How To Take Better Photos

How To Take Better Photos

Easy fixes to help you take better photos!

Anyone in the world can pick up a camera from Best Buy, snap a couple shots, and call themselves a photographer. If you want to take better quality pictures, here are a few tips on ways to better your photography instantly.

1. Follow the rule of thirds

So, the rule of thirds it aligning your subject with the guide lines and their intersection points, keeping the subject in the guidelines and the main focus at the intersection points. This is where eyes are drawn, and aligning your photos with this grid will help make your photos more aesthetically pleasing. So go to your iPhone camera, turn on that grid, and shoot away!

2. Get nice and close to the subject

Fill the frame with your subject, and you will see how much better your photos look without so much wasted space!

3. Get out of the habit of using the auto setting

An expensive camera in the hands of an amateur will still produce amateur shots. Take a cheap photo class, look up tutorials online, or play around and teach yourself! You'll find that you won't be nearly as limited to what you can shoot once you switch off the auto setting.

4. Utilize depth of field and aperture

I could easily take the time and write an entire article about the importance and control aperture, but lets make it simple. A wide aperture with a smaller F number, will produce a very narrow depth of focus. A very small aperture with a larger F number will produce a very deep depth of focus. Learning and utilizing this skill can help you make your subject stand out more against the background.

5. Bring your camera everywhere - the more opportunities the more photos

I wouldn't have half of the photos and nearly as many skills under my belt that I do if I didn't drag my camera all over the place. My friends love being my practice models and you can get more experience for your big break when you shoot for fun!

6. Shoot in the shade

It can be tricky sometimes to master the light you are in, so take it into the shade! It will be so much easier and you will have a nice even tone to work with, especially if you haven't quite mastered the light leaks and sunny days.

7. Limit your color palate

Pick and choose what colors you want to use, and you don't always have to pick a scene that is overwhelming with color. In most cases, a certain palate can be much more pleasing to the eye than a rainbow of subjects and colors.

8. Embrace negative space

Good news, empty space is a hit these days! All the top instagrammers and photographers are looking for the best solid white wall or empty sky to compose their work with. Negative space is the area around the subject of your photo, so embrace simplicity and use negative space to your advantage while it's aesthetically pleasing!

9. Utilize symmetry

Not only will symmetry create an extremely compelling photo, but it is also quite pleasing to the eye and creates beautiful proportion.

10. Play around with reflections

Reflections make everything more fun!

11. Don't be afraid of vertical photos

The easy route is to hold up your camera, point, and shoot horizontally, and while that is great for a lot of photos, don't be afraid to turn your camera the other way and get a different perspective, include more of the subject, and mix it up a little!

12. Find interesting perspectives

Photos are always more interesting to me when I'm trying to figure out just how the photographer got the particular shot. Make your photos memorable and unique!


Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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Walt Disney World Tips from a Pro

Even the experts need tips.
Dixie
Dixie

I've learned a thing or two about Disney from my frequent trips there growing up. Although I would consider myself a "Disney Pro," even the pros need some help from time to time.  Here are 16 tips to take in mind during your next trip to Walt Disney World. 

Value Resorts have just as much to offer as Moderate or Deluxe Resorts.

I always hear that Value Resorts don't have as much to offer as Moderate or Deluxe Resorts, but I believe they have just as much to offer. You get the same perks you would if you stayed at Moderate Resort. Personally, I prefer staying Pop Century- this will always be my number one choice for a hotel when I go to Disney.

Get the Park Hopper Option.

Disney's Park Hopper option is a lifesaver, especially when you plan to spend 4 days at Walt Disney World. You get to experience 2 or more parks each day, which means twice the fun! My tip: try and visit all four parks in one day during your next trip!

Get the Disney Dining Plan, not the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan.

My parents made this mistake on two of our vacations. You become too focused on when you have to schedule a dinner and use your credits, instead of enjoying your trip. It will be worth it in the end.

Get Memory Maker.

Get Memory Maker to help make your trip a little easier. I recommend getting it before your trip because it is cheaper. Plus when you get home, you can customize you photos by adding boarders and stickers!

Get tons and tons of pins.

Disney has a variety of pins (they are free!) that you can get to help make your trip more magical. They have a first trip pin, a birthday pin, a celebrating pin, a just engaged pin, a just married pin, and even an anniversary pin. Make sure to grab yourself a few pins to take home!

Wear Matching Shirts.

Matching shirts bring humor to your trip. You can look back and see how silly you look wearing these over the top shirts. I used to be against them, but they are growing on me and are now a tradition in my family.

Buy Mickey Ears or a Mickey Hat.

