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Tricks & Tips

Posts Tagged ‘Cameras’

10 Tips for Better Holiday Photos

December 16th, 2008

By guest contributor, Kendall Adams.


1. Plan ahead for your photographs – make sure you have everything you need when taking your photos. Fresh Batteries, extra digital storage cards, flash, lenses etc. Oh yes….and the camera! Many holiday memories are lost because the batteries died, you ran out of storage, or you just forgot the camera!

2. Yes. There are rules but sometimes they need to be broken! Don’t always stick to the rules – sometimes a slight blur or movement of the camera can give a soft holiday glow to your pictures. Try zooming the lens during a long exposure. Change your cameras settings to accentuate the movement or the focal point of your photo.

3. Use Flash outdoors to add just a little bit of extra sparkle to the eyes and to fill some of the shadows that might be on the face of your subjects. Try to use natural lighting indoors to add warmth to your photos and eliminate the dark backgrounds that your flash can create. If your camera has a fill-flash feature try to familiarize yourself with it. If you have to use flash indoors this feature can be a life-saver!

4. Move in closer! Almost any photograph can be improved by moving in a little closer. This can add emphasis to your subject and may also eliminate any distracting background clutter.

5. Look for unique viewpoints – take an extra minute to really look at the scene you are photographing. Are there bright colors, interesting items you can use in your composition, or reflections? Consider using any or all of these elements to add interest and help tell the story.

6. Use your cameras digital LCD to preview your photos. There isn’t a better way to see if you got their photo or not. Most of today’s cameras offer a zoom function on the preview. This will allow you to check exposure and focus. If you don’t like what you see – shoot it again!

7. Compose your photos well! Try to keep your subject slightly off center. Look for distracting background items that can ruin your photos. Make sure you have everyone’s head and body parts in the photo. Use elements in your shots to add interest and a sense of place. A chair, a window, a plant, almost any item found around your subject can be used to add interest.

8. Take LOTS of Photos! When taking pictures of family and friends, especially in groups, there will always be someone who either closes their eyes or does not smile. Increase your chances of success by taking more photos than you think you will need. Better safe than sorry!

9. BE PREPARED! If you don’t have the camera ready you will miss the shot. Baby’s first Christmas gift, the children’s surprise as they see what Santa left, even Dad snoring after Christmas dinner. Try to have the camera close by. Make sure you are familiar with the cameras controls. Be ready to shoot!

10. Use your photos as gifts! Everyone loves to get a great photo of their family and friends. If you have shots that you are particularly proud of print them and put them in a nice frame. This is a great gift that someone will treasure and always remember you by.

If you, or your friends, haven’t registered for the DWZ Christmas Giveaway, this is your last chance!
We’ll pick four random entries and announce the winner in Thursday’s Tip!

How to Minimize Clutter

June 17th, 2008

Take a picture of things you need save.  A receipt, a note, directions, another picture, etc.  Snap it, then throw it away.  Email the picture to yourself.

This might also work to reduce sentimental things you might collect.  Taking a picture can still retain the visual memory, without the actual item.  Use your camera to photograph the item, and then let it go.  This is a great way to really clean house.

I heard about this cleaning method a while back but it wasn’t until recently I put it into practice.  I don’t have my scanner (wow do I scan everything!) and my wallet was getting jammed with receipts and notes.  I use my camera phone to snap (or “scan”) and then toss the paper.  Easy!


Turn your webcam into a surveillance camera. HomeCamera software allows you to automatically record, get stills or videos from your webcam from any browser, including your cell phone, and a host of other features. Motion detection options can even alert you by email. Currently the beta is free, but they plan to always have a free version along with a full version at $14.95/yr.

I found a few other sites that are completely free but I don’t know the details on them. If you’re interested in this project, you might check these out as well: