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At PhotoBox we know how important your photos are to you. That’s why we’ve put together our favourite photo tips and tricks to help you become a better photographer. Forget about relying on lady luck, or wasting your precious time wading through and deleting disappointing pictures, we’ll help you get it right first time. Making it easier to print your favourite photos and share the highlights of your life online.
So whether you’re going to be out & about photographing weddings, your kids and pets, enjoying family days out, or you latest holiday, follow our advice for fantastic photos to be proud of.
1. Get inspired
Flick through online photo galleries, you’ll find they’re a great source of inspiration when it comes to taking your own images.
2. Personal photography manual
Use a Photo book or Stylebook as your own personal photography manual. Include details on how you took the shots, the settings you used, and any other handy hints. It’s a great way to learn.
3. Off centre
It’s tempting to just aim your camera directly at your subject and shoot. You can create a more dynamic feel though by placing your main subject slightly off centre.
4. Steady support
Tripods aren’t the easiest things to carry around but they do enable you to use a slow shutter speed without getting camera shake.
5. Waste of space
Wasting space is widely regarded as one of the most common crimes committed by amateur photographers. Some pictures work with plenty of space around the main subject but most have more impact close up.
6. Show off the shape
Interesting shapes are best shown against a plain background where there is little or nothing to distract the eye.
7. Strong lighting
Strong direct light from behind the camera works well with architectural shots but is usually very unflattering for portraiture.
8. Magical monochrome
Black & white images are great for disguising clashing colours and focusing your attention on the mood of the picture instead.
9. Light ideas
Experiment with different light sources such as candlelight, firelight and tungsten to give a different feel to your photos.
10. Celebrity stance
A trick favoured by celebrities is angling one shoulder slightly towards the camera, this gives an instantly more elegant and slender look.
11. Low light
When photographing in low light, if you don’t want to use flash, try bumping up your ISO setting to 800 or 1600.
12. Group shots
For large group shots it’s worth getting sizeable photo enlargements printed up so you can be sure of seeing everyone clearly.
13. Learn from the pros
Become a regular at photography exhibitions, seeing others’ work will help give you your own ideas for themes and projects to try.
14. Correct the crop
Re-cropping an image before ordering photo prints can make all the difference between a simple snapshot and a professional looking print.
15. Always carry a camera
The first rule of photography is to always carry your camera. If you haven't got it with you, you won't be able to take that award-winning shot! Just one of the many reasons camera phones are so popular.
16. On an angle
Try tilting your camera at a strong angle to get a much more interesting perspective. It will give your photos a whole new look.
17. Mirror image
Seeking symmetry in your photos can be very exciting. Look for interesting examples such as reflections in lakes or puddles, or many modern buildings have reflective surfaces which are fun to play around with.
18. Perfect timing
Think before you click! By waiting just a few seconds for people to either walk into or out of your shot, depending on the look you’re after, can make all the difference.
19. Back light
Back lighting is a great way to emphasis strong shapes and gives a really artistic feel to a photo.
20. Shed some light
A reflector, or even a piece of white card, is an easy way to vary the amount of light falling onto your subject. This is particularly useful for portraits and still life shots.
21. Deceptively spacious
If you use a really wide angle lenses when shooting interiors shots the rooms will look much bigger.
22. Avoiding flare
Lens flare is a common problem when the sun is low in the sky. Avoid it affecting your photos by using a lens hood, or simply using your hand to shield the sunlight.
23. Focus first
Half-pressing the shutter down actives your auto focus, by doing this before pressing the shutter down fully you're more likely to get sharper focus shots.
24. Eyes right
When shooting portraits always make sure you focus on the eyes as they are the most important part of the picture to get right.
25. Learn to anticipate
When photographing an event learn to anticipate what’s going to happen next so you can prepare your camera settings and attempt to be in the right place at the right time.
26. Follow the action
Experiment with capturing action shots by panning the camera and following the action. The aim is to get your main subject in sharp focus, but blur the background to emphasis the movement. Slowing your shutterspeed down will help achieve the desired effect.
