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Get Better Photos Right Out Of The Box

rule of thirds picture
This is an excellent shot that illustrates several of the suggestions mentioned here - The Rule of Thirds and a creative grouping

Considering there will be a slew of new DSLRs and digital cameras under the Christmas tree this year, this seemed like a good time to review guidelines for basic composition.

We’ve already talked about what to do after unboxing your new camera for the first time, and now is a good time to review basic composition so you can get better photos right out of the box.

Get In Close

The most common mistake people make taking pictures of family and friends is being too far away. Unless you’re deliberately trying to include the background as part of the story of where the photo was taken, get in close. Move in so far you can’t fit all of your subject in the frame.

Sometimes you’ll want to back up a little after getting the close in shot, but do so only until additional background starts distracting from the composition.

Rule Of Thirds

Notice it’s called the Rule of Thirds, not the Very Strong Suggestion of Thirds and it’s been around long before photography was a reality. At a basic level the Rule of Thirds advises composition that puts the subject at a point that’s approximately a third of the way in from one of the edges.

One tip for getting the subject toward the edge is to put what they’re working on in the center of the frame. By focusing on the activity that naturally pushes the subject toward the edge of the photo.

Break Up Groups

Instead of having everyone sit or stand in a group, break it up by having people sit together in small groups of two or three and then arrange the groups in some kind of order. Have some people stand behind a chair someone else is sitting in and others sit in front of it.

Try to balance the composition by moving the small groups around a little in different arrangements. You’ll be amazed at how much better your group shots look with that one simple trick.

Use The Built-In Flash Outdoors

When you’re outdoors in daylight, turn your camera flash on. It will seem odd because that’s the time your camera will insist there’s already enough light, but that’s the best time to use it.

The built-in flash is generally a terrible light source for pictures, but when it comes to filling in facial shadows in outdoor portraits they are fantastic.

Following these simple guidelines will make the first photos from your new camera stand out head and shoulders above everyone else and provide some classic holiday memories you can treasure for years to come.

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