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Learn to take better pictures

Good photographs are good for both technical and aesthetic reasons. While the aesthetic issues are a matter of personal taste, many otherwise great photos are spoiled by poor technique. Here are some things to keep in mind when taking pictures:

1. Get Closer
Most amateur's frame too far away from their subjects. Look through the viewfinder! This is especially important when photographing people. Professionals typically use long lenses (85-105mm) for portraits. Most point and shoot cameras on the other had have 35mm lenses.

2. Include People in your Shots
The addition of people to pictures add atmosphere and context. It makes the subject easier to relate to and sometimes gives a sense of scale for small or large objects.

3. Capture Action
Keep the people moving and try to 'catch the moment'

4. Simplify the Composition
Simple compositions are easier to understand. Uncluttered backgrounds offer less to distraction the viewer and allow them to focus on the subject material

5. Put the Subject Off-Centered
Try to place the main subject off the center of the picture. Professionals use a 'rule-of-thirds' and place the main subject one third of he way across the frame. Why this works is not well understood, but it can be very effective.

6. Vary the Angle
Can add humor and drama. Almost all photos are taken from eye level, but there are many other possibilities.

7. Put Foreground in Scenes
Foreground detail gives depth to the shot and adds interest and context. It can also be used to frame the subject.

8. Pay attention to Lighting
Where is the sun? Direct sun can give too much contrast but not enough light will lead to poor images and possibly camera shake. Light alone can 'make the shot'.

9. Use Flash
Flash can be used to improve the lighting, even outdoors on dull days. But be aware the effective range is very limited. Adding additional natural light to a room will also make the effect look more natural.

10. Hold Still
Camera movement spoils many otherwise great shots and is often mistaken for focus problems. Hold the camera steady - brace against objects. Flash can help to freeze the action.

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