Decide on your subject and focus on it, whether it's a person, pet or interesting item in a landscape. Keep it in the center area of your image so that you don't cut off important parts.
If you're taking a picture of a landscape, for example, decide what is most interesting about it and make that your focus. Move around and change your perspective until you have the subject where you want it to be.
If you're shooting a photo of a group of people, make sure that they are the center of attention. Come in close enough to ensure that there isn't a lot of unimportant detail in the composition.
Composition simply means the arrangement of the parts of your picture. Imagine that the image you see through the viewfinder is divided into nine equal squares, with four points around the center square; these are the most important points in your composition. By placing the subject at one of these points, you give it importance. Crop out any unessential items that detract from the photo's composition or the story it tells .
When composing pictures of groups of people or objects, consider the height variations of your subjects. Position them in a visually pleasing manner -- usually, with the tallest in the center of the group.
Take a look at how the light is hitting your subject. Move around until you get the perfect (to you) ratio of light and shadow without forcing the subject to squint or causing deep shadows on the face due to backlighting.
Capture the moment and tell the story with your image. The joy on a child's face when she opens the much-wanted gift, or the excitement of adults reuniting with family members they haven't seen in a while can pull the viewer into the moment by tugging at emotions.
If you are at an event where there are likely to be many impromptu shots, keep your camera on and your finger ready to click. Fumbling for the camera and waiting for it to warm up can cause you to lose a once-in-a-lifetime image. It's also a great idea to carry extra batteries.
Snapping away will give you practice -- and a better chance of getting a few really good images. Professional photographers take hundreds of shots to get 10 they can use.
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