When teaching, or answering questions about, photography, I always start with my most important piece of advice.

Whatever you are taking a picture of, it should make you feel something.

The emotion can be happy or sad, but it should cause you to stop and feel.

I tell the kids when they complain about having their photo taken that I’m freezing a moment in time; like a magician, my camera allows me to perfectly capture the essence of whatever is happening at that very second and create a visual memory.

The other important truth of photography is:

It should be fun.

If you aren’t enjoying taking photos, then that will be obvious in your finished pictures.

Beyond these two rules there are 6 simple things to bear in mind that will help improve the images you take.

1) Light: Your camera is just like your eye, it needs light otherwise it can’t ‘see’. Make sure you’re not drowning your image in too much light, or conversely, shooting in a room that is too dark.

You can use light to pick out the subject of your photo. For the photo below, I positioned Annie so her face was in the light, but her body was still in shadow.

2) Point of Interest: Find your visual point of interest before you press the shutter button. Then think about the best way to show this point, what angle / perspective would highlight it off best.

Ez Bear’s interesting reading position is the point of interest in this photo. I got down on his level to photograph the page he was reading to make the photo more compelling.

3) Level: Keep your camera level to avoid ending up with a tilted horizon, as it can be very distracting.

The fence behind Ez Bear’s head is crooked below. It’s not the end of the world though, the image can be straightened using a post processing program such as Photoshop or PicMonkey.

4) Background: Check the back of your photo for any distracting elements.

There is nothing worse than taking a fab photo, only to get home and spot a telegraph pole ‘growing’ out of your subject’s head, or a pile of toys that draw your eye away from the subject.

5) Leading Lines: Use walls, railings, shelves or the gaps between playhouse flooring to draw the eye into the photo and toward your subject.

6) Rule of Thirds: Divide your viewfinder into thirds, both horizontally and vertically (as shown below), try and place your point of interest on the intersections on the grid.

These six points, along with the two key rules, will improve your photography immediately. Let me know if you use any of these tips, I’d love to see the results.

For more photography tutorials please visit snowingindoors.

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