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Digital Camera Tutorial: Spring Tips

7. Take your time.

Rather than just snapping away willy-nilly, stop and think for a moment. Look at the image in the viewfinder and try to picture it as a large print. Is there any way you can make it better? Should you move closer, or further away? Should you zoom in more tightly or try a wider view? Is the lighting right? Would the scene look better from a different direction or angle? If you're not sure, try it and see. Memory is cheap, and you should have enough of it if you read tip 3, so take lots of shots from different directions and positions and see which one works best. Experimentation is the beginning of creativity.

8. Look around you.

It sounds obvious, but the best photos are the ones that are a picture of something. Any fool can point and click snapshots of random scenes; but a photographer should be looking for a picture. Try to start thinking in terms of foreground, subject and background, and look up some articles on composition. If you want a nice portrait of someone, zoom in on them to exclude distracting backgrounds. For striking landscapes, try to include some foreground detail to add focus to the shot. As long as the photo has a clearly identifiable subject it will grab the interest of the viewer and make a stronger impression. It's also a lot more satisfying to put a bit of effort into your photography than to just snap away.

9. Never, ever digital zoom ever.

This is another feature that most cameras still have that really serves no purpose. Although camera companies keep coming up with new names for it ("Extra Optical Zoom", "Precision Digital Zoom" etcetera) it still boils down to enlarging and cropping the centre of the frame, producing a much lower quality image. What's the point of splashing out on a camera with a 10-megapixel sensor if you end up only using three of those megapixels? If you want 15x zoom, buy a camera with a longer lens. If your camera has an option to switch off digital zoom in the set-up menu, do so and never use it again.

10. Always carry a camera.

We've all done it; something funny or memorable happens and afterwards all you can say is "If only I'd had my camera…" There's no point spending £200 on a shiny new state-of-the-art digital camera if, when that perfect photo opportunity comes along, it's sitting in a cupboard at home. Modern compact cameras are so small and light that you can slip them into your pocket whenever you're going out, and this is a good habit to get into. Even more capable cameras with longer lenses are small enough to not be a nuisance, so there's no reason not to have your camera with you.


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