top 10 digital photography tips
Your Photography Education Starts HERE!


-Advice on accessories, Cameras and lenses 
-tips on lighting, composition And exposure

DSLR CameraDigital Photography Tips

These are the top 10 digital photography tips. Take a quick peek and then pick a few to start with and you will be well on your way to quickly improving your photography. You'll also find resources for furthering your photography education, as well as more in depth coverage on specific photography topics.

Okay, dive into these 10 powerful tips and learn how to take your photography to a whole new level.  

1. PLAY WITH PERSPECTIVE

This is perhaps one of the best photography tips to try first. You're going to shoot from different angles and different heights. Most photographers just automatically bring the camera up to their eye and shoot everything from that vantage point. For the best results try several different vantage points and distances of the same subject. There are many different perspectives to take that will dramatically affect how your subject looks.

Photo of dog from aboveTypical perspective

Photo of dog from ground levelBetter perspective

Another way you can change your perspective is to shoot a subject with either a vertical or horizontal camera view. Try holding your camera both in the up and down (vertical) position as well as the (horizontal) side to side orientation. Some subjects look much better photographed one way rather than the other.

Red roses-landscape perspectiveHORIZONTAL - Typical Perspective

Red roses - portrait perspectiveVERTICAL - Better Orientation

It is often better (not always) to match the the direction you orient your camera to the shape of your subject. You can shoot both very easily and decide later which photo you like better.

2. USE A FEW SPECIFIC COMPOSITION TIPS

Get a grasp of just a few composition techniques and it's amazing how much better your photos will come out. The easiest digital photography tip to play around with first, in regards to composition, is the rule of thirds.

It's very popular in landscape photography, but can be used in portraits, nature photos, and many other types of photography. Simply stated, this rule says you should place your main subject very close to or aligned with imaginary lines at the 1/3 distances from either edge of your camera's frame.

rule of thirds on camera LCDComposed with Fisherman at a 1/3 line

You can also place the subject at the intersection of two of those 1/3 lines. Some newer cameras have the ability to have those lines show up on your LCD screen or inside your viewfinder. For more examples and tips on composing photos and the rule of thirds, there's a separate article on just the rule of thirds here and a very detailed article with more composition tips here.

3. BECOME  a "CAPTAIN CROPPER"

Eliminating clutter in your photos can often give them a lot more visual impact. Crop in closer to emphasize your subject more. It's simple to do.

While teaching a photo workshop last year at a local high school I realized how much my students could benefit from this technique. I use this technique frequently and like to crop in closer and simplify many of my photos.  I confessed to my photography students in that class how I often turn into "Captain Cropper" and it really will help you improve a lot of your photographs.

You can do some "cropping" in two different ways. The first is the easiest way. You can simply use your zoom lens and zoom in closer to your subject while you are composing your photo.  This makes your main subject more dominant in the photo. The first photo below is a nice photo, but look how much more interesting the sky and clouds look when I zoomed in closer.

Wide angle sunsetWide angle - 40mm lens setting
Tighter cropped photoZoomed in to 105mm lens setting

In the case of this sunset photo I included the fencing and some of the blue sky in the wide angle shot. In the 2nd photo, I zoomed into a telephoto setting and the sky became more of the prominent part of the photo.

The second way you can crop in tighter is by using photo editing software later. Look at the photo of this young couple in front of the Gazebo. Cropping in tighter often simplifies the photo and eliminates background distractions and makes your subject more dominant in the photo. 

Loosely framed photoToo wide of a view
Tighter cropped photoCropped closer = better photo

Being a editing/retouching geek I often shoot my scenes a little wide at first and then I'll experiment later with exactly how I want it cropped. It all depends on your preferences. This requires a little more effort on your part, but it gives you the time and flexibility to really nail down your cropping just right. If you want to get it right immediately and not have to mess around with software, do all your "cropping" with your zoom lens on your camera.

4. LEARN APERTURE PRIORITY AND SHUTTER PRIORITY CAMERA SETTINGS

Automatic camera setting dialAutomatic Mode
Aperture priority setting dialAperture Priority Mode
Shutter priority camera settingShutter Priority Mode

I know it's a little scary for some of us photographers to venture away from keeping your camera set on Automatic, but once you play around with these two semi-automatic camera settings, you'll see why so many pros use them to get really remarkable photos.

Hey, I get it. I know there's nothing wrong with going automatic, but you want to take advantage of your camera's technology expand your creativity and take better digital photos. This is one way you can do it. What you want to do is experiment with photos when the results you get don't matter. In other words, play around with the settings when the pictures aren't important.  

