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Tips On Taking Picture-Perfect Photos

Sienna - Tips On Taking Picture-Perfect Photos

May 08, 2023

We’re all quick to whip out our phones to take a cute picture — but now there are 500 reasons to make sure that photo is as good as it can be!

We’re holding a Parks & Paths photo contest during May and June, with five winners being selected to win their choice of a $500 gift certificate to either H-E-B, Academy Sports & Outdoors or Dick’s Sporting Goods. Photos must be taken at one of Sienna’s parks, trails, favorite outdoor spot or nature reserve (not a bad place to be!) and will be judged on composition, creativity, originality and overall impression. With that in mind, we thought we’d offer some tips on how to make your photo absolutely picture-perfect:

General Tips

When considering composition, remember the rule of thirds. This guideline has you place your subject in the left or right third of the photo. Imagine your image split into nine even rectangles and have your focal point at a corner of your center box.

If you think you are close enough to your subject, take two steps closer. It’s a common mistake to be too far away from what you are photographing, so if you can, get closer. If you’re taking a photo of a child or pet, you’ll want to get down on their level.

You’ll want to pay attention to lighting, as well. Use a flash to avoid shadows on a face. Avoid backlighting, if possible. You can fix some lighting issues during the editing process, but it’s best to have as clean a photo as possible before starting to edit.

Taking Photos Outdoors

Continuing the conversation on lighting, you want to make sure your subject matter and background are roughly the same brightness so your camera doesn’t automatically over compensate and darken the image. The “golden hour” is the best time to shoot outdoors if you want natural light that is diffused and even. This is usually two hours after sunrise or two hours before the sun sets. Cloudy days are also great for outdoor photographers. You can also use a flash.

Pay attention to the horizon when taking outdoor photos — you don’t want it to visually cut your photo in half.

Getting Your Best Shot with a Phone Camera

All of the above apply to taking a photo with a smartphone, but there are other things to consider:

  • Make sure your hand is not shaking.
  • Use HDR (High Dynamic Range) to provide better balanced exposure.
  • Avoid digital zoom.
  • You handle your phone a lot, and that means your camera lens might be smudged. Use a microfiber cloth to clean it.
  • Apply grid lines so you can visually see the rule of thirds.

Practice, Practice, Practice

When it comes to photography, practice makes perfect. The Parks & Photo contest gives you the perfect opportunity to get to know your camera’s capabilities whether it’s a standard camera or smartphone camera. And Sienna’s dozens of parks give you plenty of places to hone your photography skills. So come on out now through June to take a few or lots of photos. You can enter as many as you like into the photo contest. This page tells you how, and you’ll find all the contest rules here.

Happy hunting for the perfect photos! Even if you don’t win the contest, you’ll have beautiful photos to share with family and friends.

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