Say Cheese: Camera Tips and Tricks

I tried to catch him paddling into the shot.

I love photo art, especially black and white images. It’s very tempting to share all the beautiful and haunting images we find on the web with others. But as we’ve come to know that’s not okay and an infringement on the photographer’s copyright. The only photos you’ll see on this blog are my own or those that I have paid for the privilege of using.

Because everyone likes to look at pictures on blogs. Right? They add something to the words or they are the words. Take food blogs for example. You need to be an amateur photographer to be a successful food blogger. Here is one of my favorite blogs. I’m not going to admit at how often I actually attempt the recipes but I love reading them. Here’s another one. And my very first food blog crush.

I have a camera. I love taking pictures. What I’m lacking is some basic knowledge. Here’s some tips that I found that might be helpful if you’re a wanna-be photographer.


This is kinda like being a writer. The image in the viewfinder is your story. You want it to be effective. To that end, make sure your subject fills the frame. I have tons of photos of things that are so far in the distance you’re squinting to see it. Move closer and check the space around and behind your subjects. Make sure there isn’t acres of wasted space or an object way in the back that’s going to look like it’s sitting on top of someone’s head.

The Rule of Thirds

Also the Golden Ratio, which has to do with math and sounds like something they discuss on The Big Bang Theory. Like Penny I have no clue.

Apparently, this is an important one when it comes to photography. You’re supposed to divide the image in the viewfinder into thirds both ways, horizontally and vertically. Which means there are nine square boxes, like the game tic-tac-toe. Where those lines intersect are your strongest points and where you place the important elements of your subject.

How to use the points.

If you have a lone object, then place it on the left side of the grid. On the left line. That’s your strongest point. When you have multiple subjects, the object in the front is more dominant than an object in the background. The bottom right point is the strongest in this case and the upper left point is the weakest. If you want to play around with this idea try placing the background subject in the right of the grid or the foreground subject on the left. Play around and experiment. See if different places on the grid produce a more emotional effect.

Click here for some examples of photographs and an explanation of using the Rule of Thirds.

I decided to test it out so off I went to the park and our provincial legislative building.

Looks very squishy.

In this one the fountain takes up too much space.

I think this is the most interesting of the three. I’ll add a couple more of my attempts to place things in different spots in my lens. As you can tell I have LOTS to learn. But it’s fun to play around. How about you? Do you like to play photographer? Got any tips?

8 thoughts on “Say Cheese: Camera Tips and Tricks

  1. Awesome pics, Karyn. I’m somewhat of a shutterbug myself, and you give excellent pointers. I just don’t think about it when I’m clicking away. I wait until I have what I want in the viewfinder and SNAP. Sometimes they work out and sometimes they don’t, but when they really work… That’s a great feeling.

    Another useful tip – if they don’t quite look they way you want them to look when you download them (assuming you’re using a digital camera), then try cropping them until they’re a better composition. Or you can play around with editing software. I’m a cheapskate, so I just use the stuff that came with Windows 7. It works fine for what I need.

    • Hi B.E. I find some people have that natural ability to place things where they need to be for the best visual effect. You sound like one of those people! Thank goodness for digital cameras and the ability to judge a photo immediately. Deletions are free. I still remember film cameras and all the pictures that went into the garbage.

      Thanks for the great tip! I haven’t played around much with Windows 7 but I’m going to give it a try. I looked up Photoshop. Yikes. Right now cheap is exactly what I’m looking for.

  2. I love taking photographs, unfortunately last year my camera died. 🙁 I learned a lot about taking pictures when I worked for a real estate company (believe it or not), I had to go out to commercial buildings and shoot pictures of the property for a brochure that was going to be used to sell the building. I was told my first attempt was very “artsy”. I took it as a positive thing. 🙂

    I read the blog about the blogger who was sued by a photographer and have decided to start taking my own pictures for my blog. One day, the plan is to start blogging again.

    I like your photos. Good job!

    • Absolutely take it as a positive thing! If you can make a commercial building look appealing you’ve definitely got talent. Funny the things we learn with different jobs.

      I read that, too. It’s a reminder to us all to respect the work of others and not treat it as common property. I’ll also be taking my own pics. We’ll see how creative I can get. And, Erika? The blogosphere awaits!

  3. I thought your pictures were great Karyn, but I agree that that the placement of objects and people in your viewfinder makes a lot of difference. I checked out the website you provided about the rule of thirds. Loved the examples. Very helpful.

    I just have a little point and shoot digital camera, and I’d love one that’s got a few more bells and whistles and takes better pictures. Like Erika said, because of the lawsuit the blogger faced, I’m going to stick with either pictures I took myself, or those I paid for. I started buying some pictures from because it’s the place we use at work. Every week they give away a photo for free. I’ve been collecting them, even though I don’t know what I’m going to do with them at the moment, but I figure I’ll work them into a blog at some point and it will all be legal.

    Great subject, Karyn.

    • Hi Jana! It’s fun to play around with a camera! Aren’t those great examples. They say more about how it’s done they I could ever explain. I think anyone who posts pictures on the internet had better take heed. I deactivated my Pinterest account last week 🙁

      I’m off to check out!

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