These days, even inexpensive cameras can take great pictures, but I frequently see pictures on a blog or power point which could really use some help. Here are my top ten tips to taking the best picture possible and then making it the best for your blog or power point presentation.
1. Camera Settings – Choose Best Quality
When you initially setup your camera, always choose to have the best quality pictures that your camera can take. GIGO – stands for Garbage In Garbage Out. You don’t want garbage. If you take low quality pictures, then there’s no way to improve them later. Camera SD cards are inexpensive so you don’t have to worry about filling up a card. Go into the settings of your camera and select the very BEST quality settings. You will probably save them as JPGs and always choose the Fine or Best setting.
2. Get Closer to Your Subject
In general the closer you are, the better will be the light quality. Just because your camera has a 20X zoom doesn’t mean that you should be shooting from so far away. Try to get as close as practical. On the other hand I like to have some space around my subject so I can do some cropping later.
3. Get the Junk Out of the Background
You can ask the person to move if there something distracting in the background. You want the attention on your subject – not what is behind him/her.
4. Use Your Flash
In many instances, it pays to use your flash to get better light on your subject. Learn where the flash button is on your camera and how to force it to flash. If the flash is too intense you can always turn it off. In some more expensive cameras you can even turn the flash level down or up.
5. Focus on Your Subject
Make sure that the focus is locked on your subject so your picture will be sharp and clear where you want it. In many cases it’s preferable to having the background blurry.
6. Try to Get Candid Pictures
When people are off camera and not posing is when you can get your best pictures. Avoid the posed picture if possible.
7. Take Lots of Pictures
Digital pictures don’t cost anything so it’s always best to take a lot of pictures and then only choose your best. When I’m taking pictures of butterflies I may take fifty pictures to get one which I like.
8. Use a Photo Editing Program
The main thing you will want to do is to Crop the picture. Learn to crop your picture to emphasize your subject. This simple task takes just a minute, but will make your picture immeasurably better. This is another way to get rid of distracting backgrounds so that your subject is the main focus. There are many free photo editors available. Here are some.
9. Get Written Permission from People
If you are going to use people’s images, you need to not only ask permission ahead of time, but get written permission. That is a simple as having a piece of paper which says something like, ” Your Name – has permission to use my image for publicity or educational purposes. ” If a minor is involved you will need to get the parent’s consent. Here’s a form I found online. Be creative if you don’t have permission and take pictures which don’t involve people’s faces.
10. File Save As or Don’t Overwrite Your Original
When your editing your picture and you’re all done, do a File – Save As. You want to rename the picture with a new name. You always want to keep the original intact just in case you need to use it again.
11. Always Have a Camera With You.
If you don’t have a camera with you all the time, then none of this matters. You may be missing some great shots all because you left your camera at home. I prefer a small pocket camera. I use the Panasonic DMC-FH8, but there are many available that are just fine. I use Consumer Reports as a basis for recommendations. If you have a smart phone, you may be able to get a good photo just by using your phone if you remember the principles above.
Finally – Take a Photography Class
If you really want to improve your photographs take a class and learn as much as possible. I’ve found Community Education classes are inexpensive and have great teachers.
I also like Lynda.com as a resource if you want some more advanced lessons.
The Ten Tips will get you started, but there is a lot more to learn.