10 Tips for Taking Better Photos

  1. Get down on their level – Hold your camera at the subject’s eye level to capture the power of those magnetic gazes and mesmerizing smiles. For children and pets, that means getting down on their level to take the picture.
  2. Use a plain background – Before taking a picture, check the area behind your subject. Lookout for trees or poles sprouting from your subject’s head. A cluttered background will be distracting while a plain background will emphasize your subject.
  3. Use flash outdoors – Use it in bright sunlight to lighten dark shadows under the eyes and nose, especially when the sun is directly overhead or behind your subject. Use it on cloudy days to brighten up faces and make them stand out from the background.
  4. Move in close and fill the picture with the subject. Move a few steps closer or use the zoom until the subject fills the viewfinder. You will eliminate background distractions and show off the details in your subject.
  5. Take some vertical pictures – Make a conscious effort to turn your camera sideways and take some vertical pictures. Many subjects look better in a vertical picture – from the Eiffel Tower to portraits of your friends.
  6. Lock the focus to create a sharp picture of off-center subjects. Center the subject; press the shutter button half way down; re-frame your picture (while still holding the shutter button; and finish by pressing the shutter button all the way down.
  7. Move it from the middle – Bring your picture to life simply by placing your subject off-center.
  8. Know your camera flash’s range – For many cameras that is only ten feet. If the subject is further than ten feet, the picture may be too dark or too light.
  9. Watch the light – Study the effects of light in your picture. For people pictures, choose the soft lighting of cloudy days. Avoid overhead sunlight that casts harsh shadows across faces. For scenic pictures, use the long shadows and color of early and late daylight.
  10. Be a picture director – Take an extra minute and add some props, rearrange your subjects, or try a different viewpoint. Bring your subjects together and let their personalities shine.

*Adapted from Kodak.com