eTalk extra: Five Simple Steps to Taking Better Digital Pictures

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Digital cameras have made the use of traditional film cameras almost a thing of the past. Following five simple steps when you’re using even a simple point-and-shoot digital camera will go a long way in helping you take first-class pictures to share, print, and enjoy:

1. Learn when to use a flash

Don’t just rely on your camera’s automatic flash to tell you when and when not to use a flash. As a rule of thumb, you turn the flash on for indoor pictures, and off for outdoor pictures. But like any rule of thumb, there are exceptions: for example, using the flash outside can take better pictures in the shade or on an overcast day, while turning off the flash for well-lit indoor shots will help eliminate unnatural skin tones.

2. Hold the camera still

Because most digital cameras have an LCD screen on the back, there is less need to use the optical viewfinder. This leads budding photographers to hold the camera away from their face when taking a picture, which can result in a less secure grip and blurry pictures. Consider investing in a mini tripod. You’ll be surprised how often you end up using it.

3. Frame your shot

The main subject of your image should take up a good portion of the photo area. Use your zoom function, or simply move closer to the subject to eliminate unnecessary background space. If you’re taking an outside shot, make sure the horizon is straight in the background.

4. Experiment with pre-sets

Many digital cameras have pre-sets for taking shots in challenging conditions. While they’re not always perfect, they’re designed to take better pictures than just pointing and shooting. Common pre-sets include “Nighttime,” “Dawn/dusk,” “Beach,” “Portrait,” and “Motion/Action.”

5. Keep extra storage handy

Carry extra storage media with your camera. This will give you plenty of space for additional pictures, which allows you to take your photos at a higher resolution, resulting in better quality image to print and share.

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2 thoughts on “eTalk extra: Five Simple Steps to Taking Better Digital Pictures

  1. Thanks for the suggestions; I especially like the reminder to experiment with the presets, and Paul’s suggestion to not necessarily zoom in, but to crop later. Another example of experimenting to see what works best. Maybe take two shots, one zoomed and one not, if the timing allows. As a result of a new business I started, I only recently realized how much fun photography is and am about to take a class to maximize my fun! Thanks for the starter pointers.

  2. This is in response to comment # 3, “Frame Your Shot.”

    It has been my experience that much better pictures result from not using your zoom to frame the shot at the time you take the photo. Doing this denies one of the major advanatges of digital photography, the ability to use the camera in the first step of the editing process. If you take the picture without using the zoom, the camera will capture all of the detail around your image. Then, you can look for a better composition or a better image within all of that captured detail. You do this by zooming in on the image captured by the camera and moving to either side of the image at different zoom points. Every digital image captured by the camera may have 5 or 6 excellent images within that total image.

    I usually find several very good pictures that I want to save within all that the camera has captured. For example I have tried, for years, to capture a good portrait of a nephew but he always looks posed and ill at ease. However, I found his image in a group photo where he was relaxed and natrual looking and by zooming in on just him I finally have a good portrait.

    The next point of editing can then be done once the whole image is in your computer as there are a great many software sets that allow you to crop and correct what you have taken.

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