1. Obey the law of thirds
It's an old trick that creates visually pleasing images, but it works. Divide the view
finder into thirds, horizontally and vertically and compose the shapes in the frame
accordingly. Go into the camera's menu to the display function and activate the 鈥榞
rid 鈥? Don't cut your shots in half with the horizon.
2. Avoid overlap
Try where possible to keep people and objects separate, so if someone's head breaks
the horizon, get higher up by standing on something.
3. Choose your background carefully
A plain backdrop will help your subject stand out more. If the background is
distracting, switch to aperture priority and select the larger aperture (smaller number)
to decrease depth of field. This will put whatever is surrounding your subject out of
4. Flash off in low light, on in bright sunlight
If it's the only source of light, a flash is not very flattering, making subjects look
washed out. Let the mood of the ambient light hide their flaws. Bright sun often
leaves overly dark shadows. A flash fills them in nicely.
5. Change the perspective
Changing the angle of view can create real drama, even in the most tedious of family
portraits. Shoot from above, below and all around.
6. It's all in the eyes
Get your subject to look right down the lens, especially if they're up close, or have
them look at something off camera and into the distance or even at something within
7. Take your camera everywhere
Get into the habit of taking pictures of anything and everything you see that you find
interesting - you'll soon capture something extraordinary.
8. No comfort zones
Get your subject to do something out of the ordinary by coaxing them out of their
shells, like pulling a funny face, maybe lying down or leaping into the air.
If you have manual control, try a slower shutter speed, or put red colored tape over
the flash, boost the exposure compensation or select the slow sync flash option. The
list of options is long. Try them all.
10. Break the rules
Right, forget everything you've read and invent your own personal style.
Sandra Prior runs her own websites at http://usacomputers.rr.nu and