Any person who picks up a camera for fun, without experience, follows the point-and shoot method of photography. You point the camera at what you like, click the button, and you have a picture. Not much thought goes into this kind of photography, thus resulting in less than great photos.
Point-and-shoot photography can be improved with two simple tips I learned in one of my first photography classes. Knowing these tips can help lay-out a photograph pleasing to the eye, and you may even surprise your friends with the higher quality the image will give off.
The two most helpful tips I have learned so far are the Rule of Thirds and follow the horizon. If you can learn these tips and incorporate each in every photograph taken, you won’t be sorry with the result.
Tip 1: Rule of Thirds
A giant shout out needs to go to the teacher, whose name has escaped my memory, that taught me the Rule of Thirds. Every photo I take looks of a higher quality now just because of this one simple rule.
When looking at your viewfinder or digital camera screen, imagine the image you are about to capture on a grid separated into three equal sections horizontally and vertically.
Once you have this grid imagined (some cameras even have a setting that allows you to put this grid on your viewfinder), set up the image so your subject of focus is not in the middle square when following the Rule of Thirds.
In the image above, you can see the bee and the flower fall on the upper right-hand corner of the last grid line. By not placing the focus subject in the center of the image, you can create multi-dimensions and a more interesting, high quality feel to the finished photograph.
Play around with where you have your subject fall, and you will definitely surprise yourself with the professional looking outcome you get.
Tip 2: Follow the Horizon Line
Point-and-shoot photography is riddled with uneven horizon lines. I honestly never noticed it until I learned this tip in a photography class. Whether outside or inside, try and keep your background as level as possible.
Outdoors is a piece of cake. Find the horizon line, and make sure it is level with one of your Rule of Thirds horizontal lines. It doesn’t need to fall on the line, I just like to use that as a guideline for leveling. When your horizon line is level, your image will automatically look more professional.
Indoors is a little harder, because you probably don’t have the horizon to use. I like to find something in my background that is a straight level horizontal line and use that as a reference.
Now, just combine both of these tips together, and you will have a high quality picture with the just point-and-shoot method of photography. Don’t you wish you had an easy button? And that’s all I have to say about that.