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Whether you are using an expensive camera, which does not guarantee good pictures, or using your camera on your phone, there are a few things you should keep in mind when taking pictures. To take good pictures you do not need to be a professional either. It is all in how you view the world and the things in it. It is the moments that make pictures great! As a general rule there are 20 guidelines you should follow that can change the way you picture the world right away.

1. Get in good and close. If you think your pictures do not stand out or create the feeling you are looking for, take a few steps closer and get into the action. A nice close up can make a picture pop.

2. Practice or shoot daily. Make sure that you spend a few moments every day to practice the tips provided. Make sure you have your camera on you at all times so you do miss a moment.

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3. Use the light to your advantage. Don’t take pictures with the sun behind you as most people think. It tends to flatten your picture. However you need to make sure your subjects are facing the light to brighten the picture. To accomplish this use a flash during the day to brighten the mood whenever natural light isn’t sufficient. If you are in a stadium, gymnasium or a museum the only way to get a better picture is to turn off your flash and change your ISO to a higher setting to allow more natural light into the lens.

4. Read your camera or phone manual that describes the camera settings. Knowing how your camera functions is a vital part to taking pictures. Knowing what your camera will and will not do is important for the kind of pictures you want to take. There are also a lot of features that can enhance your photos.

5. Clean your lens. Making sure that soft dirt, dust, and debris are cleared off the lens will keep you from having to discard wonderful pictures you’ve captured.

6. Shoot the moment. Don’t take pictures for the sake of taking pictures. Life is a series of moments. And those moments make excellent pictures.

7. Move around. Pictures do not have to be taken from the same angle. Take shots in the moment by moving around and taking pictures from different perspectives. The change in scenery will amaze you!

8. Focus, focus, focus. Your camera will automatically focus either on what is in the center of the frame or on the object that is closest to the lens. To take amazing pictures you determine what your focus will be.

9. Frame it up! Look for natural frames for your pictures. You can use archways, door frames two trees or anything in a natural landscape. It is a simple technique that draws the focus back to your subject.

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10. What’s so funny? A properly timed joke or funny can enhance a photo opportunity.

11. Save a photo by going black and white. At times, you can have a photo that has bad lighting and poor coloring but a wonderful setting and perfect subject matter. Why not convert that picture into black and white? Your camera or phone often will have filters that allow you to recolor a photo. Another way to salvage a photo is to crop out the bad stuff and keep the good.

12. Be in the moment. Don’t be afraid to follow your subject. Get down to eyelevel and bring the camera up and around the subject. Don’t feel like head on is the only way to photograph your subject.

13. Slow down and shoot with your mind. Don’t be afraid to take your time. Notice expressions and gestures. Pay attention to all the details. There may be something you don’t want to miss.

14. KISS your pictures. Keep It Simple Stupid. Too much clutter or elements in a picture will keep people from focusing on your subject. So keep things simple.

15. Don’t buy unnecessary photography equipment. If you want to spend money, you should buy books to give you inspiration and to show you fresh techniques. Too many extras just gets confusing. Keep your equipment small and easy to handle.

16. The rule of thirds. Cut your frame in thirds both horizontally and vertically. A lot of cameras and phones will do this with the boxes that appear on your screen. Make sure to localize your subject in the grid.

17. Get comfortable. Both you and your subjects should be comfortable. You should be accustomed to the feel and the weight of you camera as well as being able to hold it steady. Cameras and phones come with a stability setting and it is a good idea to use it. Your subject should be comfortable as well to keep photos looking natural and not posed.

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18. Dusk to dawn. A good time to shoot pictures is at dusk or dawn. The colors are more vibrant and softer.

19. Take out the light. If you cannot get a good picture in the light move to the shade and use a flash. The shade can be a good friend.

20. Finally, be patient, persevere, and break the rules. You will get better over the course of time if you stick with it. Be sure to think out of the box and bend the rules when looking for subject matter and inspiration for beautiful photos. Your moment can be anywhere.

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Posted by Igor Ovsyannykov

I'm a digital nomad and entrepreneur bouncing around South East Asia. When I'm not working here, I'm out taking photos. Follow me on Instagram: @igorovsyannykov

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