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Picture This: Helpful Photography Hints
by: Charles Kassotis
Have you ever gotten back developed photos from the drugstore or film company only to discover that several shots turned out poorly—or not at all? Most camera buffs have experienced this type of disappointment frequently. Over time, though, picture takers become familiar with helpful techniques that can make photos come out much better than the earlier snapshots. Here are a few helpful hints you may want to try:

1. Get to know your camera. Read the instruction guide carefully, and contact the manufacturer with any questions you might have. Practice taking shots at varying angles and distances until you figure out how to get the best results. Work with the lighting options, including flash, for balance of perspective and shading. Keep fresh batteries and check them often to make sure they don’t give up just when you’re ready for that all-time spectacular, spontaneous shot of a twelve-point buck jumping over your parked truck.

2. Size up your subjects. Learn how to place people and objects in your viewfinder, as well as how to center landscapes. A basic book on photography or even a few suggestions in your camera kit can teach you how to juxtapose people within a pose to get the best results.

3. Practice until you get good at it. Keep a spare roll of film on hand and take pictures of anything cute or challenging. That will help you get used to the camera, and equipment if applicable, so that you will be ready for the big picture when the opportunity comes along. You may want to get a tripod or another piece of stabilizing equipment to hold the camera steady for photographs of yourself or group shots.

4. Ask a pro. It wouldn’t hurt to ask a professional photographer for a few hints in exchange for lunch. You may want to keep this in mind for upcoming special events, like weddings, birthdays, or holiday celebrations. You also can call a camera shop or pick up a book at the library if you want to learn more than the basics.

5. Protect your camera. Don’t let it get wet, of course. Also avoid leaving it in the car where it can get damaged by heat or cold, as well as get jostled by frisky kids or pets. Keep your camera in a carrying case, and store it safely in a closet or cupboard where it cannot get hurt at home. Don’t let anyone else use your camera unless you’re willing to take the chance of getting it back damaged, broken, or not at all.

Remember to take care of your photos after they have been developed. Store them in photo albums with acid-free paper backing, and arrange them in an order that will help you locate specific prints when desired. Keep the negatives on hand for a year or two in case someone wants a duplicate picture.

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