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Great Tips on Taking Good Pictures with Your Digital Camera

written by: Diana Cooper•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 2/7/2011

Don't just point and shoot. Learn how to take good pictures with a digital camera. Know what you can do to make your photos more exciting to share with your family and friends.

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    With today's technology, digital cameras can do the work for you to produce good pictures. However, there are things you can do to capture the best. Whether your camera has only auto settings or it gives you the option to manually control the settings, the following tips will help you know how to take good pictures with a digital camera. All photos in this article were taken by me. Click on images to enlarge.

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    Knowing Your Digital Camera

    Understanding how a digital camera works will help you to take good photos:

    Megapixel - A low megapixel camera can produce a high quality picture but the higher the megapixel, the higher quality you will get when printing large pictures like an 11x13.

    ISO - The ISO indicates how sensitive the camera's sensor is to light. A low number is best when taking pictures in bright light and a high number is best for low-light. Using a high ISO can help you take a picture in low-light without using a flash.

    Depth of Field (DOF) - This is the distance from the foreground to the background of the photo that is in sharp focus. You can focus on a particular subject and blur unnecessary clutter by using a decreased DOF or you can capture a clear shot of the person standing nearby you as well as the distant background using an increased DOF. Below are a few ways you can control DOF.

    Focus - For a decreased DOF, focus on an object close to the camera. For an increased DOF, focus on an object far way.

    Zoom - For a decreased DOF, you will want to zoom in on your subject using a telephoto lens. For an increased DOF, you will want to use a wider lens. For high quality pictures, you will want to use "optical zoom" and not "digital zoom".

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    Macro mode - This setting allows you to stand just inches away from your subject. It is good for taking close-ups of flowers, insects or other small objects. Macro mode decreases DOF, allowing you to focus on the smallest details. Do not zoom in or use flash when using this setting.

    Aperture and Shutter speed - Aperture is how wide the shutter opens. A wide opening, like f/2, allows more light to enter than a narrow opening like f/22. A wide opening decreases DOF and a narrow opening increases DOF. Shutter speed is how long the shutter stays open. A slow shutter speed, like 1/4, allows more light in than a fast shutter speed like 1/1000. Using a slow speed can catch motion and using a fast speed can "freeze" motion.

    These two settings work together. To prevent over and under exposure, a wide aperture will cause the speed to be fast and a narrow aperture will cause it to be slow. When using a slow speed, you are at risk of camera shake which can blur your picture. To prevent this, you will need to support the camera with a device like a tripod. If you don't have a tripod, you can place the camera on a flat sturdy surface. When you don't want to use a tripod because of its inconvenience, hold your elbows close to your body, hold your breath when pressing the camera's button and don't let go of the button until the shot is finished.

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    Continue to page 2 for simple tips on taking good pictures with your digital camera.

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    Tips on Taking Good Pictures with Your Digital CameraFind fun and easy tips to make your photos more exciting. Learn how you can get good pictures with your digital camera.
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    Simple Tips for Taking Better Photos

    Now that you know how a digital camera works, let us look at some simple tips on taking good pictures:

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    hawk tree branch in front of the moon Have the light source, which can include the sun, moon, fire or artificial lighting, behind your subject to create a silhouette.

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    orange tree 

    Make the picture interesting by framing the subject with some type of object. In the following picture, a branch of an orange tree is framing an orange tree in the background.

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    sky lake 

    Use reflections to make the picture exciting. The first picture below is the reflection of the sky on a black hood of a car. Water is another good source to capture reflections, whether it is a large lake or a small puddle on the ground.

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    tree spider Experiment with angles instead of just shooting head on. I used a wide lens with the tree picture to let the base of the tree look larger.

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    Place your subject off-center. If you have a digital camera that does not focus outside of the center, press your shutter button half way down while focusing on your subject in the center, move your camera to place your subject off-center while still holding down the shutter button and once you have your subject where you want it, press the button all the way down.

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    turtle turtle 

    Get on the ground and hold your camera at eye level.

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    riding a bike 

    You learned on page 1 that a slow shutter speed creates motion. To create even more motion, you can pan your shot. Follow your subject with your camera while using a slow speed. This blurs the subject as well as the background.

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    cicada breaking free from its shell dragonfly captured by spiders Look for exciting shots outside.

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    Milkshake Marshmallow 

    Be creative and use props to make a cute picture even cuter.

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    One More Tip

    Now that you know how to take good pictures with a digital camera, have fun and don't be discouraged if they don't turn out so great. This is a good thing about digital cameras - if you don't like the picture, delete it. However, before you delete it, look at it and ask yourself what you could have done to make it better. Happy shooting!

    All photos in this article were taken by the author.