Three Simple Tips to INSTANTLY Improve Your Photography

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Would you like to see instant improvement in your photography? Here are three simple things that you can do RIGHT NOW that will make a big difference!

One - Turn on your viewfinder composition grid. If you’re having a hard time keeping your horizons straight, if you tend to misalign your subjects, or if you’d like a reminder that not EVERYTHING has to be centered, this tool will help you immensely. The grid is displayed according to the rule of thirds and is visible over the view you see through your viewfinder. I’ve found that it doesn’t take very long at all before this stops being distracting and starts being useful. You will find this setting in your camera’s menu – in my Canon 7D I access it by going to the fourth menu function tab, then choose Grid Display and select Grid Display #1. You should be able to find this option’s instructions quickly in your camera model’s user guide.

Two - Get the focus right. There’s nothing more frustrating than incorrectly focused photos, so in order to get the focus right you need to stop relying on your camera’s handy dandy auto-focus function to choose the focus point for you – because it’s going to get it wrong. A lot. Auto-focus tends to want to focus on the object or part of the scene that is closest to the camera, and sometimes we just don’t want that! Learn how to manually select the AF focal points or focal zones on your camera. The ability to move the focal point around is extremely useful when you’re trying to focus on a specific point that is not centered in the frame.

Three - Ask yourself questions. This will force you to slow down and really consider your photograph’s composition. What is my subject? How does the light fall? Are my lines/horizons straight? Can I pre-focus this shot to prepare for action and movement? Where will the viewer’s eyes automatically be drawn? How can I fill the frame? Will a change in perspective benefit this shot? You don’t have to ask yourself ALL of these questions before you take your photograph, but get into the habit of doing a little self-check. It’s even useful to ask yourself these questions after you’ve take the shot and are previewing it on the camera. It will give you the opportunity to take the photo again and improve upon it.

Do you have more tips to share? Let us know in the comments!

Photo credits (in order of appearance):
- “Rose Bud” by Abhijit Tembhekar on Flickr Creative Commons.
- “Focus…” by Kenny Louie on Flickr Creative Commons.
- “Glowing Tracks” by Tiffany Joyce

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