Great technology doesn't necessarily make for great pictures. Guest blogger Daniela Bowker of the photography website Photocritic highlights five things to think about before you point and click
1. Where's the light coming from?
Photography means "drawing with light", so it's important to know where the light is coming from and what type it is. The following might help:
Light also has a temperature, depending on its source and – if it's the sun – the time of day. Different temperatures can render colours differently, and while our eyes are good at correcting for it, our cameras aren't. Consequently, your pictures can end up looking a bit blue (cool) or red (warm). It's easy to fix this: look for the "white balance" or "warmth'" setting in any editing package, and move the slider around until the colour looks normal.
2. Think about subject placement
It might seem counter-intuitive, but positioning your subject bang-smack in the centre of a rectangular frame doesn't do it many favours. You're much better off putting it to one side. And try to avoid having horizons run through the centre of the frame.
Square crops are a little different. Centering subjects can work a treat with these, and they're great for symmetrical shots.
3. Get close. No, even closer!
Very often, people include far too much superfluous detail in their photos and not enough of what's important. Get as close as you can to your subject. Fill the frame with it. Make the person looking at the photo feel as if they can reach into the frame and touch its focal point.
A quick word of warning, though. Digital zoom sucks. Optical zoom is awesome. If you only have digital zoom on your camera, get closer to your subject physically. The photos will be better.
4. Hold steady
Unless you're using a fairly fast shutter speed, it's easy for photos to come out anywhere between a little bit soft or a complete streak of blur owing to camera shake. You need to keep steady. There are lots of camera support devices out there, from huge tripods to little keyring-sized stands, and many of them are affordable. It's always a good idea to hold your elbows close into your sides and lean on something for support.
5. What's the story?
Every photo needs a story. You're trying to induce a smile of recognition in the viewer. I said this in my previous post on this blog but it bears repeating: before you shoot, ask yourself what you're trying to say. If you're not sure, hold off until you know. Your photo will be better for it.
Learn more on the importance of story