One of the biggest challenges when shooting photos is getting to the heart of the story
without have the benefit of explanation or embellishment. These basic photography tips will
start you on your way to capturing amazing photos. Check out the links below for example photos
and more advanced techniques.
Get a variety of shots -- and a lot of them
Resist the temptation to shoot only a few images of a scene. It's always better to have more
material than you think you need. Shoot wide, medium and tight shots, because a series of images
with different points of view will help portray emotion and show the scope of the scene. The best
shots are often the most simple, so don’t forget to get in close to your subject to capture emotion
Use the rule of thirds
When taking a picture, it's not surprising that your first instinct may be to place the subject smack
dab in the center of the frame. But for a more compelling composition, imagine the scene that you're
going to photograph with imaginary lines dissecting the frame into three sections, horizontally and
vertically. Rather than always placing the subject in the center of the frame, put it in one third of
the frame -- just a bit off-center. This placement gives the subject room to "move" in or out of the frame;
it also adds pizzazz to the overall photograph, showing the viewer the environment the subject is in.
Know how to use your flash
In low-light situations, use a tripod and a flash that is balanced with the available light. You can also
try using your flash with a slower shutter speed. If you can, take the flash off your camera and avoid
pointing it directly at the subject. You can bounce the flash off the ceiling or wall if your camera has
the ability. And keep this in mind: The best flash photos are those in which you can't tell the photographer
used a flash.
Check the background
Try to avoid distracting backgrounds. Plain backgrounds often work best. And don't forget to make sure your
subject doesn't have anything sticking out of his or her head, like a tree or a utility pole.
(It happens more than you think.)
Keep it steady
You must hold your camera steady to get a quality shot. A tripod comes in handy, but you can also try to
use something (like a railing or table) to prop your elbows on to help steady the camera.
Frame your elements
Try using elements from the foreground of a scene, like tree branches, to create a frame within the edges
of your photograph. The use of framing draws the viewer to the main subject and helps to add depth and interest.
Light it up
Be sure to consider the quality of the natural light around you when you're taking your pictures. The great,
golden light available in the afternoons and early evenings is much more illuminating and flattering than the
harsh daylight in the middle of the day. Always remember to keep the sun at your back.
Map out the story
Think ahead about what shots you'll need. You can even sketch out a storyboard if you are shooting a narrative.
And remember to vary your shots. It takes different angles to tell a complete story.
Learn more Photography 101
CNN photojournalists illustrate the above tips and more in this photo essay of strong iReport and CNN images.
More beautifully illustrated photography secrets from CNN photojournalists.
Making the best of your equipment
Learn to take the best quality photos you can with whatever gear you have, whether it's a DSLR or the camera
on your phone -- and figure out when it's time to upgrade.
Amazing travel photos are something nearly every photographer, professional or amateur, aspires to. These tips
will have you shooting frame-worthy images in no time.