Better Photos with Your Digital Camera

Everyone has a digital camera today and we all take a lot of photos. But if your photos still have trees coming out of your father's head, mom has red eye, and your beloved pet is never facing the camera then here are some tips to help you take better photos.

1. Always be aware of the background. I know this is the hard one but it is critical. If you're setting up a shot take a quick look at what is behind the people in your shot. So many perfectly good photos are ruined by a tree seeming to grow out of a person's head. It can be as simple as the person taking one full step to the right or left to move the obstacle that would ruin your photo.

2. Use available light. If your digital camera has an option to turn the flash off and it's light enough outside to read a book then use the available light and turn the flash off. In general camera flashes are too harsh for human skin and make all of us look pale. (Even better if your camera has a fill flash use that indoors where there isn't enough daylight, and place the person by a window as well.)

3. Use ambient soft light. The reason that so many of use pose people under trees, and end up with the ruined photo with a tree coming out of dad's head, is that we all instinctively know that soft light is best. Sunlight filtered through a trees' leave is beautiful and warm. It warms up the skin and puts a soft light to the features. Indoors near a window with drapes has a similar effect.

4. Aim your camera slightly down at the person's face. Now I don't mean climb a ladder but just don't ever, and I mean ever, point your camera looking up to a person. We all look fat and bloated at that angle. Also don't shoot just face on to the person, try a little to the side, a three quarter view, so that you see more of their face. Remember camera higher looking down and a three quarter view, it will slim your subject.

5. Remember your focus, are you taking a photo of mom and the tree, then take mom with the whole tree. But if you're taking a photo of mom next to a tree do we really need to see the entire tree? Get closer to your subject. We can see some of the tree bark with mom leaning against it, but showing the whole tree is a waste. Remember this tip with children, many people take a shot of their dear child for an expression on the child's face, but in the printed shot the child is lost next to another kid, the swing set, and the dog. Remember get closer.

6. Never put your subject dead center. All family photographers do this and it's as hard of a habit to break as remembering to look at the background. But if you've moved closer to your subject remember to put them just sightly off center. Not a lot just a bit. When you're shooting even groups of people this is especially easy but odd numbered groups is a little more difficult. Just find your imaginary center line of your group and put that line just a bit off center in your view through your lens or screen.

With these tips you can be on your way to taking better photos today.

About The Author

Copyright 2004 Kelly Paal

Kelly Paal is a Freelance Nature and Landscape Photographer, exhibiting nationally and internationally. Recently she started her own business Kelly Paal Photography (www.kellypaalphotography.com). She has an educational background in photography, business, and commercial art. She enjoys applying graphic design and photography principles to her web design.

[email protected]

In The News:

