from direct sunlight.

When it comes to cropping, it’s better to do it in camera
Get closer to your subject if you need to, or recompose the shot. Never pinch to zoom on a mobile – you’re stretching your image, not zooming.

And finally…
Don’t hesitate – take the shot. Take as many photos as you can, and keep only the best; practice at every opportunity; photograph things you enjoy; spend time with other photographers who share your passion; take a course or join a photography club – it’s a great way to learn, meet new people and have fun.


Get connected

Col Sim Photography – [email protected]

DB Photography Club – Discovery Bay Photography Club Facebook page, [email protected]

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