No trip is complete without Mickey Ears or a Mickey Hat. Buy the pair that speaks to you or go with the classics. If you aren't a fan of ears, grab yourself a hat! You can customize the ears to make your trip more special. My favorite ears are my Star Wars ears (they light up), whereas my favorite hat is my graduation ears I got to remember my special day.

Download the Disney Parks app.

The Disney Parks app is a completely free app, which helps make your trip easier. You can get wait times in real time, as well as book dining, make FastPass+ reservations, and even look at your Memory Maker photos!

Character Dining isn't just for children.

You will not regret having breakfast, lunch, or dinner with the characters (even if you are an adult). Character dining helps make your trip more magical, knowing that you get to see the characters without having to stand in line. I think my personal favorite character dining has to be either Tusker House at Animal Kingdom (breakfast with Mickey and his safari friends) or Cinderella's Royal Table at Magic Kingdom (breakfast with Cinderella and the princesses).

You will have to stand in line at some point.

Unfortunately, you will have to stand in line at some point, whether it be to see a character or get on a ride or waiting for the bus, you will have to stand for long periods of time. My tip: wear comfortable shoes, it makes all the difference.

One word: FastPass+.

Get FastPass+ reservations 30 days in advance (if you have a reservation). FastPass+ is a game changer for Disney. Make sure to get FastPass+ for rides you really want to get on or for rides you know will have a long wait time. I recommend getting FastPass+ for Peter Pan (always over 120 wait time), Space Mountain, Seven Dwarfs, Splash Mountains, Test Track, Frozen Ever After, Avatar: Flight of Passage (absolutely amazing!), Expedition Everest, Aerosmith, and Tower of Terror.

Visit the Countries.

EPCOT's countries are one of Disney's best attractions (in my opinion). When I went to Disney with my best friend, I truly discovered the beauty of each country. My tip: take a photo in each country to show how each one is different.

Be sure to check out each resort.

If you have the time, go check out the resorts you would like to stay at. You can check out different resorts by simply hopping onto a bus or hopping on the Monorail to check out the resorts near Magic Kingdom, it's eye-opening to see how each resort is different. My favorite resort to visit is Disney's Grand Floridian, this hotel is so beautiful!

Spend time at your resort.

It's nice to spend a day or an evening taking in your resort. Whether it be spending the day at the pool or walking around to see the different themes, you paid money to stay there. I love staying at Pop Century because each group of rooms is based on a decade. Typically, I stay in the 50's and I love going to the Flower pool.

Ship your merchandise back to your room.

Disney's free delivery option makes spending money easy. You can get everything you buy sent back to your hotel, free of charge, as long as you fill out the form. I use this option because I typically buy glass ornaments or jewelry, it makes my life easier knowing it will be at my hotel instead of having to worry about it.

Splurge and get what you want.

You never know when you will be going back to Walt Disney World, so splurge and get what you want. Typically, I get Alex and Ani bracelets as my splurge item, but during my last trip, I got a pearl from China. It's my favorite piece of jewelry, worth every penny!!

Dixie
Dixie

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Poetry On Odyssey: On A Dark Road

Let's talk.

Let's talk. For a while now, every week a poem has gone up from me, and every week I have been somewhat apprehensive when posting it. There's something about revealing one's innermost thoughts through writing that can be scary, and having something artistic like a poem somehow makes it worse in my mind. But, as of late, I've realized that it doesn't matter.

Much like singing and other forms of art, poetry is a tool for a performer, writer, or author to express themselves. It IS an extension into the mind of the author, and their perception of the world around them. It ISN'T a reflection of a person's worth, or of their humanity. Sometimes I feel like we lose sight of that, and I'm talking to the performers out there when I say this, not necessarily to the audiences. We all tend to beat ourselves up over things that are inconsequential, or are harder on ourselves than reasoning dictates we should be, and we should be aware of this.

My hope in saying this is to make people realize that the better we treat ourselves, hopefully, the better we will treat those around us. Gosh, wasn't this supposed to be a poem? I'll get off my soapbox now, apologies, and I hope you enjoy.

The dark road,

The night sky,

The lantern lights,

That pass on by,




The horizon black,

Resurgently clear,

Uncertainly manifested,

A thin veneer,




Mysterious in every way,

Hiding from the light of day,

Only coming out to play,

On a night,

so black and clear,


A trail without start,

Nor end,

A place for weary souls,

To mend,

Two lanterns bright,

Light the way,

Distracting us from our pain,

and sin,


We travel for the journey,

not the end,


We cruise on down,

'Round the bend,


The clouds open,

and stars shine,


On a dark road,

Without end,

Cover Image Credit: Pixnio

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