Want to take better pictures? Tips from Alicia.

I always have friends asking me about their cameras or telling me that they want to learn how to take better pictures.  Now, I'm no expert, but I have learned a thing or two in the 8 years I've been shooting with DSLR. I started with a Canon Rebel with the kit lens, and now shoot with a Canon 40D and my primary lens is a 50mm f/1.4. I started shooting M about 5 years ago, and have been shooting RAW for a year now.

If you didn't understand what I just said, that's ok. This post is for you. :)

(If you're more into the post editing part here is a quick post I did a year ago. )

Here are a few tips, thoughts and suggestions I have for you.

1. It doesn't matter what kind of camera you have if you don't know how to use it.
If you're serious about taking your photography skills to the newt level, learn how to control the settings on your camera whether you use a phone camera, dslr, point and shoot... get out that manual or play with the settings (BUT SAVE YOUR IMAGES FIRST!).

2. The difference between an "okay" image and a really great one is usually the lighting. 
Learn about ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed. Those are the three factors to controlling the light within your camera. It doesn't matter how cute your kid is, or how gorgeous your subject, if the lighting is "blah" it won't catch anyone's eye like you want it to. HERE is a good article that explains "exposure".

3. Get closer!
The few times I've taught a basic photography class, this is the first thing I talk about! Get closer! Get closer with your feet or by zooming in. Get close enough to crop out the distracting background and fill the image with your subject! When you first start practicing this, you may want to take pictures of your subject in 5-10 different angles and focal lengths.

4. Be aware of your background.
Do you want people in the background? Half of the building? The pole?
Be aware of the random things behind your subject. The idea is to eliminate anything that will not compliment your subject. Be aware of things that will distract attention from your subject.

5. Practice Practice Practice!
You'll never get better if you don't try. Go out for a walk and practice! Then, take the time to analyze your images. Take notes (mental or literal) on ways you could improve an image. What do you like about your image? What would you change or wish you had done differently? I promise that if you do this regularly you will really see improvement in your images!

What have you learned about creating better images? What have you done to improve your photography skills?

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