Even if you don't know the first thing about photography, there are a few simple tricks to turn average snapshots into great captures! Whether you are using your camera phone or a basic point and shoot camera, you can benefit from the simple tips below!
The easiest trick of all is to get creative with your angles! Don't just pull out your camera and snap. The image here is a picture of my niece blowing out her birthday candles. What makes this picture a better than average image? The angle! I knelt on the floor and put my camera on the table. Because of the angle, you can see her entire face, rather than just the top of her head.
If your camera has the ability to turn off the flash, turn it off! In the same picture, my niece is sitting across from a big window. If I were to switch places with her, it would be nearly impossible to take this picture with a basic camera, UNLESS I used the flash. And let's face it, on-camera flashes are not very flattering. Natural light is your friend. It won't always be available, but take advantage of it when you can.
If you are outdoors on a sunny day, the single most important thing you can do to make a better picture, is put your subject in the shade! The sun gives off harsh light creating extremely unflattering shadows across the face. If there is absolutely no available shade, have your subject face away from the sun, and use your flash. (Or, if you're feeling creative and fun, don't use your flash... you just might capture a cool silhouette!) Yes, this contradicts what I said about shooting near windows, but window lighting is much different than direct sunlight.
Mind your background! Try to avoid any clutter or distractions behind your subject. If you're in your back yard, try shooting towards bushes and wooded areas rather than houses and parked cars.
I could go on, but I really want to keep this post simple for the individuals that have no real interest in learning photography, but still want to better their photographs.
But, who knows... maybe I'll start an absolute beginners guide?! Hmm.
portrait photographer located in Pittsburgh, PA.