Picture perfect: 5 tips for better photos

Picture perfect: 5 tips for better photos

(Eric Foss/CBC)

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Eric Foss is a photographer, video journalist, past journalism fellow at University of Toronto and CBCNews.ca's multimedia senior producer. Follow Eric on Twitter @jfosse

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Hey, shutterbugs! Want to improve your shot? To help us take better pictures, CBC's Live Right Now asked photo pro Eric Foss to pull out some tricks from his well-worn camera bag. Here are his top five tips:


Rule of thirds

"Good framing and composition bring photos to life," says Foss. Use the rule of thirds. Divide the image into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. Imagine your image as nine parts. Place your subject close to the lines or the intersecting points.

"This, in theory, should produce a more balanced and desirable photo," says Foss. "It doesn't mean the rules can't or shouldn't be broken, but it's a nice rule to guide you when you're starting out."

Imagine a landscape shot with the horizon on the top third of the image, a flower in the middle and water in the lower third.


Use the rule of thirds. (Eric Foss/CBC)


Watch the light

Great photos have great lighting - whether man-made or natural. How can you harness light so that it complements the image? Start by recognizing the environment you're working in, says Foss.

Take images at the right time of day. In general, the light during early morning and late afternoon works well when shooting portraits or landscapes. The light is golden, creates more even lighting and less shadows. If you have to shoot during high noon, use shade to eliminate harsh shadows.

Make sure your camera direction works with the light flow.

"Learn to control the light by using as a direct light source, diffused light source or bounced light source," says Foss. "Appreciating how light can impact your photo will improve your photography immediately."


Make sure your camera direction works with the light flow. (Eric Foss/CBC)


Cut camera shake

"One of the tips I always advise new photographers to do before taking a photo is to not only compose the image, but compose yourself before you take the photo," says Foss.

"Ready, steady, breath out — snap your image."

This will reduce blurry images and out-of-focus shots. Try a tripod or monopod to help steady your camera before shooting. "If you don't have one, consider using a wall, ledge or something to balance the camera, particularly in low-lighting environments where the camera needs to be very still," advises Foss.


Try a tripod or monopod to help steady your camera before shooting. (Eric Foss/CBC)


Correct exposure

Exposure is the amount of light collected by the sensor in your camera when taking a photograph. If the image is overexposed, the photograph will look washed out. If underexposed, the photograph will appear too dark. Most cameras have built-in light meters that measure light in the given shot and set an ideal exposure automatically. Keep a watchful eye on exposure levels.

"If in doubt, always use your autoexposure setting," recommends Foss.


If the image is overexposed, the photograph will look washed out. If underexposed, the photograph will appear too dark. (Eric Foss/CBC)


Edit, edit, edit

"Even the best photographers have trouble deleting an image, but photo management is a critical process in the archiving and enjoyment of the overall photo experience," says Foss.

"When you are disciplined in the editing of your photos, you develop a critical eye for what is working and what is not working in the image."

Keep your best shots and throw out the rest.


Keep your best shots. Throw out the rest. (Eric Foss/CBC)

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