Top Mounts for Smartphone Photography  SamMobileSmartphone cameras are capable of taking professional images. Photografers use a mount to stabalize the phone and be able to take high quality photos.
The Art of Seeing as a Photographer  PetaPixelWhen I look back at my journey as a wildlife photographer especially as I scroll through my images on my editing screen a few things become apparent. Firstly ...
Why is the photography community so toxic?  DIYphotographyThis is a pretty interesting video from Manny Ortiz talking about an observation that I think a lot of people have come to notice over the last couple of years.
One Neglected Aspect of Attracting the Right Clients for Your Photography Business  FstoppersWe often talk about setting the right prices for our photography packages or having a great website but we often overlook this one fundamental factor that has a ...
Journey of a nature-loving photographer; Jayesh captures the unseen beauties  Mathrubhumi EnglishJourney of a nature-loving photographer; Jayesh captures the unseen beauties, Offbeat | News | Mathrubhumi English.
Why Size Matters: Lens Compression at 400mm in Landscape Photography  PetaPixelMost the time when I am out doing landscape photography, I have a Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS and Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS with me. On road trips, I try to ...
By allowing a cool-off period, you can improve your landscape photography portfolio  imaging resourcePhotographer and educator Dave Morrow has captured a lot of landscape images over the past year. His video *content* is often focused on specific skills, either ...
Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace: Using kicker lights to add a punch to your high-key portraits  imaging resourceWhen creating high-key portraits, it is difficult to retain the trademark bright look of a high-key portrait without having your image become somewhat flat.
On Rules in Photography  PetaPixelI very often have this strong negative reaction when a newsletter arrives in my inbox or I see an online article where the heading reads: “5 rules to follow when ...
How to Find Your Style in Photography  PetaPixelHow do I find my style? It's a question that inevitably comes up for almost every photographer actively trying to improve their images. It's a tough question, at first.
Pro Athletes Turned Photographers: Is It a Problem?  FstoppersThere is a history of actors becoming directors, models become designers, and, more recently, athletes becoming photographers. Isaac Rochell, defensive end ...
Nigella Lawson turns tech goddess as she launches a 'fabulous' food photography app  Daily MailTV chef Nigella Lawson's app FOODIM will offer filters and edit settings created specially to make food look its best. The 59-year-old said apps such as ...
Photographer Put on Blast After Winning $120,000 Photography Award for a ‘Staged’ Photo  NextSharkThe latest winner of a prestigious photography award has come under fire after behind-the-scenes photos showing at least eight other photographers capturing ...
Your best photos of the week, March 22, 2019  National GeographicEach week, our editors choose stunning photos submitted by members of Your Shot, National Geographic's photo community.
Massimo Vitali: Short Stories  British Journal of PhotographyMassimo Vitali believes that "When you overshoot, you lose your balance" and his new book and exhibition are an exercise in restraint - including just 12 of his ...
10 Photographers to Catch in Denver Before Month of Photography Ends  303 MagazineEvery other year, an impressive list of galleries, museums and other businesses in and around Denver participate in the Month of Photography (MOP).
One Tip to Improve Your Landscape Photography in Lightroom  FstoppersThomas Heaton is a travel and landscape photographer based in Northeast England. The photographer took to his YouTube channel with an audience of over ...
Spring Photography Is Hard: Here Are Seven Tips  FstoppersSpring is one of the harder seasons to pull off landscape and nature photography. There is ways to get around it and here is some inspiration.
This photographer shot his own wet plate passport photos  DIYphotographyI love seeing the wet plate experiments of Austrian photographer Markus Hofstätter. He's so prolific with them that when he decides to do something interesting it ...
Noe DeWitt, The Photographer Behind T+L’s April 2019 Covers, Reveals How He Got the Shot  Travel+LeisureThe New York-based photographer talks equipment, technique, and his favorite spots in Dominica.
NVIDIA Advances AI Technology for Creating Photographs Without Photographers  PDN OnlineNVIDIA has built a tool that uses Generative Adversarial Networks to create photo-realistic landscape images with nothing more than crude drawings.
One (Cheap) Purchase That Can Make the Biggest Impact on Your Photography  FstoppersIt's incredibly common to see any marketing campaign talk about how some accessory or lens is "life changing" and will bring your photography to the next level.
Confessions of an Autistic Photographer  PetaPixelPhotography is a broad church. It is an art form, it is a tool of the press, it is a form of recreation, it is a business. It is a social record. It is a medium for ...
PA Images enters photography partnership with The Jockey Club  SportsPro MediaPA Images, home to the prestigious picture collection from the UK's national news agency, has been selected as a photography partner of The Jockey Club, the ...
Your best photos of the week, March 1, 2019  National GeographicEach week, our editors choose stunning photos submitted by members of Your Shot, National Geographic's photo community.
