How to take digital photos like a pro this summer

How to take digital photos like a pro this summer
  • Whether going on holiday, visiting family or friends or sightseeing, wouldn’t it be great to be able to take better photos? There are some really simple ways that you can improveyour pictures.

Firstly, have you got the right camera? For family pictures a small compact camera with a zoom is fine. If you wish to take more advanced shots then any of the DSLRs out there would be great. Make sure you get a camera that you're happy to work with. A good zoom lens is invaluable on any digital camera.

Tip 1: Unify a picture by less colours 

In other words take photos of subjects that are mainly one colour. This is a very good technique for creating a sublime emotional feeling in your picture. A mostly blue picture will seem restful and romantic, while a mostly red picture could result in a really exciting image. With a restricted number of colours your picture will have more impact.

Tip 2: Back or sidelight is best

For almost all subjects, but especially portraits or group shots, sidelight or backlight will nearly always be best. So mornings and afternoons are the most preferred times to shoot.  If you are shooting at these times always take a reflector to fill in light in the shadows or use flash on your camera to do the same.

Tip 3:  Shoot during the Golden Hour

Ask any professional Photographer and he will tell you: the Golden Hour is the best. This is the last hour before the sun starts to go down when the light has a wonderfully soft glow. This can only really be appreciated if the sun is out with very few clouds, but is the very best time to shoot anything, especially portraits of people or animals. But be prepared for this hour when it comes, as the light will very soon disappear.

Tip 4: Shooting very low for great perspective 

Shooting very low, or almost on the ground and tilting the camera up can give you some really dramatic exaggerated perspectives. Any different angles like these that we are not used to seeing will make your pictures that much more interesting. Don’t be afraid to get your camera as low as possible. Showing the ceiling in interior pictures can add to the drama of your picture.

Tip 5: Shoot lots of shots quickly

Even in the days of expensive rolls of film and processing professionals would always shoot lots of pictures. With digital cameras, even the amateur can shoot a large amount of images for no extra cost. Do not keep stopping after every picture to look at the results. Look at the first two or three to check the look and the lighting, but then continue shooting without interruption. You should give your sitter directions and encouragement, but just keep shooting very quickly – twelve, twenty or even thirty shots if you like. It is important that you have plenty of memory available on one card so you do not have to keep stopping to reload. Due to your continuous and abundant shooting, your sitter should become relaxed. And for more control, place you camera on a tripod so that the framing remains the same. All professionals use a tripod on every shoot.

Tip 6: Moving your subject

If you are on location always look at ways to move your subject. People often get driven placing their subject against an already chosen backdrop, like the front of a famous monument, when the light falling on the subject is very flat. Remember that where the light is falling is more important then what the background is. So for great pictures always move the camera and subject around to where the light is best, which is usually on the side or the back of the subject.

Tip 7: Photographing your children

With children you will need to shoot even more quickly as they very soon get bored. If you feel they are losing attention then quickly change the setup but keep taking pictures. Do not stop the session for a rest as you might lose the child’s interest altogether. Just keep going.

  • These strategies are taken from David Fairman’s best selling book “Take Great Digital Pictures in 24 Hours”. Available from Amazon.
  • There's more useful advice in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.