As a graphic designer with expertise in photo editing, I’m all too aware of the mistakes people make when taking photos. Those errors become my projects. Don’t get me wrong; I love photo editing. However, a bit of attention to composition and surroundings can increase your opportunity to take a great photo. Here are a few tips to consider that will reap better results and reduce the need for photo editing:

Tip #1: Avoid Things Growing Out of People’s Heads
The basic tip is to pay attention to background images when you’re taking someone’s picture. As you can see from this photo, the tree is growing out of the top of the gentleman’s head. The corrected sans foliage photo looks much nicer.

Tip #2: No Flash Photography, Please!

Speaking of dark settings, clearly there are times when flash photography is necessary but, once again, pay attention to your surroundings. Taking a flash photo with a mirror in the background can create a glare. Using a flash can also overexpose an image. To avoid the need for editing after the fact, take your photo with and without the flash to determine which provides the best lighting for the environment.

Tip #3: Step Out of the Shadows!
In this example, the first photo is so dark you cannot tell who is in the picture. Experiment with your camera settings to bring in more light (or simply move to a brighter location).

(insert photos 3 & 4)

Tip #4: Taking a Group Photo? Make Sure the Entire Group is There!
…But if someone missed Picture Day, here are a few tips for adding the person who was MIA!

1. Make sure the photo of the person being added is taken on a plain background.

2. Match the environment. If the group photo was taken outside, take the individual’s photo outside as well. Indoor and outdoor lighting are quite different. Trying to match the lighting requires a great deal of adjustment to make sure the additional person blends in.

3. Finally, match the stance. If the group is standing at an angle, mirror that with the added person.

FYI, the woman on the left was added to the original group photo.

(insert photos 7 & 8)

Most Important, Tip #5: Take the Perfect Photo First
I know, easier said than done. But for the best results, pay attention to your surroundings: lighting, background and foreground. Attention to these details can improve your chances of capturing the image you desire.

About Your Columnist

Donna Watson

Donna Watson is a featured columnist for Women Taking Charge, the official blog of Connected Women of Influence, where she offers guidance and tips on branding and design. Donna has been “the mouse” behind Designer Mouse Graphic Design since 1994, helping her clients promote their products and services and get their message out through website development, online promotion, email marketing and printed marketing collateral.

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