Street Photography That Elevates Scenes of Everyday Life in East London  New York TimesPlaying with light and shadow, José Sarmento Matos captures barbecues and commuters in ways that echo Caravaggio's oil paintings.
CMC Professional Photography students share works at ArtShare Gallery in Morgridge Commons  Glenwood Springs Post IndependentIt's not every day that college students receive the honor or opportunity of displaying their own work in a public gallery.According to Derek Johnston, ...
The Invention of Photography Emboldened Artists to Portray Overt Sexuality  ArtsyThe proliferation of pornographic photographs in the 19th century forced painters to reevalute conventionally idealized depictions of sex and the female body.
What is 8K? And what does it mean to photographers and videomakers?  Digital Camera WorldA video revolution is coming – and it'll revolutionize stills photography as well as filmmaking. Get ready for 33 megapixel grabs!
Heatherwick's Vessel at Hudson Yards claims ownership of visitors' photography  DezeenThe Heatherwick Studio-designed Vessel at New York's Hudson Yards is planning to maintain rights to any photography taken of the public structure, a move ...
How to light glass the easy way  DIYphotographyNo matter how much we learn or think we know about photography and light, there's always a new tip or trick to learn. And Jay P Morgan's series on the Laws of ...
9 fantastic camera phone accessories shown off at The Photography Show 2019  Digital Camera WorldThe Photography Show 2019 isn't just about DSLRs, mirrorless and medium format maestros. Look beyond the pro-grade kit and there's a thriving community for ...
How to quickly get into photography: A guide for busy people  ABS-CBN NewsStarting photography, one of the easiest hobbies to get into, need not to be expensive. All you need is a smartphone.
The Story Behind Susan Meiselas’ Carnival Strippers Photography Series  AnOther MagazineAs a selection of her work goes on display as part of this year's Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize in London, the image-maker opens up about the ...
Experience Family-Friendly VR with Hippos, Aliens, Photography and More in New Nintendo Labo: VR Kit  BioSpaceWith More Activities Than Any Previous Nintendo Labo Kit, Kids and Families Can Make, Play, Discover and Even Create Their Own VR Games. REDMOND ...
South China Stories: The Photographer of Time  CGTN“Taking photographs is my duty. Through photography, I can record the transformation of Hainan Province and my personal life.” Huang comes from a returned ...
Point and shoot: what's next for photography in video games?  The GuardianFrom Pokémon Snap to Fatal Frame, photography has long been popular in games – but some developers are taking the idea further.
The best infrared photography from around the world  The IndependentA new competition has been launched for infrared photographers – those who capture light that is not visible to the human eye. Contest organisers Kolari Vision ...
How relevant are photographs today?  The HinduVarious aspects of photography and its relevance in this era were discussed at 'Light writing - the photographic image reloaded' — a two-day international ...
Pro tips to improve your whisky photography  Scotchwhisky.comWith a growing number of drinkers sharing their drams on social media, whisky photography has exploded in popularity. Felipe Schrieberg shares insights from ...
Huawei P30's new teaser highlights the phone's night photography prowess  gizmochinaHuawei's upcoming flagship duo is making rounds on the web from the past couple of months. Every detail about the Huawei P30 and P30 Pro is out, from ...
Four photographers explain why other women shouldn't be competition  Alternative PressWhether you plan to pursue photography or are just looking for some general words of wisdom, these four talented women have some eye-opening advice.
Another Wedding Ruined by Bad Photography  FstoppersIt's a story we photographers read about all too often. A Tulsa, Oklahoma woman has issued a warning for brides-to-be: make sure to vet your photographers ...
424th ABS fuels manager gets first place recognition in Army digital photography contest  United States ArmyLiking photography is an understatement for Air Force Tech. Sgt. Daisaku Dixon. He loves photography, he said, because it allows him to become a story-teller ...
The First Great Photography Craze: Cartes de Visites  PetaPixelBefore Instagram, selfie sticks, disposable cameras, Polaroids, and box brownies, there were carte de visites — small photographic albumen prints, mounted on ...
Composition: Photography's Most Underrated Skill  FstoppersChoosing an interesting composition might be the most underrated of all photography techniques. Here is a tutorial on why changing how you frame your subject ...
Think You Know This Photograph? Take Another Look  The New York TimesThe Swiss artists Jojakim Cortis and Adrian Sonderegger recreate famous historical photos in their studio, to remind us we shouldn't always believe what we ...
'Contact High' Photography Exhibit in LA to Showcase Intimate Visual History of Hip-Hop  BillboardA new photography exhibition opening next month at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles will celebrate the work of some of hip-hop's most ...
Ballina photographer wins international sports photography award  Midwest RadioA Ballina-based photographer has won an international sports photography award. David Farrell won the award at the Federation of European Professional ...
When a news photographer becomes the news in Chennai  The HinduIt all happened in a flash. Barely 10 minutes after reaching a public gathering that was held in a large tent to celebrate the Indian festival of Holi, I was performing ...