WHEN AND WHY TO USE APERTURE PRIORITY

If you use Aperture Priority Mode you'll set the aperture (the f/stop number) and the camera will set the right shutter speed for you to get a good exposure. Setting the f/stop number means you'll get to control exactly what is and is not in focus in your photo. That's called depth of field.

Aperture priority setting dialAperture Mode

Aperture priority for deep depth of fieldUse a small aperture to get everything in focus
Aperture priority for shallow depth of fieldUse a large aperture to get a blurry background

Use aperture priority and a large f/stop number like f/11 or f/16 when you want everything to be in sharp focus like this first photo, the landscape photo of the babbling brook. Use aperture priority and a small f/stop number like f/5.6 or lower to get a blurry background on purpose, like this photo of the sea gull.

Example of shallow depth of fieldAperture Priority Situation


Another situation where you can use this technique is when you are shooting portraits. You can improve the visual separation between you subject and its background. You'll be using a shallow depth of field to your advantage. 

If you "open up" your lens in aperture priority mode to the biggest opening (the smallest f/stop number you can) you'll get a nice, pleasing, out of focus background.

This is why portrait photographers love and use aperture priority mode.


WHEN AND WHY TO USE shutter pRIORITY

If you use Shutter Priority Mode you'll set the shutter speed and the camera will set the right aperture for you to get the correct exposure. When you control the shutter speed, you get to control how much blur, if any, that you want in your photograph.

Shutter priority setting dialShutter Mode

Fast shutter speed exampleSet your shutter speed fast, 1/200 second
Slow shutter speed exampleSet your shutter speed slow, 1 second

5. USE A TRIPOD


Yes, there are obvious situation when you'll need a tripod as a necessary camera accessory to get the shot you want. There are other benefits to using a tripod too when you don't have to. More on that in a second.

stable tripod

First, you will need a tripod in many situations where the shutter speed is too slow to get a sharp photo. Use a tripod when you're shooting at night or in a dark room and you can't use flash. Tripods are also great when you're shooting a subject where you are prohibited from using any flash at all.

Moon photo shot with tripodMuch Better Results By Using a Tripod

Car light trails shot with tripodTripod Needed For Car Light Trails

Using a camera tripod often leads to sharper pictures in general and also gives you the ability to stop down your lens to a smaller aperture setting and get more depth of field. Tripods also have many specialty reasons to be used:

  • Time lapse photography
  • Event photography of a recurring occurrence
  • Eliminate arm fatigue from holding a long lens
  • Shooting smoother video
  • You get more respect as a photographer
  • Self portraits
  • Astrophotography
  • High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography

THE HIDDEN BENEFIT OF USING A TRIPOD

There's a hidden benefit of using a tripod, and it could be a big benefit for you. Tripods slow you down. Rather than use the quick look-aim-shoot method, setting up your tripod forces you, in a good way, to take more time to view your scene.

You become more of an intentional photographer, thinking of what you like about a potential subject and how you want to photograph it. Here's how to get the most stability out of your tripod.


6. KEEP A CAMERA WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES.

Take it anywhere cameraMy first Take-It-Anywhere Camera

Whether it's your DSLR, a point and shoot camera, or your smartphone, you want to make it a deliberate practice to have one ready and use your camera frequently. The best photographers are the ones who've practiced more and have taken the most photos.

Practice sounds like a dirty word, but make it playful practice in your mind and then it becomes a fun activity.

Even if it's only a cell phone camera, you can practice your technique using most of the top digital photography tips in this post. The more you look to take interesting photos for practice, the more photo opportunities will present themselves to you.

Avoid that sinking feeling of seeing an opportunity for a great shot and not having a camera with you. That's really one of the biggest mistakes you can make with your photography.


7. AVOID USING YOUR CAMERA'S POP-UP FLASH

DSLR pop-up flash

You can use your pop-up flash for emergency situations, but it generally disappoints when it comes to using it as the main source of light to illuminate your subject. You have a few other options with your DSLR camera.

You can set your ISO to a high number so that you can get a good exposure without any flash. This will give you a much more natural look.

You can also use an external  flash gun and bounce the flash against a nearby ceiling or wall to get a much more flattering light. Look at the two different results you'll get by following this tip.

direct camera flashLit by direct flash

bounce flash lightLit by bounced flash gun

I did this comparison in lighting techniques by photographing a frosted light shade hanging over our billiards table. The first photo on the left is with the pop-up flash activated. You get a distracting shadow on the wall behind the light. If you use a separate flash attached to your camera's hot shoe, you can aim it at the ceiling and get the softer, more natural lighting shown in the second photo on the right.


