Let me say first that I am by no means claiming to be the best photographer out there! I have learned SO much the past year or so, and I still have a long, long ways to go. But what I do know, I can share with you! I'm giving you three really simple tips to taking better pictures - with any camera, smart phone, tablet, etc. I hope you find them helpful and can put them into practice!
1) Figure out WHAT you're taking a picture of.
Yep, the first step involves taking the camera away from your face! What are you taking a picture of? What are you trying to emphasize? If you're trying to show off your outfit, for instance, you are going to take a different picture than one of your child. Think about the best way to highlight the subject of your photo in the picture. If you are taking a picture of someone small, you may have to physically step a little bit closer, or he/she may get lost in the business of it. If you're excited about your vacation, step back!
Don't just get a picture of the hotel...look around you and see what surroundings look best in a picture! This is definitely common sense, but it helps to catch yourself BEFORE the picture and figure out WHAT you're taking a picture of.
2) Keep your finger off the zoom button (if you can).
This one is a little tricky, because it obviously depends on the situation, and sometimes you just can't get close enough to take a great picture. But a lot of smartphones especially only have digital zoom, which means that 'zooming in' is just cropping the picture, which makes for a pretty blurry subject.
When I first started photography, for some reason I was afraid of just moving my feet! Over the last year, a big transition has been to get fixed focal length lenses so if I want a tighter picture, I have to move over there and get it. This not only makes for better pictures, but it forces me to think through Step #1 before I snap the shutter - why do I want to zoom? Is there a better angle? How can I get the BEST picture of that person/thing both here and when I move closer? It will make a world of difference, I promise!
3) Use your camera program settings
Some of you reading this may know what manual or aperture mode is, but if you don't, use ALL of your camera's features to get the best picture! They won't work in every single case, but if you're in a tough situation - night time, low light, fireworks, or REALLY bright sunlight - your pictures can greatly improve by choosing the appropriate setting. You paid for that feature, so you may as well use it!
And if you don't like how the picture turns out with that setting, ask yourself why it didn't work in that situation. It won't always work, but a lot of times it will help steer you towards a much better picture. The picture below was taken in a REALLY dark room, but using the right settings, it looks like there was plenty of light!
That's all I'm covering for this post, but I have some awesome blogs coming up about lighting, posing, focus, and more! If you haven't already made a request on my Facebook page, comment below and let me know what questions you have about photography. Happy shooting!