New year, new camera. So what now? Unfortunately, owning a shooter is only half the battle won. Anyone can point-and-shoot. But to attain those dazzling vacation shots that your best buddy just showed off to you, you'll need to understand basic photographic techniques and avoid those common mistakes.
We have some tips that should get you started.
1. Get better photos by avoiding common mistakes
One of the great advantages of digital photography is being able to fix the flaws in your photos. However, you can save yourself a lot of time simply by taking better photos in the first place. Here are a few simple suggestions for improving your results:
Use the flash: It's often nice to turn off the flash, but for dimly lit, indoor snapshots, the flash can make the difference between a hit and a miss.
Avoid red-eye by changing your angle: If you shoot someone's face dead on, you'll get the maximum amount of red-eye. Move to a slight angle to decrease the intensity of the red-eye.
Get closer to your subjects: Some photographers tend to stand too far away, especially when shooting portraits. Of course, if you intend to include a large amount of the background, then by all means stand back. Otherwise, get close to your subject!
Pay attention to your composition: Always ask yourself if there is anything in this picture that you don't want. If the answer is yes, then move it or move yourself to avoid it.
2. Get better prints from your digital camera
Sometimes you'll discover that photos look great on your camera's LCD screen but are disappointing when you print them.
Part of the problem is that flaws can be difficult to see on your digital camera's small LCD screen. But sometimes your image simply needs a little cleanup. If you have a photo that prints poorly, try modifying the image in Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements before printing.
In some cases, lightening or darkening an image makes a dramatic difference. And sometimes it helps to boost the contrast or to use the sharpening filter (however, we recommend that you do so sparingly).
3. Put your photos online for friends and family to enjoy
Snapping a huge number of photos with a digital camera is easy, but finding a practical way to share your pictures with friends and family can be a hassle. Fortunately, there are many Web sites that allow you to upload your photos to online albums, as well as order prints of them to be mailed to your home.
Photo-sharing Web sites, such as Webshots, Shutterfly, or Flickr let you arrange your photos into albums and display them for visitors. Many of these sites also offer online image-editing tools.