8. WATCH YOUR BACKGROUND

Choose a perspective that gives you a background that won't be distracting. It's easy to focus on your subject and fail to pay attention to the background behind your subject. Look at the two backgrounds behind the camera photographed below.

example of bad photo backgroundDistracting background

example of good photo backgroundSimple background

I set my camera on the table and took the first photo on the left with a plant behind it. Can you say distracting? Then, simply by changing my angle just a little, I shot the next photo from a spot that gave me a much simpler background.

Sometimes it takes a little more effort than this simple example. Simply noticing the background will make a big difference in your photography. Take that one extra second to notice the background and figure out what you can do about it.

9. HAVE A BACK-UP PLAN

What good is it to follow all of these tips for better digital photos if you don't have a plan on how to avoid losing them to a corrupted camera memory card or a crashed hard drive? Backing up used to be a painful process for me and I know it's not on your list of fun and engaging activities you want to put on your growing "to do" list.

Whether you burn a DVD or Blu-Ray backup disk, save your photos to a external hard drive, or use the internet "cloud" to copy your precious photos, it's important to have a plan in place that works for you. I've struggled with 4 or 5  different methods of backup over the last 18 years before finding an automatic system which I'm now hooked on. Here's more on photography backup systems.


10. HAVE FUN learning photography tips

Adopt an attitude of curiosity, exploration, or playful learning. We are all on this Earth for a limited time. Don't waste your time getting frustrated with a bad photo you took. The most important photography equipment you'll ever own is nestled in between your eyes.

Attitude is everything. Don't get ticked off or stressed. Get inquisitive about what you can do differently the next time you take the shot. The most successful photographers are the ones who've taken the most photos.

Never give up

Use just a few select digital photography tips and the right camera equipment, mix in your own unique talents, and take truly great photos. It really is a m-a-g-i-c-a-l time to be interested in digital photography.

You're ready to make amazing photographs that you'll be proud of. This website will help you get there. Whether you're a beginner or an advancing enthusiast, there are plenty of free photography tips for you to use here. You're probably wondering where to start. After all, the title of this article is killer photography tips.

This site has thousands of tips This photography blog was started in 2007. There are more photography tips here than you know what to do with, but that's okay. You get to choose the digital photography tips that you're interested in.  

Explore one of the topics above, use the navigation links in the side column on any page of this website, or just use the Google search box to search this site and get the answers you're looking for on a specific topic. Search For An Article. Want to know the magic formula to get the great photos you've always wanted?  It's really quite simple.

The magic mix formula for taking great photos


Okay, so maybe it doesn't seem like real magic to you, but to me digital photography is practically miraculous.

That's because I started in the late 1960s with completely manual cameras, black and white film, and waiting about 1 full week to view my black and white prints. It was fun then, but now I find it amazing.

Great photo formula

Here's the honest truth.

I've made plenty of mistakes shooting photos. I wasn't born with a natural talent. Maybe you've made a few mistakes too. I've either used the wrong camera setting or I've used the wrong technique plenty of times. Sometimes it's just a matter of using the wrong lens or not having the right accessory. I didn't blow it on purpose. That's just how it goes sometimes.

Well the good news is that you don't have to waste as much time and make the same mistakes. I learned mostly by trial and error, long before the internet was even a thought in somebody's mind. This web site gives you shortcuts to taking better photos by using the right equipment and adding in your unique talents. You can also leave feedback here on what's on your mind.

digital photography lighting exampleMy photos have gotten a lot better. Please share this photo if you like it. It helps me grow this site.

Technology has given you great tools to play with and there's an abundance of photography information for you to use. Go ahead and jump in!

Digital Photography Tips You can Use Right Away:

Explore the site for photography tips, reviews on camera accessories, and tutorials on lighting, composition, and exposure. It's all to help YOU become a better photographer. The collage below is made up of some of the photos I've taken to use for this site. I've been lucky to have some great photography mentors. Now I am passing on the information to you.


Collection of Photos From the Digital Photography Tips Web SiteCollection of Photos From The Digital Photography Web Site

Digital cameras are supposed to do everything for us, right?  Auto-exposure.  Auto-focus. Automatic white balance. Then why do so many of our pictures still disappoint us?

Welcome to the Digital Photography Tips web site.  You can take your digital photography to a whole new level.  

