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There is an old story about a young newcomer to New York City who stopped a stranger on the street and asked ‘Can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall’?. The stranger thought for a moment and then replied, ‘Practice Son, Practice’. The same is true with your camera. You can take better digital pictures with a little bit of practice.

  • Take lots and lots of shots. The change to digital photos from film in photography has given anyone who wants to improve their photo skills a tremendous gift. Learning how to take good pictures with a digital camera is much easier than it would have been in the old days of film. When you’re taking pictures don’t just stop at the standard snapshots that are normally taken. Walk around, experiment, try anything. Since there is no film to buy or processing to wait for you can see your results as soon as you download your pictures. Carefully go through your shots looking at what is good and what is bad. You can learn a lot from the immediate feedback you get with digital.

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  • Look at the LCD or through the viewfinder before you click the shutter. An old friend of mine that taught me a lot about photography had a saying, ‘Look, then click’. If you remember this one piece of advice I guarantee the quality of your photos will immediately improve. Really ‘look’ at the picture you are going to take. This is especially true if you’re taking a picture of a person or a group of people, look at the whole picture before you take the shot. Too many times we focus on our subject and forget about everything else. Make sure the background and foreground don’t have items or objects that will ruin the shot.
  • Always be on the lookout for a good photo. Keep your camera handy and as many times as you can during the day try to look at things as a camera would see them. And when your ‘camera eye’ says this would be a great shot, do it. Every photo you take, even if it doesn’t turn out to be as good as you thought it would, gives you feedback and the opportunity to learn for your future photos.
  • Get in closer. Yes, I know every thing you read about photography repeats this over and over. But it is so true. If you are at the Grand Canyon with a group of people decide first if

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    you want pictures of the scenery or of the people. If you want to take a photo of the group, use your best skills to pose them nicely and then get up close and take their photos. The photo will show the scenery a little in the background, but your aim was to record the people. If you want to show that the group of people are at the Grand Canyon and you want to include a large shot of the scenery, pose them differently so that they are included in the picture but acting naturally enjoying their experience and go for the ‘large view’ shot without worrying about getting everyone’s faces or smiles. (You’ll have that in the close up.)
  • And finally, read your camera manual. I know you did that when you first got the camera. Now dig it out and read it again. You will be surprised by what new and interesting information you will find. Do it now, trust me. Things that you skimmed or didn’t completely understand or remember when you first looked at the manual will now make sense. Most people don’t use many of the excellent features and options that are available on modern digital cameras just because they look at the manual once and never again. Learn the tool that is your camera. It’s a wonderful machine.

So try some of the ideas above out. And if you want a few more, here is an earlier post I wrote about taking good digital pictures. I was so happily amazed when I first had the realization of how much faster and easier it was to improve my photos skills when I changed to digital.

If you’ve got some good tips you’d like to share or questions about some of these ideas, leave a note in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

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