Ten Tips to Taking Better Pictures

With the holidays just around the corner, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to capture memorable moments with your camera. Whether it’s the family gathering together for Thanksgiving and some football, the kids having a snowball fight or the dog getting into the fruitcake, you’ll want your digital camera ready to get those great shots. Here’s how you can take better pictures in a snap.

1. Say no to “cheese.”
When you force your photo subjects to say “cheese,” you often get those awkward, forced smiles. In the article Top 10 Photo Taking Tips, TopTenREVIEWS™ recommends before you snap the photo, to say something quirky and different to your subjects instead. A funny little rhyme or quick joke they’re not expecting can often get the natural smiles going.

2. Use the rule of thirds.
Digital Photography School suggests this photography fundamental that can really make an impact: the rule of thirds. Find your image, then imagine it divided into thirds horizontally and vertically, much like a tic-tac-toe grid. Place the more important elements of your shot where the lines intersect, or consider aligning elements along the imaginary lines.

3. Consider the background.
The background shouldn’t detract attention away from your subject. Avoid cluttered backgrounds and go for something simple so the focus stays on your subject. Also, make sure you’re not capturing strange illusions such as trees that appear to be sprouting from your subject, or passing birds or objects in the background that may look like they’re sitting on your subject’s head.

4. Go vertical.
When your subject is taller than it is wide, TopTenREVIEWS™ suggests turning the camera 90 degrees to capture the subject vertically rather than horizontally, for a more optimized picture.

5. Watch the shadows.
When taking pictures outdoors, watch how the sunlight creates shadows that can affect your pictures. Strong, sunny days can put shadows on people’s faces, unlike cloudy days. Here’s a tip from Kodak—to eliminate shadows, try using your flash outdoors.

6. Find your “magic hour.”
It’s actually more like your “magic minutes.” For dramatic scenic photos, try shooting around sunrise or sunset. The colors will change as the sun continues to rise or set, so be ready to take several shots.

7. Get up close and personal.
Instead of shooting from afar, fill your frame with your photo subject. Just step up close, or use the zoom. You’ll be able to capture the little details of your subject, such as the petals on a flower or the laugh lines on grandma’s face.

8. Draw attention with leading lines.
People’s eyes naturally follow lines, so look for objects that can create lines in your pictures and have them lead toward your subject. The lines may be curved like a road, or straight like a bridge.

9. Change your perspective.
We’re all used to seeing things at our own eye level. But when you change your perspective, you’ll see a dramatic difference in your snapshots. If your subjects are pets or children, try lowering your position so you’re at their eye level. Or, lie down on the ground and shoot upward to make ordinary objects look gargantuan.

10. Capture candid opportunities.
Sometimes the photographs that capture the mood perfectly are the ones where the subjects aren’t even aware there’s a camera pointing their way. Instead of directing people to pose in your snapshots, just start snapping and you’ll capture natural lifestyle shots.

Try out these techniques or experiment with your own ideas and you’ll be able to hone your skills just in time for the holidays. And with your personal photos, you’ll be able to add a special touch to all your home printing projects. It’s easy to create personalized holiday greetings right from your desktop. Simply add your favorite photo to Avery Greeting Cards and make your holiday mail stand out with photo Address Labels. You can also enhance your scrapbook pages by printing festive photos on Avery Sticker Project Paper, and showcase your snapshots for years to come.