  • You have access to hundreds of articles on camera equipment and accessories.
  • You can get help with composition, lighting, and posing.
  • You can find tips on cameras, lenses, and tons of digital photography equipment.


have you ever been disappointed with how your photos come out?

Plenty of photographers take bad photos. I know I have and I think if you're being completely honest. It seems like some people always take great photos and some of us struggle a lot more. The truth is we've all taken bad photos. It still happens to me sometimes, but all the practice I get know surely helps. But there is good news, it's not that hard to improve your photography. Let me tell you something....

It is simply an amazing time to have an interest in photography

Digital photography and the technology that has come along with it have given us so many great tools to work with.  The cameras, accessories, software and information choices we have at our disposal are remarkable. There is a learning curve of course, and that's what led to this website.

Why should you even care about this web site? Well, if you're like most people, you've had a few disappointments with some of the pictures you've taken in the past.  I know I've taken my share of bad photos.

If  A Picture is worth a thousand words.......

.....think how many words and messages you can communicate with your photography.

Perhaps you've caught yourself wondering why some people seem to have a knack for taking great photos.  You may also might have a question about a specific piece of photography equipment or want to know about a camera accessory.

Don't worry there's still hope. It's never too late to learn. In fact, that's good philosophy to have. Life is a continuous learning experience. I don't know if you found this site accidentally, were actually looking for some digital photo tips or needed some help with choosing digital photography equipment.   It is my hope that you will be be glad you found this site.

Two simple photography tips: Use simple lighting and basic composition rules

Use the tips on lighting and composition found on this website and you can take photos as good as or better than these recent photos.

Longwood Gardens OrchidSimple Lighting. Balanced Composition
Deer playing in snowTiming and Patience
New Jersey sunsetCreate depth With Foreground

Photography is a way to communicate with people of all countries and ages throughout the world. You see my friend, it is my mission to give you some valuable tools for becoming a better digital photographer and understanding cameras and accessories.  I am not a professional writer or a professional web designer. 

That should become obvious to you as you explore my web site. I am a professional photographer and I truly do have a passion for helping other people.

My best friend calls me Photo TipMan, so I adopted that as a pen name. You can call me a Camera Geek or a Photo Nut. Heck, you can even tell me that my writing stinks, but it won't stop me with my mission. I started my hobby in photography long before personal computers and digital photography were even a pipe dream.

Canon digital camera

When digital photography arrived, I became a Canon camera guy after reading quite a few of the on-line reviews on cameras. I also saw quite a few advertisements for the Canon line of digital cameras.  Canon was by far the early leader in digital camera manufacturing.  

That led me to start another web site a few year later called Canon Camera Geek. That focuses primarily on Canon cameras, lens and accessories.

I had a job early on in my career and customers would call me Da Picture Man. I am not sure if I am an expert or not, but I sure have had a lot of experience with cameras and photography equipment over the last 43 years. Do any of these questions apply to you?


digital photography tips - help

  1. Do you have a nice new digital camera but your pictures are still not so great? 
  2. Are you frustrated with how your digital photos come out? Are you tired of making several of the most common photo mistakes? 
  3. Are you perhaps a little confused about which camera setting to use, or maybe you're  getting blurry photos?

This "digital photography tips" site is being written with the idea of educating people in photography by using many photographic illustrations within each of the hundreds of articles. There are many digital photography tips web sites that are full of fluff and don't really give you good, step by step photography tips.

Do you fit into any one of the following groups?

  1. Beginning photographers looking for basic tips.
  2. Amateurs who want to learn a few more photo tricks and techniques.
  3. Advanced and aspiring photographers who are committed to continuously improving their photography skills and knowledge.
Good composition - macro photo of flower


If you're like most people, you'd probably like to make fewer mistakes when taking your photos. Maybe you want to take better photos without having to think hard about how each time you try.

It's time for me to unlock the vault, throw away the key and give you the top-secret digital photo tips. Okay. Sorry, just having a little fun.

But seriously, after 29 years earning a living as a professional photographer and over 43 years of taking photos, it is my intent to share a little. My goal is to help you take better pictures. This web site is dedicated to providing limitless tips for taking digital photography.

Whether you are just beginning photography as a hobby, have already taken online photography courses, or you already are an experienced photographer, this web site is going to help you improve your photography. Just consider me as your digital photography tutor. Read on, my camera-carrying friend.

