Tips for Taking Great Digital Photos
DOs and DON'Ts. Tips to ALWAYS do, to NEVER do, and
to CONSIDER for great digital photos. Taking thousands of digital pictures
over several years has allowed me to become competent at digital photography. This in turn has led to this site, providing my ocean-related free high quality
photos and selling high resolution pictures collected over 40 years of working
on ocean and fisheries issues. I have also begun branching out with other themes
and also with my fledgling site about my favorite inventions and technology
See all the other Tips: Choosing
a Camera and Accessories , Taking Digital
Photos, Downloading Photos, and Editing Photos.
Get a large memory card of 1G or more. 8G cards are
less than $40 delivered and some are even high speed. Not all formats
support the high memory.
Use the maximum resolution, largest photo size and
least compression your camera will support. That is why you bought
that camera! Someday, perhaps 10 years from now, you may want to
project that picture on a wall. Or, you may just want to crop a piece
and have enough information for a printer, or not be embarassed
taking your pictures to show on a friend's big-screen TV.
Use a fill in flash (put flash ON) when the face
of your subject is in a shadow. Remember the flash only reaches
about 10 feet (3 meters). Get used to forcing a flash outdoors. Also,
some cameras will think you want only the nearby subject, if the flash is on, so they won't adjust for the distant parts of the picture.
Shut the flash off in dim lighting of distant shots
over 10 feet (3 meters) away, to force the camera to compensate.
Most cameras will think you want only the material in range of the
flash, if the flash is on.
- Lock the focus in a dark area of the scene, so you can take a picture
where the lighting is putting the subject in the shade.
- Use the MACRO mode for closeups. Often this is the
- Frame the picture in your mind. Imagine it on your
computer or a print. Move in close so you avoid the need to
crop, or at least you have enough data to support cropping. Don't
chop off body parts nor get too much sky.
Hold the camera steady, perhaps bracing your body,
or the camera, against a surface, particularly in dim light. Carry
a mini tripod in your pocket and practice using it.
- Turn the image
stabilization ON, if your camera has it.
- Use the tripod and your remote (if you have one)
to activate the timer for ultra crisp shots.
- Get on the same level as the subject. It might mean getting on the
floor for that special photo of your pet.
Books about Digital Photography
- For richer, warmer (brighter yellows and
reds) photos of outside portraits and sunny landscapes, change the
white balance setting to CLOUDY . It is normally on AUTO.
- For richer colors, use a polarizer filter
for landscapes and most outside photos to minimize reflections and
glare, just as with your sunglasses.
- Take a picture with various settings and
see the impacts by looking at the EXIF information that your camera
inserts into each the file of each picture.
- Use red - eye reduction on people or animal
shots, except where spontaneity is compromised.
- Learning the advance features on your camera: particuluarly "Best
Shot Selector (BSS)" for action shots or "Continuous Mode" for
stills. The actual name of these functions will vary, but BSS
is something a film camera just can't do.
- Get the subject in front of a plain background. It minimizes the
distractions. This is REALLY important if you are taking a passport
- Remove the camera memory card before turning off the camera. You
could ruin both, in addition to losing your pictures.
- Use digital zoom.
Well, almost never. If you need to blow up a piece of a photo, do
it on your computer.
- Leave the flash on AUTO when taking distant
shots. If the camera senses it is too dark, it will adjust for the
10 feet (3 meters) that the flash will illuminate, ignoring the focusing
and brightness of distant objects, such as performers on a stage
or mountains at sunset.