Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How to Take Great Pictures

I am by no means a professional photographer. I just love taking pictures. And one time I took 3rd place in a local newspaper photo contest.

I once went to an Ansel Adams show at a local art museum. He was quoted as saying (I can't find the direct quote, but it was something like): The best way to take really good pictures, is to take LOTS of pictures. That way you're more likely to have a few good ones. I have taken this advice to heart as I've endeavored on my photography hobby. I've highlighted some of my own tips for taking great pictures here. Below, I'll show some examples.

1. From Mr. Adams, take LOTS of pictures (so you're more likely to have a couple good ones). This is even easier in the digital age - you can just delete the ones you don't like.

2. Take the same picture in different ways: different angles, lights on, lights off, flash on, flash off

3. Don't be afraid to seem "silly." Some of my best pictures I've taken laying down in the grass, with the camera pointed up at something.

4. Experiment with your camera's settings. My camera has a settings for landscape, portrait, flower (close up), water, sunset, low lighting, bright lighting, etc. Try the different settings on the same picture to see what looks best.

5. Experiment with photography software. You can crop, brighten, darken, make black and white, and do lots of other things with digital pictures. Just make sure to save a copy of the original so you can always go back to it.

Below is an example of some pictures I took recently. These are unedited, straight off my camera. You'll see how I took several pictures of the same thing, at different angles, and in different ways. Some are blurry. Some are too dark. Some have too much clutter in the background. Some just look weird. But some are really good. And I will probably edit the good ones to make them even better. And THOSE are the pictures I show off to make people think I'm a good photographer. Most people don't see all the mediocre (or bad) pictures I take.
**I like taking pictures of flowers.**

And another set:

Click here to see some of my best photos on my photography blog.


Fawnda@Fireflies and Jellybeans said...

Thanks for the great tips. I love the one about not being afraid to be silly. Some of my best shots of my little one are when I an laying down on the floor with him.

Andy Porter said...

Thanks for linking up! I would really love to take great pictures someday. I love the tulips on your photography blog..so gorgeous!! I'm going to have fun delving into your blog. You have great ideas!

Ring by Ring Designs said...

I love the idea of taking lots of pictures. Since we now have digital cameras that is much easier. It is expensive to have prints made plus you have to wait until the roll is finished and then have them printed. By then I would have forgotten what I did to get the picture.
And look silly? Great idea.
Thanks for a helpful post.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips!
I would only add two more I read in one very good book:
* the best zoom is your feet!
* play with depth of field in Manual setting.

Elizabeth said...

love the 5th one! the red tulip between the yellow of the daffodils . . . very nice!

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