27. Fish eye fun
Investing is a specialist fish eye lens for your digital SLR, which gives an interesting distortion to your images, is an easy way to add more creativity to your shots.
28. Interesting landscapes
To give your landscapes real depth and draw the viewer in, always include an interesting element in the foreground. This little trick helps give a sense of scale too.
29. Good looking groups
With group shots it's vital to see everyone and form a flattering shape. Place the tallest people not only at the back of the group but in the centre, with shorter people either side, and you'll get a relaxed but orderly image.
30. Reflective surfaces
Look out for reflective surfaces in your photographs such as mirrors and glass, as they could mean you’re accidentally included in the photograph!
31. New tricks
Keep trying out new tricks and learning different photographic skills so your photos are constantly changing and you start to develop your own style.
32. Perfect patterns
Look out for repeating patterns in the objects around you as they often make for fantastic photos.
33. Rule of thirds
Instantly improve your composition by imagining an empty noughts and crosses grid over your image, then place your main points of interest where the gridlines crossover.
34. Fill the frame
By moving in close on a subject and really filling the frame, your photos will have much more impact.
35. Exaggerate it
It’s easy to exaggerate the size of your subject by either looking down on what you’re photographing or gazing up.
36. Quick work
When you're taking portrait shots of people, working quickly is a good way of ensuring you keep everyone's interest and get natural smiles.
37. Frame it
Give your subject a natural frame such as shooting through a doorway or window that can act as a strong border to your photo.
38. Dappled sunlight
On a bright sunny day try photographing someone under the dappled light of a shady tree to give an interesting effect.
39. Dramatic backdrops
Take time to find the right location as it can make all the difference to the feel of a portrait shot and even alter the mood entirely.
40. Main element
Think about why the photograph you're taking appeals to you, it will help you focus your thoughts on how best to capture the most important elements.
41. Creative cropping
Try cropping a single photo in a few different ways and see the difference it makes, it's a great technique for helping you think more creatively.
42. Monochrome made easy
Try converting a colour photo to black & white with photo editing software to give an image a completely different feel.
43. Spark your creativity
Give yourself a fun theme and see what interesting shots you can come up based only on this theme.
44. Double take
When the sun is at a right angle to your subject its shadow has the same proportions, so use this symmetry to create fun shots that look like you're seeing double.
45. Feeling reflective
Just for the fun of it try building up a series of self-portraits using reflective surfaces whenever you see them.
46. Blink trick
If someone tends to blink when you photograph them, ask them to close their eyes and only open them when you say so.
47. Impressive panoramas
Take a series of overlapping landscape shots and stitch together with photo editing software for a really impressive panoramic picture.
48. Alter the angle
Get into the habit of always taking a few shots of each image from slightly different angles and then editing out the best ones. This will improve the overall quality of your images no end.
49. Impressive patterns
A telephoto lens can help accentuate repeating patterns as it compresses what it sees giving greater impact to the pattern.
50. Just enjoy it
More often than not when you enjoy taking pictures it shows in your photos, so get out there and enjoy your photography. Happy snapping!
51. Share your own
Share your own photo tips with PhotoBox by Tweeting them at www.twitter.com/photobox or post them on the PhotoBox Facebook fan page wall.
You’ll find lots more great ideas for making the most of your digital photos at www.photobox.co.uk, Europe’s leading online personal publishing and printing service with five million members. Innovative ideas include: photo books, diaries, calendars, cards & canvases. You can also print your Facebook photos using our Super Photos application. Plus discover Pro Gallery, the easy way to sell your photos online.
PhotoBox is the leading online photo service in the UK where it pioneered online printing, storing, sharing, community and publishing services for digital photos before extending its range to innovative products such as photo books, calendars, and greeting cards.The company merged with Photoways, the leading French service, in April 2006 thereby creating the European market leader with over 5 million members and nearly 200 million photo prints in 2007. The group is backed by leading Venture Capital firms Index Ventures, Highland Capital and HarbourVest. Stan Laurent, formerly Chief Operating Officer at AOL Europe, is President and C.E.O. and Mark Chapman, co-founder of PhotoBox, is Managing Director of the UK business.
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