6 Tips for National Photo Month

6 Tips for Taking Better Pictures for National Photo Month

I don’t really need an excuse to take pictures (I love playing with my camera), May is the perfect time to do just that because it is National Photo Month.

The camera I own is a Canon EOS 60D DSLR (affiliate link). I have 4 lenses — Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6, Sigma 50mm f/1.4, and Sigma 50mm f/2.8 Macro — and I love playing with all of them. Don’t know what all of those numbers mean? Don’t be intimidated! It took me taking classes from a wonderful, professional photographer to get comfortable with them.

You can have fun and take wonderful pictures without knowing all of those details. Once you get hooked though, you will probably want to learn more. For now though, you can use these tips and ideas to take amazing pictures using whatever camera you have… Even the camera on your cell phone!

1 – The one thing you should know is that photography is all about lighting. In fact, the word photograph actually comes from two Greek words: photo means ‘light’ and graph means ‘drawing’. When you are photographing something, you are drawing with light. If you are taking pictures inside, try to avoid using your flash. More times than not, a flash will make your subject too bright and can also cause harsh shadows. If at all possible, try to put your subject in natural light when you are inside by having them sit or stand so the light from a window shines on them. Not their back though… They should be facing the window. You don’t want the sunlight to be too bright thought; in fact, the best time to actually take pictures outside is on a cloudy day! If you are trying to take pictures on a sunny day, try to take them in the morning or late afternoon. If that isn’t possible, try to find a lightly shaded area. Play around with different places and situation! After all, this is how we learn…

2 – When you are playing around with different places and situations, play around with different angles. While instinct usually wants us to stand eye-to-eye with the subject and take their picture, try something a little more unique. You can squat down in front of your subject or use a chair or ladder to stand above them. You can also stand off to one side or the other. When you snap a photo, try to keep the Rule of Thirds in mind when you frame up your subject in the viewfinder.

3 – While you are moving around your subject, pay attention to what is behind them because whatever is behind them will also end up in your photo. You certainly don’t want to end up with something boring or unattractive in the background — or an unintentional photobomb. If you don’t like the background you can move your subject, move yourself, or even just zoom in closer with your shot.

4 – Speaking of zooming in closer with your shot, some of the best shots are when your subject fills the entire frame. Again, experiment with different shots and have fun. Take a picture from several feet away and then take another one close-up and compare them to see which you like better.

5 – No matter if you are zooming in or out, focusing on your subject is very important. It will give you a clear, crisp picture. Most cameras have automatic focus — use it! Learn how to get your camera to focus before it takes the shot. For example, with my digital camera I have to push down the shutter button half way to get it to focus. Many cameras use this same technique. Sometimes you can get blurry shots if you move at all while taking the picture. If this is the case (it happens to me all the time!) try to steady your camera by holding it with two hands, lean against something, brace the camera against something, or use a tri-pod.

6 – If your camera allows you, set it to burst mode. This allows you to take several pictures, one right after the other. I like using this setting especially with kids and animals because you have a better chance of getting an amazing shot. it is also great for sporting events.

When taking pictures, be patient with yourself and keep on practicing… Practice makes perfect! Take your camera everywhere you go and look for photo opportunities. I bet it won’t take long until you are wanting to learn more about what all of those numbers and letters related to my camera mean.

Copyright: paha_l / 123RF Stock Photo

Disclosure: As noted above, this post contains an affiliate link. See my disclosure policy for details.

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