Quick tips from an amateur photographer (that's me!)

Millions of pictures are taken each year, but few capture what the photographer is actually seeing, experiencing or feeling at the time.There are always exceptions to the rules, but the ones I’m noting will help the amateur photo-taker put to use some of the tricks used by professionals.Pros also know that they must snap dozens of photos to get one great shot.Luckily, easy to use cameras allow us to be creative without having to figure out the technical aspects of adjusting settings.

Time of Day

Professionals call it light quality.I call it taking advantage of the time of day when the sun is low in the sky.During mid- day, pictures taken outdoors will be washed out.Which is ok if it’s simply a photo memory of a place you’ve been, but if you really want a great shot, be mindful of the time of day and photograph what the sun is illuminating. Light is the main difference between average and great.

Storm Chasing

Some of the best outdoor photos are taken when the clouds are ominous, a storm is approaching or just passed. Now, I’m not encouraging you to get struck by lightning, so be safe. But storms that produce dramatic skies make dramatic landscape photos.

Bring some focus to your picture-taking

Generally speaking, great photos have one main subject that fills most of the picture.Identify what you want as your main subject, zoom in on your subject so that it fills the screen and take your picture.Your subject could be a waterfall, a kayak, a flower or a particular person.Give your shot some variety and try different vantage points.

Hold Still

Use a tripod or at minimum, brace your arm along the side of your body. If you want sharp photos in low light, you’ll need help holding still.

And finally, delete, delete, delete. At the end of the day clear out your bad shots. If you’re really into this – you’ll take dozens and dozens of pictures to get a few great shots.

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