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Top 5 Questions to Ask When Taking a Photo

So what goes through your mind when your out and about taking pictures? Do you have a plan, do you go out to capture a certain picture or moment, or do you go out and just take a bunch of pictures, hoping for the best?

If your like most people, you just hope to get a bunch of good pictures to post or enlarge but planning ahead can help you out in the long run.

1. Straight and Level

One of my biggest pet peeves in photography is when a picture isn't straight.

Sometimes its difficult to do perfectly and often can be corrected in post production. This also applies to camera shake and how you hold the camera. Focus on deep breathing while taking pictures - much like being a marksman sniper. It is also important to try to follow the rule of 3rds - your horizon should be 1/3 from the top or bottom.

2. Is your picture telling a story?

One of the biggest challenges in photography, but regardless, you should be taking pictures that tell a nonverbal story. Are there emotions that you want to convoy to the viewer - maybe the love shared between two people. Ask yourself "why am I taking this picture? What is it's purpose and what message do I want to convey?"

2. Focus

What are you focusing on. What do you want viewers to see. What do you want your viewers eyes to be drawn to and look for competing focus points and ask yourself if they are distracting or not. Should you reposition yourself? Think of the rule of thirds for example.

3. Are you close enough?

Another common mistake in digital photography is taking shots where your subject is too small in the frame. Shots that fill the frame with your subject tend to be much more dynamic and show a lot more detail of your subject. To get this effect you have the option of moving yourself closer, moving your subject closer or using a longer focal length to give the effect of closeness.

4. Is there enough light?

Always give consideration to how your subject is lit. Without light you’ll lose detail and clarity in your image and your camera will have to compensate by doing things like increasing ISO and lengthening shutter speeds (which could lead to noisy and blurred images). What is the main source of light, where is it coming from, is there enough light, do you need artificial light sources (flash etc), do you need to stabilize your camera on a tripod to stop camera shake due to low light etc. Read more on using artificial light here and here as well as photographing moving subjects in low light conditions.Crooked-2

5. How will someones eye travel through this image? This is related to asking about focal points but gets in touch with the fact that while you’re photographing a still image your viewers eyes don’t remain still as they look at an image. People tend to follow lines and are attracted to shapes and colors so considering all of these different visual elements and cues can help improve your shots considerably. Read more on horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines and how they impact a shot.

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