Why is Street Photography So Contentious?  PetaPixelAs a street photographer, I accept that I have a bias towards the kind of work and criticisms I prefer to seek out as an audience to the work of others – although ...
Seven Furman Students To Show Work At Southeast Center For Photography  GreenvillePhoto: Senior Sophie Harris and six other Furman students will display work at the Southeast Center for Photography. Harris' "Inishmaan" is one of the selected ...
What Qualifies as Deception in Landscape Photography?  FstoppersHow often do you think about either being deceived by or deceiving the viewer when you think about landscape photography? It's a topic worth talking about, as ...
9 Women Photographers On The Best Picture They've Ever Taken  Refinery29With shots of a beaming bride and her sister, a Maasai elder, the Scottish landscape and Sir Ian McKellen, the catalogue is as varied as it is striking.
In and Out of Andy Warhol's Orbit: Compelling and intimate photographs by Nat Finkelstein  Creative BoomIn and Out of Warhol's Orbit: Photographs by Nat Finkelstein is a compelling and intimate exhibition revealing the complex characters behind the wel...
Art teacher gets creative by starting photography business  Rochester Business JournalJess Kamens Photography may be a relatively new business in the United States, but it has seen the world. Jess Kamens has loved photography since she was ...
Award-winning photographer Yannis Behrakis dies aged 58 | Greece  Aljazeera.comYannis Behrakis, an award-winning photographer with Reuters news agency, has died after a battle with cancer. He was 58. Behrakis, who worked at Reuters ...
Car Crash Survivors Pose With Seatbelt Wounds for New Photography Series  FstoppersThe project, brainstormed by New Zealand's transport agency and Clemenger BBDO Wellington, is an effort to highlight the deaths caused on NZ's roads due to ...
Kodak's Kodakit Asks Photographers to Give Up the 'Entire Copyright'  PetaPixelKodak launched an on-demand photography *service* called Kodakit back in January 2017 that aims to connect photographers to brands looking for photography ...
Twenty modernist houses by Gerrit Rietveld documented in detail for the first time  Wallpaper*A photographic book titled Gerrit Rietveld – Wealth of Sobriety celebrates 20 houses of Dutch architect and designer Gerrit Rietveld (1888-1964)
Was top shot in £90,000 photography prize STAGED? Image reveals winning snapper was far from alone  Daily MailMalaysian photographer Edwin Ong Wee Kee won the $120000 grand prize at the Hamdan International Photography Awards with a stunning portrait of a ...
Tragic Harris tourist swept death named as professional photographer  Press and JournalA tourist swept to her death by a wave at a Hebridean beauty spot was officially named last night as a 50-year-old London-based professional photographer and ...
Artificial intelligence and the future of smartphone photography  ZDNet3-D sensors coming to this year's smartphones are just the tip of a wave of machine learning-driven photography that will both correct shortcomings of ...
Basic Real Estate Photography Tips for the Beginning Photographer  FstoppersReal estate photography is a reliable staple as a source of income for many photographers. The commercial applications of quality real estate imagery are ...
An Oral History of David Bailey, the Legendary London-Born Photographer Who Reinvented Portraiture  The Wall Street JournalBailey, whose work defined the Swinging '60s, is the subject of a new career-spanning, limited-edition monograph from Taschen. In this oral history, friends, ...
Photography is art at Western Art Week in Great Falls  Great Falls TribuneMontana photographers help tell the story of the West at shows in Great Falls.
Ten Items Photographers Should Never Buy Cheaply  FstoppersWho doesn't love a photography related bargain? The problem is that some of those cheaper deals could cause you some serious headaches further down the ...
Vivian Cherry, 98, Socially Aware Street Photographer, Is Dead  The New York TimesMs. Cherry was originally a dancer, but she abandoned the “fantasy world” of dance as a young woman to document the reality of life in New York.
TPS 2019: 5 essentials for student photographers on Tuesday  Digital Camera WorldFree talks, affordable tutorials from experts and discounted camera gear are just some of many attractions.
Vancouver teen injured after bike accident awarded for photography  KPTV.comVANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) - A Vancouver teen who turned to photography after a head injury is being awarded for his work.
Survival International launches 2019 tribal photography competition  Survival InternationalSurvival International is proud to announce its renowned annual photography competition, welcoming entries from both amateur and professional ...
Explore Corsicana seeks entries for a Youth Photography Contest  Corsicana Daily SunExplore Corsicana would like to invite young photographers to enter a Youth Photography contest with the winners in each age group to be published in the next ...
Weird, wacky and wonderful cameras at The Photography Show  Digital Camera WorldWhether you're a camera collector looking for an old classic, a hipster trying to find a fashionable film camera, or just somebody interested in the interesting and ...
13 inspiring female photographers to follow on Instagram  Digital TrendsOn International Women's Day, fill your Instagram feed with inspiring posts from these 13 women photographers, representing a breadth of experience from ...
