You don't need an expensive camera to get quality photos of everyday life.
So you bought a decent point-and-shoot camera, but you're not happy with the photos you end up with. Then you give up and don't take any pictures at all. Get that camera back out and try some of these simple tips.
Here’s a classic problem. You’re having a birthday party in the backyard. It’s bright and sunny; you couldn't ask for a better day. You take a bunch of photos of your son opening his presents at the patio table while enjoying the shade of the umbrella. Later, you review the photos to find your son dark and underexposed, while the background is bright and overpowering the shot.
Know your settings
Your camera adjusted its settings for the bright background that takes up most of the shot, leaving your son in the dark. Instead of having your flash set to AUTO, change it to ON. In AUTO mode, the camera does not see the need for the flash because of the bright background. When you set it to ON, the camera will flash, lighting up the subject. The camera settings will adjust automatically giving you a great photo. Another time to have the flash ON instead of AUTO is when the sun or other light is behind the subject. Try it, and you’ll see the difference.
No matter what camera you have, this is an easy tip. So you see something you want to take a picture of, you point at it and shoot. And now you have a picture, or what I like to call a snap shot.
Change your perspective
Instead of just pointing and shooting, get closer or further away from the person or object. Get really close -- you don't have to have the entire head in the shot. Yes, you can cut off part of someone's head. Get close on the face and really capture the expression.
You can also stand really far back and get the whole subject and the surrounding setting. This will really put the person in the scene. For example, if someone is standing in front of a lake, get the whole lake in the shot. Another idea is to get down on the ground or up really high so that you can shoot from different angles rather than straight on. By getting creative with your composition of the shot, you’ll create a great photo instead of a snapshot.
Shoot first, ask questions later
One of my rules I use for posing people is that I don't. People always ask me, “How should we stand?” I tell them to figure it out. Then I adjust them as needed. This always works and keeps me from getting the same pose every time. The professionals always want you to be positioned in a very specific way. I'd rather see what you come up with and then adjust you as needed to get the best shot. Otherwise, you get shots that just don't have the vibe of the subject. Usually while doing this we end up laughing and creating real smiles to capture, which works a lot better than the 1-2-3-smiles.
So get your digital camera out and take some pictures, then take some more. It's not like you're going to run out of film. Take 10 to 20 pictures instead of just that one. Then you can pick the best and delete the rest later. If you're at a party or event and have responsible children, give them the camera and you’ll get some interesting shots from another perspective.
And make sure you having fun taking pictures.
About this Angie's List Expert: Tony Drago runs Photos by Tony Drago, a professional photography business in the St. Louis area.
As of May 10, 2013, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.