1. Make sure that your cameraʼs autofocus is actually in focus.
Most autofocus cameras require that you press the shutter button down halfway to focus the camera. If you just press the shutter button all the way down, the camera may not have time to achieve sharp focus. Most cameras have an illuminated dot in the viewfinder or on the LCD screen that indicates whether or not the camera is in focus. A red dot or blinking dot while the shutter button is pressed halfway means that the camera is not focussed. You might be too close to your subject or your subject may not have enough contrast in it for the camera to determine where to set the focus.
2. Donʼt use the built-in flash (unless you have to).
On-camera flash is harsh and very unflattering. The on-camera flash casts dark shadows which look bad and unprofessional. Instead, turn on all the lights in the room or bring your subject into a well lit area.
3. Donʼt put peoplesʼ heads in the center of the picture.
Aiming the camera so that a subjectʼs head is in the center of the picture leaves a lot of space above the head. This empty space draws oneʼs
attention away from the person and is distracting. Compose the picture (aim the camera) so that the personʼs head is near the top of the picture.
4. Fill the picture frame with your subject.
Many people take all their pictures with the subject (a person, pet or object) occupying only a small area of the picture. Move in closer or use the zoom so that your subject fills the picture area.
5. Be proactive.
Great shots are usually made, not simply taken. Arrange people and props to make more interesting photos. Take some posed shots and some candid shots. If youʼre not getting great candid shots, be proactive. Get the people together talking or doing some activity in a well lit area. Get yourself into a good position to get the great candid photos.
Did you know I teach photography classes in Clearwater, FL? I am running a holiday special: buy 1 photography class, get 2nd 50% off! If you’re getting someone a camera as a gift, they could also use a lesson to learn how to really use it.