25 Kids Participated In An iPhone Photography Camp, And The Images Will Bring A Smile To Your Face  Mashable IndiaLast weekend, I was invited by Apple to check out the Chennai Photo Biennale. Chennai Photo Biennale, as the name suggests, is a massive art and ...
Female in Focus: “Willingness for change, and honesty, will move the photography industry forward”  British Journal of PhotographyMeet Ngadi Smart, the photographer exploring identity, feminism and sexuality through an African lens. Our next Female in Focus is Ngadi Smart. Her portraits ...
A Project Every Serious Photographer Should Complete  FstoppersI thought I'd never understand this one photo series I saw over a decade ago; it was so popular but seemed so bland to me. What I realize now is the *content* of ...
This bridezilla threatened to withhold pay unless the photographer shot everything on her list  DIYphotographyThis is why I don't shoot weddings. Ok, it's not the only reason why I don't shoot weddings, but having to deal with people like this is the main reason why I don't ...
The Chennai Photo Biennale goes beyond just images – it focuses on our relationship with photography  Scroll.inThe second edition of the event, featuring works by 50 artists, examines how photography can become a universal language.
A Soap Film Photography How-To  HackadayBlowing bubbles is a pastime enjoyed by young and old alike. The pleasant motion and swirling colors of the bubbles can be remarkably relaxing. With the right ...
Manfrotto 500 Video System debuts at The Photography Show  Digital Camera WorldMaking its worldwide debut at The Photography Show 2019, the Manfrotto revealed its new 500 Video System hybrid lightweight kit. Intended for videographers ...
Durham Cathedral photography ban lifted  BBC NewsVisitors will be allowed to snap away inside large parts of Durham Cathedral from Friday.
Things To Do In Chicago: Field Museum Showcases World’s Best Wildlife Photography In New Exhibit Starting Today  CBS ChicagoCHICAGO (CBS)—You probably won't ever get close enough to see a leopard's whiskers if you're in Chicago. But the Field Museum is bringing up-close images ...
10 Things You Should Know About Being a Wedding Photographer  PetaPixelThere's something unique about being a wedding photographer. It's a job that filled with joyful moments and happiness. A wedding photographer plays a ...
Perspective | Fueled by a sense of loss and nostalgia, a photographer seeks to capture what's left of 'old New York'  Washington PostPhotographer Dimitri Mellos documents the colorful vibrancy of New York's Chinatown.
'I've built up a photography library worth up to £300000'  The GuardianAshley la Grange on his teaching career – and how he hopes books will help pay for his retirement.
The Middle East Framed - regional photography for March 22, 2019  The NationalWe bring you the the best images from the Middle East and North Africa.
Are People's Backs Interesting in Street Photography?  PetaPixelI recently shot this image while teaching a street photography workshop in London. I had been talking to my students about noticing things that were “odd” or out ...
As Brexit looms, a photographer seeks to understand the youth culture of Northern Ireland  Washington PostToby Binder has been photographing the life of teenagers in the United Kingdom for more than 10 years. Having worked in Britain and Scotland, it was the Brexit ...
Alec Soth’s New Photography Book Is His Most Intimate Yet  AnOther MagazineI Know How Furiously Your Heart Is Beating sees the Minnesota-based photographer shoot his subjects in their own spaces – here, he shares the story behind ...
This Photographer Took Stunning Photos Of The Exact Moment Her Son Was Born  BuzzFeed NewsMegan Mattiuzzo is a 29-year-old professional wedding photographer based in Hamburg, New York. She just gave birth to her firstborn a week ago; she and her ...
The 2019 Scotiabank Photography Award Shortlist is revealed  Canada NewsWireTORONTO, March 21, 2019 /CNW/ - The 2019 Scotiabank Photography Award, the largest peer-nominated and peer-reviewed celebration of excellence in ...
Photographs Enliven the Public and Historic Spaces of an Indian City  HyperallergicThis year's Chennai Photo Biennale is spread across the city, with many heritage sites providing layered historical contexts and compelling physical backdrops.
Bride Threatens to Withhold Payment Unless Photographer Captures Everything on Her List  FstoppersIt's always nice when you find a client who knows exactly what they want and have no issue communicating that to the photographer, but is this bride going too ...
5 Quick Headshot Tips in 3 Minutes by Photographer Peter Hurley  PetaPixelPhotography and Camera News, Reviews, and Inspiration.
YouTubers troll photographers at London Fashion Week with fake model in hilarious outfits  DIYphotographyThe world of fashion can be quirky sometimes, to say the least. We've seen models wearing bizarre creations many times, and Zac and Jamie of The Zac and ...
18 Spectacular Photographs Recognized at the AIA Los Angeles Photography Awards  ArchDailyThe American Institute of Architects Los Angeles Chapter has announced the winners of their 2019 Architectural Photography Awards. The 18 images, awarded ...
Holi mishap: a photographer comes to boy’s rescue  The HinduPerforms CPR to get the child breathing again after he had ingested water.
These photographers are ‘wild’ and loving it  The HinduFor World Wildlife Day on March 3, photographers speak of what attracts them to the wilderness.
The Division 2 has turned me into a post-apocalyptic photographer  PCGamesNWhen the game's story isn't doing it for you, sometimes you just have to go and take pictures of the wildlife.

