Learn what I believe to be the first two steps to taking better pictures, and they have nothing to do with the quality of
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Many times, improving your pictures has nothing to do with buying a new higher quality camera. And even though a few minor changes in your camera settings and how you use the camera to take pictures and help as well, I’ll talk more about that in other guides.
I think the first two steps in taking better pictures are choosing a more interesting angle from which to shoot and focusing more on the composition of the picture. Let’s begin with perspective. Choosing a new and interesting angle or perspective can make all the difference in the world. I know sometimes that it’s not possible. And if the shot is for documentation purposes, then who really cares. But for many pictures, thinking ahead and looking for the right perspective will help. When I look for the right angle from which to shoot, I’m usually looking for a picture that will have depth which means having something in the foreground and something in the background. The subject may be in either of these, or as you can see here, in both. Creating that sense of depth will make your pictures more interesting and it’s very easy to do.
Here’s an example of a waterfall. I made sure to have a foreground but the bridge cuts across the composition and it’s very distracting. On the other side of the bridge was this great log that’s barely visible from the first picture, but from this angle, it creates this leading lines that dry your eye right into the waterfall. It also gets me that foreground that I need to create that sense of depth. The ground will always make for a decent foreground like in this picture. As opposed to standing up and taking the shot from above, I kneeled down to get that sense of depth. The shot does have some other problems though, for example, the statue that looks like it’s balancing on the subject’s head. Learn from my mistakes and be aware of the background in your pictures. Simply changing the angle a little could’ve helped a lot. The same thing here, I used the ground to provide the depth and the subject’s footprints as a line leading to the subject.
Now that you’re creating a sense of depth in your pictures, the second step is composition. A good rule to keep in mind when composing an image is the rule of thirds. Another important thing to keep in mind is that it’s perfectly okay to break the rule of thirds when necessary. So what is the rule of thirds? Imagine gridlines over the frame and simply place your subject either where the lines intersect or on the line itself. Here is a quick tip for travelers, when taking that picture of your friend and the magnificent landscape behind them, it don’t have to be so far away. Have them stand closer to the camera and place them on one side of the picture so the background isn’t split in half. This may also be a great opportunity for a panoramic picture. This way, you can still recognize your friend and capture the landscape.
Most digital cameras give the option of displaying these gridlines on the LCD screen. Usually, this feature is located in the main menu. With this shot, the flower is the subject and the background just gives a sense of location. Also with portraits, a person’s eyes, should not be in the center of the frame, instead towards the top third. If the subject is facing one side or the other, place them closer to the opposite side. If it’s a close up you’re after, don’t be afraid to cut off the person’s forehead in order to keep the eyes on the third gridline.
I allow myself to break the rule of thirds most often with landscapes. The rule implies that the horizon should be aligned with one of the gridlines depending on what’s more interesting, the land or the sky. However, I like using the horizon as an anchor and really filling up most of the frame with the subject. So to sum up, look for angles that provide a sense of depth and keep the rule of thirds in your mind, but don’t be afraid to push this rule around a bit in order to fill your frame with what is most interesting.
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