Five Rules: Snap Pics Like A Pro

Take your photography to the next level with these professional tips

So, you finally got that shiny new digital camera you wished for all last year.  Now what?

Sure, you can handle casual snapshots as well as anyone else, but why not take your photography to the next level?  Say goodbye to inadvertent amputations, black-out bummers and bad angle disasters with these easy expert tips from Dallas-based photographer Lara Bierner.

Bierner’s work as appeared in D Magazine and Entrée Magazine, among other publications, and she regularly snaps lavish events for five star restaurants, department stores and local charities.  Today, she’s passing on some pro photo know-how to you.   Ready, set, snap!

Five Rules:  Snap Pics Like a Pro

1.  Change your resolution.
First and foremost, many of us make the rookie mistake of setting our image resolution to a lower quality in order to fit more pics on our digital camera’s disk.  Not a good idea, according our expert.  “I would recommend making your file size and quality the biggest and best it can be,” Bierner says.  “That way, if you take the best picture ever, you can blow it up to an 8x10 or even bigger.  You can always downsize the image for email or Facebook, etc.”

2.  No light?  No problem!
Low indoor lighting makes for some of the trickiest picture-taking.  When faced with a shadowy setting, such as a candlelit dinner or intimate party, our pro has a word to the wise:  “Set your camera on a tripod and shoot pictures without the flash.”  (We found several inexpensive mini-tripods at

3.  Compose yourself.
 A real pro takes the time to compose a shot before snapping, if possible.  “When you take a photo of a person or people, be mindful of the space around them,” our expert cautions.  “You do not necessarily want to center the frame around their heads.  Instead, fill the entire frame with your subject.”  (See examples of good and bad composition above.)

4.  Flattery will get you everywhere.
It might sound obvious, but this tip bears repeating:  “Try not to take unflattering pictures.  This would include shots of people eating, especially.”  In addition to avoiding subjects with mouthfuls of food, our pro also advises,  “If you are sitting and your subject is standing, try standing up.  It’s much more flattering to be at the same eye level.”

5.  Call for back-up.
Finally, even the most accomplished amateur photographer has his or her limits.  For occasions that happen once in a lifetime or will involve a wide variety of settings, subjects and situations (think weddings, anniversary parties, etc.), there’s no shame in calling in a pro.  The pictures will be a sure thing, and you’ll have the opportunity to actually enjoy the festivities, rather than stressing about your shots.

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