Using Film Speed Effectively (Black & White Film Thoughts)

It's hard to find sometimes but it's making a resurgence,... Read More

Sepia Toned Prints from Your Colour or Black and White Photos ? 5 Minute Digital Fix

Quite often I will have clients bring in old photographs... Read More

Things You Should Know Before Buying A Digital Camera

In a traditional camera, the lens was king. If the... Read More

A Guide to Underwater Cameras

There are two types of underwater camera systems: an ""amphibious""... Read More

Tips for Better Vacation Photos

Photos are a great way to share your travel experiences... Read More

Photography Contest - a fun and rewarding experience

Do you like to take photos? Are you always standing... Read More

Top 10 Digital Cameras - What You Need To Know About Them

There are a large number of top 10 digital camera... Read More

Taking Panoramic Landscapes - The Easy Solution

I love panoramas. There's something very appealing about their shape.... Read More

10 Steps to Buying a Digital Camera You Must Know

You are anxious to purchase your new digital camera! You... Read More

African Safari Photography Best Five Destinations

Good wildlife safari photography is not only about composition and... Read More

The Benefits of Underwater Digital Cameras

Underwater digital cameras are fun and easy to use under... Read More

Getting Rid of Red Eye

The photos you took of the party are really great... Read More

Have You Read Your Digital Camera Manual?

Have you read the manual that came with your digital... Read More

The Paradigm: Going Digital

As you might imagine the paradigm shift from traditional film-based... Read More

Using Film Speed Effectively

So you have this great new camera. Now you're standing... Read More

Becoming A Digital Artist On A Budget

So, you want to become a digital artist but paying... Read More

How to Photograph Your Baby

Babies make the best and the worst subjects to photograph.... Read More

Crooked Horizons in Your Photos? ? Here is a Five Minute Digital Fix

Remember the good old photography days?Film camera in hand, you... Read More

Terms Used The In The Stock Photography Business

So you are a small business person or web designer... Read More

HP Digital Cameras - History and Beyond

HP has started making digital cameras only recently. However, the... Read More

Portrait Photography: Tips and Methods

Portrait is defined as, "A likeness of a person, especially... Read More

Freelance Photography: How to Begin Your Career

Photography is a vast world. There are many different types... Read More

A Guide to Underwater Camera Cases

If you are buying a new underwater camera or video... Read More

Understanding Digital Photography

Most serious photographers and all professionals use a Single Lens... Read More

Tame Those Memories

Family vacations, summer weddings and family reunions are in full... Read More