Here's some hot tips to shortcut you to taking great photos. Keep these in mind next time you are behind your cam and your pics will go from good to AWESOME !

1. Turn on rapid fire. Drill into your camera's menu and find continous shoot mode and enable it. Digital cameras are fantastic for image capture and it costs nothing to take ten shots instead of just one. Your strike rate for great captures will increase dramatically.

2. Stop taking photo's from eye level when you are standing up like everyone else does. If you are shooting people try to get the camera just underneath the height of their eyes or level with their chest. If you're shooting scenery get something of interest in the foreground by crouching and lowering the level of your cam. Look for a funky viewpoint to shoot from, whether that be from close to the ground, the cam resting on top of an object or someplace up high. Move around with your cam.

3. Don't follow the old rule of shooting pictures with the sun at your back. Some of the best shots are taken into the sun or side on to it.

4. Use the morning or afternoon sun for shooting everything except landscape shots. You can get away with landscape pics with a midday overhead sun but people look terrible under the same light. The afternoon sun adds a warmer cast to the colors in your pictures and shadows often add a fantastic element to pictures.

5. Drill into the menu system on your camera and turn off digital zoom. Optical zoom is great but all digital zoom does is reduce the quality of your pics. If you can't blow the subject up large enough with just the optical zoom then move closer if you can. Some of the best shots I've taken were with cam zoomed all the way out to wide angle and me physically next to the object or person in the pic.

6. Look behind your subject. Alot of folk clean forget about what the background is going to do to their finished picture. Take it one step further and actively look for a good background to place your subject in front of. Keep your subject aligned to the imaginery grid lines following the rule of 1/3rds

7. Start using your camera gear more. Carry a cam around with you (even if its a mobile phone) and constantly be looking for a cool photo opportunity. The more you do something the better you get.

8. Understand how lighting affects subjects. Try this experiment: Choose a sunny day, either mid morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky to get good side lighting. Place an interesting object out in the open and with your cam in continous shoot mode slowly cirlce the object shooting it from all diections. The best object to use is a person but if you don't have anyone handy then anything with a complex shape will work fine. Be sure to keep your cam at the same height as whatever you're shooting. Look at the pics afterwards on a pc and quickly flick through the image series in full screen. Notice how different lighting angles either enhance or detract from an image. Remember which angles work best and use them next time you're on a shoot. Do it, see it, understand it.

9. Don't use the flash indoors when shooting people. Turn it off in the menu system and learn to hold the cam rock steady. Using the flash often casts an ugly harshness to peole's faces.

10. Look for reflective surfaces to include in your shots. Incorporating these will often add a wow factor to your shots.

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