How to Win Friends and Influence People

Okay, so maybe not.

Although, I can tell you about a great informational site to help improve your photography. Then, once you become a world famous photographer, you will be able to win friends and influence people. ;-)

Digital Photography School is a good spot to go if you are looking for tips and ideas about photography. They have everything from the basics up to advanced techniques. They have tips for camera phones, to compacts, up to DSLR cameras. And, most importantly, RSS!

If you are looking for a good starting place for improving your photos, check out the following articles.

Rule of Thirds - This is the basic of basic for composition. It works for any image, not just photos. Next time you see an image you really like, take note on how the artist used this rule. You'll be amazed at how often it is used.

Fill Your Frame
- That's right, get up close and personal. You don't want to have to squint to figure out the subject of the photo. If you don't want to get close (or can't), use that zoom.

Give Your Subject Space to Look Into - When you are taking a photo of something with eyes... anything with eyes, and the subject isn't looking directly at the camera, try to have some empty space on the side of the gaze. Or, have the subject of the gaze in the photo. It helps. Trust me.

Get Foregrounds Right - So, you want to give the feeling of being pulled into your photos instead of hovering above them. Try including more of the forground in the image.

Other than that, the only other things I would add are the following:

1.) Take loads of photos - Just like anything else, the more practice you get, the better you will get. Try different angles. Play around with the various settings on your camera. Experiment! Don't worry, you'll only be wasting pixels and those can be reclaimed by using the handy dandy delete button. Don't feel like you need to keep all your photos. If it sucks, delete it and try again.

2.) Try to be level - Unless your going for the crazy strange angle approach, keep your horizons and subjects level. Use the edges of the view finder or LCD if you need a reference. If your shots still turn out crooked, there is a nice tool in Photoshop to straighten images if you took them in RAW. It's okay to fix images after the fact. I won't tell anyone. :-)

3.) Keep those subjects sharp - Be still, like a ninja in the night. In low light (and especially for camera phones) try to keep as still as possible. Prop your phone against something if possible. Use the photo preview and zoom in to see if you got a nice crisp shot. Try taking multiple shots in rapid fire mode (if your camera has it). Chances are one of them turned out sharp. At the very least, always have the eyes of the subject sharp.

5.) Shamelessly copy techniques - If you find a photo you like, try to replicate it yourself. You'll end up learning new techniques this way. Remember when you were little and were learning how to write? The teacher had you copy letters over and over. It's the same thing. It all comes back to practice. This way you have a goal. Something you want to figure out how to do - great motivation to improve.

6.) Take loads of photos - Seriously. This is the best way to improve.

As Captain Barbosa once said, they're more guidelines than rules. Don't feel like you have to follow them to get great photos. Experiment. Find out what works best for yourself. Hopefully this gave you a good place to start. Now, go out and photograph something.