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How to Shoot Better Digital Photos

Updated on July 26, 2013

Whether you have a basic digital pocket camera like a point and shoot, or an expensive SLR (single lens reflex) with all the bells and whistles, a digital camera is only as good as the person taking the picture. If you're just looking to capture candid moments for the family album or looking to create a work of art, one should follow these basic steps on how to shoot better digital photos.


You're probably aware that the major advantage of a digital camera is that it produces immediate results by allowing you to see what has just been shot. But just because a camera is labeled a point and shoot doesn't mean it requires no thought or effort on your part. When you're shooting in auto mode, automatic focus and exposure mean nothing if you don't frame your subject properly. Whether your digital camera in manual or auto mode, framing and composition are very important. When you look through the viewfinder of your camera, make sure the frame is level and the image is not cropped.


Remember, there's a difference between a snapshot and a photograph. Digital photography is light years away from the old film cameras where the negative had to processed before you could see the prints and many times the results were pictures that were out of focus, too light, too dark, or badly composed. Remember those old "instamatic" cameras? Well, they weren't. And now with the advance of moderately priced digital photo printers, you can now have your digital photo prints in any size your prefer... and many more of them. If you don't have a digital photo printer, you can use a digital photo service that can be found online.


Use a tripod, if convenient, to make sure your photos are completely sharp. Auto focus of your camera will not help if you don't use a steady hand, especially in low light situations where the shutter speed is greatly reduced and the camera flash is not used.


Whenever you can, always use available light to give your photos a more natural look. Unless you're in studio conditions with professional lighting equipment, try not to use your camera flash if possible since it usually produces harsh and shadowy pictures.


Many times you don't have any choice or control over the location and conditions you're shooting under. Outdoor digital photos in various settings can be more desirable than interior photos. When outdoors, overcast days are the best for shooting unless you want sunny photos. An overcast day will produce more detail and less harshness in your subject. If you do shoot on a sunny day, always remember to keep the sun at your back and not at the back of your subject. If adaptable, use a lens shade to protect your camera from glare.


Keep in mind, whenever your shooting, even with a modest camera, you're preserving a moment in time, as insignificant as the subject matter may be. Your photo is preserving a moment that is gone forever. Think of yourself as an artist, a poet with a camera, if you will. Try to make every photograph speak through its image and spirit. Remember, there's a difference between a snapshot and a photograph.


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