Just in time for graduations, weddings, and summer vacations, we've issued our review of the latest crop of digital cameras. We're happy to report that they capture crisper images, have more truly useful features, and are priced lower than those we've recommended before. Equipped with your new camera you'll have the tool to take high-quality pictures.
Here are five tips to help you develop the expertise to make them perfect. (And even if you're using a three megapixel digital dinosaur or a camera phone, these pointers will perk up your pics.)
1. Before you snap, get level with your subject. If you have little tykes, this means squatting down - but trust us, it's worth it.
2. Use the flash outside! When it's bright outside, it reduces shadowing. Overcast? The flash brightens the object of focus.
3. Learn to use the focus on the camera to keep your subject well-defined, especially when it's off-center. Simply depress the shutter button halfway and move the camera until the subject is framed by the little box in the screen, then push the button all the way down.
4. Speak up: Don't be afraid to tell the grad to adjust her tassel or the taller cousins to move to the back.
5. Get up close and personal with your subject matter. A tight shot of a branch in bloom has more punch than a panorama of the whole garden. Likewise, the baby's pea-smeared smile says it all - you don't need to include the dirty high chair. Move closer, zoom in, or use the macro mode and your pictures will have maximum impact.
So what are you waiting for? Get out and start shooting! And when you're done, get creative with your photos using one of the recommended photo book websites.
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.