Everyone has a digital camera today, and we all take a lot of photos. But if your photos still have trees coming out of your father’s head, mom has red-eye, and your beloved pet is never facing the camera then here are some tips to help you take better photos.

1. Use available light. If your digital camera has an option to turn the flash off, and it’s light enough outside to read a book then use the available light and turn the flash off. In general camera, flashes are too harsh for human skin and make all of us look pale. (Even better if your camera has a fill flash use that indoors where there isn’t enough daylight, and place the person by a window as well.)

2. Use ambient soft light. The reason that so many of use pose people under trees, and end up with the ruined photo with a tree coming out of dad’s head, is that we all instinctively know that soft light is best. Sunlight filtered through trees leaves is beautiful and warm. It warms up the skin and puts a soft light on the features. Indoors near a window with drapes has a similar effect.

3. Aim your camera slightly down at the person’s face. Now I don’t mean climb a ladder but just don’t ever, and I mean ever, point your camera looking up to a person. We all look fat and bloated at that angle. Also, don’t shoot just face on to the person, tries a little to the side, a three-quarter view, so that you see more of their face. Remember the camera higher looking down and a three-quarter view will slim your subject.

4. Remember your focus, are you taking a photo of mom and the tree, then take mom with the whole tree. But if you’re taking a photo of the mom next to a tree do we really need to see the entire tree? Get closer to your subject. We can see some tree bark with mom leaning against it, but showing the whole tree is a waste. Remember this tip with children, many people take a shot of their dear child for an expression on the child’s face, but in the printed shot, the child is lost next to another kid, the swing set, and the dog. Remember to get closer.

5. Never put your subject dead center. All family photographers do this, and it’s as hard of a habit to break as remembering to look at the background. But if you’ve moved closer to your subject remember to put them just slightly off-center. Not a lot just a bit. When you’re shooting even groups of people this is especially easy but odd-numbered groups are a little more difficult. Just find the imaginary center line of your group and put that line just a bit off-center in your view through your lens or screen.

With these tips, you can be on your way to taking better photos today.

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