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How to take good digital photos

By Charles Hopkins Published 07/6/2006 | Arts and Culture

It is not difficult to take good photographs using a digital camera. All that you need is a little understanding of how the camera works, and some basic principles of photography. Some of the points that you need to keep in mind are:

1. You should be careful of the background. Select a spot that has no disturbance in the form of grazing cattle, passing traffic, carelessly piled chairs, intruding curtains etc. These extraneous objects affect the focus, and detract from the main subjects.

2. Make use of natural light as far as possible. This will give soft hues to the picture as compared to photographs taken with the help of flash.  An ambient, soft light always enhances the beauty of a picture, and gives a warm look to the subjects. This is one reason why professional photographers make use of soft light filtering through the branches of a tree to take outdoor group photographs.

3. Never point the camera straight at a person's face.  Always try a side on angle. This will give a more natural look.

4. Get as close to the subject as possible. This will help you eliminate extraneous objects and focus directly on the subject. You will be able to lock on to all emotions flitting on your subject's face. Ideally, when shooting close you should place your subject slightly off center.

5. To make the pictures look richer and warmer, you need to adjust the white balance. Instead of putting the camera on auto, move the settings to cloudy when shooting outdoors in bright sunlight.  This is like applying a mild warming filter.

6. Use the macro view. It allows you to get as close to your subject as possible and take some amazing pictures.

7. You can consider using polarized filter when shooting outdoors. It gives a rich, saturated color effect. If you are not able to fit a polarizing filter to your camera, don't worry. Just place your sunglasses in front of the lens and shoot. You'll be surprised at the result you get.

8. A tripod is very essential as it helps you to eliminate shake when doing night photography.

9. The self-timer option relieves you from the agony of being absent in too many family photos. Place the camera on the tripod, set the self timer and join the group with a smile on your face.

10. You've been amazed at some pictures of streams and waterfalls where the water seems to stop for posing. You too can get this slow motion water effect. Set the camera on a tripod, adjust it for a greater field depth and slow down the shutter. Set the self timer for just one second and you'll get a flowing effect of water.

11. Make use of the maximum resolution available in your camera. There is no point in having a 5 megapixel camera and shooting pictures at 4 megapixels. Go for the maximum resolution. This will enable you blow up the pictures to really big sizes.