While it’s true that some memorable moments are best preserved by a professional photographer, such as weddings, births, milestones, and other important events, there are countless times when it’s up to you to capture the important moments in your life. To help you preserve those moments in time, we’ve compiled a list of easy photography tips that every amateur photographer should know.

  1. Buy a decent camera: To take great pictures, you need a good-quality DSLR camera. DSLR, or digital single-lens reflex, is a camera that has interchangeable lenses. The term, “single-lens reflex” refers to how the scene, after traveling through the lens, is directed by a mirror and prism system to the viewfinder, enabling the photographer to view the scene exactly as the camera will capture it. A digital camera is equipped with an image sensor, which detects and conveys the information needed to create the image. The scene that travels through the lens is alternately directed to the viewfinder or the image sensor, so that what’s viewed in the viewfinder is the same image as the one captured by the image sensor. The mechanisms and process are complicated but that’s the basic idea. Beginners would do well with any entry-level DSLR from a reputable brand such as Canon or Nikon.

  1. Know your camera: Rather than pulling a camera out of the box and starting to immediately snap pictures with it, take the time to really familiarize yourself with your new investment. All those buttons and dials can seem so intimidating that you default to using “Auto” mode all the time. This, of course, would be a mistake and a waste precious resources that can help you take better pictures. So, take the time to find out what special features it has and how you can use them properly. At the very least, read the owner’s manual accompanying your equipment. Want to learn more tips and tricks specific to your camera? Google the model number or name, and you’re sure to find video tutorials, “how-to” blog posts, and more.

  1. Get in close: Generally speaking, the closer you are to your subject, the better. Avoid using the zoom lens if you can, as this will decrease picture quality and sharpness. Instead, get closer to your subject! Fill your frame with as much of the subject as possible for the most impact. This is an incredibly easy photography tip that can help you take better photos with just about any camera.

  1. Know how to use flash: The flash control is probably the first control you should know how to use in order to enhance the quality of your photos. Better lighting = better photos, so follow your manual’s tips for using the controls offered on your camera. While it’s a no-brainer that you should always use the flash indoors or in any type of dim lighting, you should also know that using your flash on sunny days can help lighten areas normally cast in shadow by the bright light of the sun. This can be especially useful when you want to capture someone’s face clearly on a sunny day.

  1. Understand shutter speed: Want to capture the perfect action shot, such as your daughter scoring the winning goal at her soccer match? Use a very fast shutter speed (at least 1/500th to 1/1000th of a second) to capture the image without blurriness. A very slow shutter can better capture a streaky image such as a light arcing through the sky.

  1. Follow the rule of thirds: Ever seen a triptych? This style of artwork splits a single image onto three separate canvases that are placed side-by-side, with each canvas showing a third of the image. Keep the triptych in mind when capturing your photos, and try to imagine splitting the scene captured in your lens into vertical thirds. Then, line up your subject, whether it be a person or an object, on one of the two imaginary lines dissecting the picture. Click the shutter and voila! You’ve instantly taken a more professional and more visually appealing photo.

Want more easy photography tips? Take a look around our blog for other posts on taking better photos. Have a big event coming up that you want to preserve forever? Give Craig Collins Photography a call today at 973-335-1505 and let us capture those special memories so that you can simply enjoy making them!