This photography tips site is growing. It is updated continuously as I write on how to take better photos and give you new articles with tips for taking digital photography. It also is looking a bit better as I learn tips about html and css computer code.

Directions Banner - How to use this photography information web site

Read this Introduction page first. Then use the tabs at the top to explore and discover all kids of photography tips. Come back often as I will be adding more techniques and tips for taking digital photography.

Book mark this page right now.  It will only take you a second. Make it one of your favorites so you can find it easily for new digital photography tips or accessory advice.

On this site you will learn:

  • Better Composition, better pictures of people, nature and vacation photos
  • Photo lighting tips, how to use natural lighting and flash photography
  • How to edit photos, cropping, adjusting brightness and color
  • Portrait Photography Tips, Ideas on how to photograph people and create great family portraits
  • How cameras work, using the right camera setting to get the best pictures


The digital photography tips you'll discover:

  • Find ways to take priceless photos, they are all around you right now
  • Easy ways to share photos, How to email and re-size pictures, share online
  • Photo Exposure, avoiding over exposure and under exposure


I am not a professional writer or a professional web designer. You may find bad grammar or a misspelling or two. This web site may not be pretty or fancy, but I promise you it is a great source for you to improve your digital photography. This Take Better Digital Pictures web site is designed to be simple and full of sample photos. It's my goal to help you avoid many of the common photo mistakes that I've made over the years.

Digital scan from a photo of me when I was young.

My love of photography began when I was only 9 years old. I received an old plastic Kodak camera. I took that camera on a school trip to the zoo. It was such a thrill to get those black and white pictures back from the local printing lab one week later.

I could have used some good photo tips back then. Now, with digital photography, it's even better because we can see our photos instantly and learn digital photography tips faster. 

It was the beginning of a lifetime of photography for me. It was black and white photography back then and my pictures were not good. I didn't get any photo advice back then. There was no internet to use as source for getting an education in photography. No digital photo tips for me. Things have certainly changed.

Banner - Most of my photos were bad

I have great childhood memories of learning basic developing and printing in a basement darkroom with my father. I can still to this day remember that unique smell of the "stop bath" and the "fixer." That's my Beseler 23C enlarger pictured on the right.

Beseler 23C Enlarger

While I was in college, I tripled the size of my basement darkroom and began learning color printing. I left engineering school and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Professional Photography. 

I've done nature photography, sports photography, commercial photography and am primarily a portrait photographer. I've been involved with several trade organizations. I've read many books and written newsletters on photography. I frequently attend seminars, always learning more tips and techniques..... Why do I tell you this?

  • It is not to impress you with all of my credentials.
  • It is to impress upon you that I've been lucky enough to obtain a ton of information about photography. That information is now for you to have. The age of digital photography is upon us.

    I named this site digital photo tips because film cameras are a thing of the past for most photographers. If you still shoot film, you don't need to take better digital photos, but you will still want to learn to avoid photo mistakes.

Many of the digital photography tips are good for film cameras too. Now, just about everyone has a camera phone, point and shoot camera or a digital SLR (digital single lens reflex camera). I've taken my share of blurry photos, underexposed photos and some photos with bad photo composition. I am going to guess that maybe you have too.

    This is your own online photography course. I will be adding more tips for taking digital photography regularly. So, check back when you get a chance and click around.



  • Yes, the most important digital photography tip on this entire website is to HAVE FUN With your Photography! Life is too short to turn your photography interest into a serious task.
  • Find a subject that is fun to photograph, something that has meaning for you.
  • I have a passion for the natural world, so I often practice the craft of photography by shooting landscapes.
  • You'll get instant gratification by viewing your photos right away when you view them on your camera's LCD screen.
Acadia Maine wavesShutter Priority Camera Setting
1/640 Second To Freeze The Motion


You're going to find the answers to your questions and then some extra gems that will surprise you and help you shoot like a pro. So look around. The Digital Photograph Tips site is for your continuous use. Keep your camera with you at all times. Develop a childlike curiosity. Take a lot of photos. With digital photography, you can always delete the bad photos. It doesn't cost you a thing. Experience is the greatest teacher of all.

The easiest way to find specific digital photography tips is to use the site map. I finally added a blog with digital photography tips as well.  I'll post when I have good topics to share. Keep checking back because I'll be continuing to improve the articles...to give you more and more digital photography tips. That's digital photography tips for beginners, more advanced photographers, as well as some camera tricks and special effects for everyone to have fun with.

Enjoy the digital photography tips on my site and please share! Your willingness to share helps me a lot. Thank you! I appreciate it.


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