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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6 Of The Best 'Psych' Episodes

"Should I slice this up for the road?"

Even though "Psych" ended its eight-year run almost four years ago (with the exception of Psych: The Movie, which aired in 2017), the show lives on in the hearts and minds of millions of "psycho's" who refuse to let the show die, and re-watch old episodes religiously (P.S., the show is on Amazon Prime and can be streamed for free by Amazon Prime members). In honor of one of the best shows ever made, here is a count-down of 6 of the best episodes of "Psych"

6. "Office Space" Season 7, Episode 11

This episode is as goofy as they come. After quitting his job at Central Coast Pharmaceuticals as a result of watching his boss mistreat an employee, Gus comes back later that night to beg for his job back... Only to discover that his boss has been stabbed to death, holding Gus's resignation letter in his hand. Knowing that he will be viewed as the prime suspect, Shawn and Gus wildly tamper with the crime scene. Their goal over the coming days is to figure out who really killed the boss before the police catch on to what they have done and falsely accuse Gus of the stabbing.

5. "The Break-Up" Season 8, Episode 10 (The Series Finale)

I'll hold the spoilers.... But if you are a fan of the show, you can rest assured that the series finale does this show justice. It ties up loose ends, while leaving enough leeway for 'Psych' to come back in the future. Get your tissues ready, and get watching. It is worth it.

4. "American Duos" Season 2, Episode 1

Hilarity ensues when someone is continually making attempts on the life of an "American Duos" judge, a talent show that is a knock-off of American Idol. The judge, Nigel St. Nigel, is the clear "Simon Cowell" of American Duos - unnecessarily harsh and British. Shawn and Gus decide that the best way to figure out who is threatening Nigel's life is to go undercover as contestants on American Duos and well, you can imagine how that goes.

3. "Gus Walks Into A Bank" Season 3, Episode 8

This episode is slightly more on the serious side, but it is still laced with "Psych's" usual humor. Gus walks into a bank to make a deposit while Shawn waits in the car, only for the bank to be held-up and everyone inside to be held hostage, including Gus. Most of the episode's humor comes from Shawn's obvious jealousy of Detective Juliet's attraction to the chief hostage negotiator, Cameron Luntz. After purposefully getting himself taken hostage to assess the situation in the bank, Shawn realizes there is more going on than meets the eye.

2. "The Santabarbarian Candidate" Season 7, Episode 10

After Santa Barbara's Mayor dies in a surfing accident, Shawn is not convinced that it was an accident at all... he suspects murder. And what's more, he suspects the man lined up to be the new mayor to have committed it. Determined to stop a potential killer from reaching office, Shawn decides to step in and run for mayor, with Gus as his campaign manager. There are also huge developments in Shawn and Juliet's relationship in this episode, but, no spoilers here.

1. "The Spelling Bee" Season 1, Episode 2

As only the second episode of the series, "The Seplling Bee" lets watchers know early on in the series that Shawn and Gus will find themselves knee-deep in all sorts of shenanigans. After the head spell master dies, Shawn and Gus investigate. In one of the funniest moments of the series, Shawn and Gus are up in the spell master's box when it is announced that it is time for a word to be delivered. Shawn, the quick-thinker that he is, decides to give an extremely intelligent kid in the third round of the spelling bee an incredibly difficult word... "banana".

Cover Image Credit: USA Network

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Shakespeare Was Not As Original As You Think

Even the most celebrated writer in the English language had to borrow his plots

As an English major, I was taught that plays written by William Shakespeare borrowed from other authors. In fact, as part of my seminar class for my final semester as an English major, the curriculum revolved around William Shakespeare's play "King Lear" as well as the Elizabethan play that it was inspired by, which was "King Leir." Although the differences go beyond the "i" to "a" in the title, Shakespeare still had to repackage this play into a darker, more tragic one.

It would not be considered blatant plagiarism, but Shakespeare merely wrote within a system of literary ownership completely different from today. It was not a recent phenomenon to question the authenticity of Shakespeare's plays since they go all the way back to Shakespeare's time. For revising a part of Robert Greene's play "A Knack To Know A Knave" for "1 Henry IV," he called Shakespeare an "upstart crow," as well as a lot of insults. One in which was a mockery of one of the lines from "1 Henry IV" which was "tiger's heart."

When it comes to all three parts of "Henry IV," it was revealed that William Shakespeare co-wrote them with another famed playwright, Christopher Marlowe. This was deduced by finding similarities between those plays and Marlowe's writing style found in his own plays. To quote Hanspeter Born, the author of the article "Why Green was Angry at Shakespeare,"

"Every author has his own compositional and linguistic habits, making up a verbal fingerprint or DNA."

Technology plays an incredibly important role in examining Shakespeare's works and not in a literary way. It was revealed through an anti-plagiarism software that George North's English translation of "Plutarch's Lives" not only served as an inspiration to the plots of "Julius Caesar," "Antony and Cleopatra," and "Coriolanus," but he also used the same words such as "glass," "proportion," "feature," "fair," and other words within the same context of ugliness and beauty. Among other authors, Shakespeare borrowed from were Montaigne, George Gascoigne, Saxo the Grammarian and Leo Africanus.

So, it would not be the case that all of his works, besides "The Tempest," which was his only original play, are illegitimate. Although Shakespeare recycled plays, he offered his own unique interpretations that make the characters more dynamic and complex. He also answered the question that Ron Rosenbaum, author of the "The Shakespeare Wars," asked, which was "What makes Shakespeare Shakespeare?" In "King Lear," he made Lear into a rambling old man suffering from senility and made Edmund into a complex villain. The fact that Shakespeare can create truly human characters is definitely what makes his work Shakespearean.

What can fellow English majors or young people who want to become an English major take from this fact? It basically involves understanding the complex relationship between the author, his/her work and other author's works. On the one hand, inspiration can provide a starting point for writing, but the rest cannot be derivative. Otherwise, it actually would be considered plagiaristic. Not only that, but these discoveries of Shakespeare's sources could provide a gateway to studying those works he was inspired by.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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