How To Take Great Pictures

by Kelley Robinson

As a journalism major in college, I was lucky enough pick up a few tips that are easy to share on improving your photography while abroad. Here are a few easy ways to take enhance your photo excursions before you press the Facebook share button.

Rule of Thirds

A friend and I in Milan on the
Bus2alps Best of Italy Spring Break

This rule is one to live by. Whether I am setting up a video camera for an interview or snapping a portrait of a friend, I always am aware of where I am placing the subject of the photo. Our eyes have been studied and show that we react more to images using a sound rule of thirds than to perfectly centered images.

In the example to the left you can see the image, when broken up into thirds puts my friend and I, the subjects of the photo, directly where the right and bottom lines intersect. When composing photos, always aim to put your subjects where you think these lines will intersect when the image is broken up into thirds.

Sometimes, as in the case of my photo in Milan, you aren’t the one taking the photo: hence the beauty of cropping. When you transfer your photos to your computer, in only a few moments you will have photos perfectly cropped to match the rule of thirds in any basic photo editor.

Avoid Distracting Backgrounds

Many times when taking photos, we fail to notice the what is going on behind our subjects, and a classic mistake is the “pole growing from the head” photo. Unless that is a effect you are purposefully going for, you could be accidentally making your subject looked odd.

Also to avoid is super bright backgrounds behind your subject. We all know that trying to take a photo with the sun or open window behind our subjects rarely turns out well. You can try to brighten your subject with a flash but on many cameras your bright background will then appear washed out. Best to reposition yourself so that the light source helps your photo rather than ruins it.

Take the “Touristy” Photos

I promise as much as you think you are too cool for it, you aren’t. Jumping photo in front of the Louvre? I’ll take that challenge. Holding up the leaning tower of Pisa? Just try and stop me. And don’t even get me started about throwing a coin in the Trevi Fountain with a camera in front of me.

These are your memories, do what you want with them and don’t care about drawing your attention to yourself or taking the cliche path for a minute. Cliches are created often times because they are so true or rewarding. So go for it, and don’t ever be ashamed of doing what you need to do for that great, fun photo you’ll appreciate forever.

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