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How to Take Better Photos-1: Tips and Examples

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First----How Point and Shoot Cameras Work

HP Pocket size like mine.
It always amazes me how many people do not understand the basics of how a auto focus camera works, so we will start with that. When you aim the camera at a subject, a little beam of light shoots out and hits the subject and bounces back to the camera. When it bounces back, the brain in the camera uses the amount of time that it takes and various other factors to determine what kinds of adjustments to make automatically for that particular photo. This is why your camera will have a little rectangle in the center of the scene when you look through the viewfinder. You are suppose to center this [   ] around what it is that you want the camera to focus on most clearly.

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better--photos-bham-couple.jpg (6538 bytes)Now if you want to take a photo of two people and you want them centered in the frame, and that puts a space of background in the [   ] here is what you do to get the camera to have the people in focus. On most cameras, you start by positioning the [    ] on one of the subjects and press the shutter half way down and hold it…..then move the camera slightly while still holding the shutter half way down to compose the photo as you want it and then press the shutter the rest of the way down to take the picture. This way the camera is ‘locked in’ for optimized focus on your subjects even though the little rectangle is now located between their heads and maybe even on some mountains in the distance.



  • A good photo translates the emotion and the sense of ‘being there’ that you felt at the time as well as recording the basic facts. Since you are creating a captured moment in only two dimensions read some of the ways you can improve your compositions.
  • A great place to start is to eliminate confusing and irrelevant elements. Think of the times you have taken a photo of loved ones sitting on the sofa, only to find later that the photograph also included laundry to be folded and scattered toys.
  • When you take a photo, you have two important decisions—what to include and when to press the button. Good composition usually means simplifying your photo—usually by changing your viewpoint. To do this you move higher, lower or side-to-side. More on this to come.
  • Composition also includes decisions about lighting—the direction of and the quality and/or quantity of light. More on this later.
  • Outdoors: Ladies and long hair dudes, watch for blowing hair. It is easy for strands of hair to get in front of the lens when you are taking outdoor photos on a breezy day. I know, it has happened to me many times.

Page 1.............................................Continue on to composition, lighting, backgrounds and example photographs...

How to Take Better Photos
Continue....Page 2
, Page 3, Page 4
Vacation Photo Tips
Quilt Photo Tips

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