That is, you want to post better photos, but you’re not a trained photographer. Heck, you’re not even sure what the ‘P’ setting means on that Canon DSLR that you got for your birthday last year. (I’m not sure what that ‘P’ setting means. Picture? Perfect? Pretty? And while we’re on the subject: what does the ‘M’ stand for? Why don’t those things come with a glossary, seriously?) (I should maybe read the manual, right?) Never fear! You can get great photos even without having the slightest clue how to get off those auto settings. Jason – photog, dad, and all-around great guy – is here to give us some simple tips. His first? GET CLOSER.)
Here it is. The one thing that will make your next portrait, landscape or holiday snapshot a whole lot better:
Zoom in. Walk up. Scootch nearer. Whatever it takes, fill that frame with your subject. Too many picture takers stay too far away whatever they’re shooting. That distracts from the image. Your eye doesn’t know whether to look at the cute face your son is making or the miles of extra headroom around him. Getting close allows you to focus on the emotion and on the moment. There are technical reasons for this we’ll talk about in future blog posts, but for now do everything you can to get nice and tight on your subject.
A couple of pointers to help out…
Get even closer:
Think you’re close enough? Take one more medium step closer if you can (just watch out for that cliiiiiiiiiiiifffff). That extra push is often all you need to turn a good looking pic into a great looking one.
Cut off faces and places:
Don’t be afraid to crop out part of the face of a building to get the shot. Getting pieces of the image can often make what you’re zooming in on more powerful and interesting to look at. I got in nice and close on my daughter is the shot up above.
Turn off the digital zoom:
Your camera promised you 24x zooming capability. That’s a bit of a marketing whitewash. Most of that zoom is often something called “digital zoom.” That’s when your camera uses software to zoom in on your image instead of relying on the lens to do that. You’ll often get fuzzy, blurry shots when you zoom in all the way here. Turn this “feature” off for better pictures. And hey, if you decide you need the feature, know that you can accomplish the exact same thing in just about any digital editing program.
There will be a lot of times where wider is better, but for now get ready for the close up – you’ll get instant oohs and ahhs.