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To help you take great photos and create inspiring Keepsake Photo Frame Greeting Cards, we’ve asked Jim Miotke (founder of Betterphoto.com and Author) to offer some great advice for you and your photography.

One of the most satisfying experiences in life is seeing an eye-catching scene and then turning it into an eye-catching photo. But how often have you said, “Well, I guess you just had to have been there”, after sharing more of your disappointing pictures with friends and family?

But good news! With a few specific techniques, you can start creating memorable photographs rather than forgettable snapshots.

The first step is choosing your subject. Whenever possible, this means selecting scenes or subjects that are unique. For instance, while a straightforward photo of a deer in grass or an old building on a sunny day may be quite pleasing, these are also pictures that we have all witnessed many times. But catch the deer in an unusual “pose” or setting, or frame the building with an interesting foreground object, and your photography will really command attention. Likewise, keep an eye out for unusual subjects or scenes that would be sure to elicit a “Wow!” from viewers.

Here are some techniques to get you started:

  • What is the one thing that attracts your attention to the scene? This decision often involves making sacrifices. As much as you may wish to include everything in the picture, selecting one main subject and letting go of other elements will make it a better composition. So be selective and let go of anything that will distract the viewer from your main subject. Nine times out of ten, a photo with a clean, simple composition is bound to have more “Wow!” impact than a busy one.

    For example, let’s say you are taking a picture of your spouse standing in front of a beautiful view. You can take the standard snapshot, where the natural attractions are off in the distance and your spouse is a tiny figure waving at the camera. It is much better, though, to think about your scene and make a decision. Is your subject your spouse, or the view? If you want a portrait of your spouse, make her bigger in the picture. Zoom in, walk closer, or have her walk closer to you. If, on the other hand, the landscape is what you want to capture, then focus your efforts on that view. Either way, make a thoughtful decision about what you most want to photograph.
  • Watch your borders and recompose if anything - a telephone wire, a distracting sign, some kind of debris - adds clutter to the composition. Even if no distracting elements surround your subject, too much blank “negative” space can also be a problem. If you realize the background is distracting, reposition yourself or your subject, or zoom in, until you find a background that gives your subject the attention it deserves.
  • One of the simplest ways to make a stronger composition is to move in closer to fill the frame with your main subject. You can do this by zooming in or, if you are using a dSLR, switching to a telephoto lens. If you don’t have enough telephoto power, simply walk as close as you can to your subject. Getting closer is a surefire way to make your photo have more impact.
  • Each time you take a picture, move in closer for another shot. Fill more of the frame with your subject. Even if you think you are close, try moving or zooming in closer. You will be surprised at how often that tiny viewfinder tricks you into thinking you are already close enough. By making your subject appear bigger and take up more of the photo, you will eliminate distracting objects on the sidelines and help viewers better understand and appreciate your picture.
  • Changing your point of view can result in a powerful compositional trick called framing. Framing is just what it sounds like! In the same way a big matted border makes a framed image look more significant, framing your subject with some kind of bounding compositional object will hold a viewer’s eye a bit longer. Move around until you can photograph from a perspective that makes use of a framing object.

With a little thought and planning, you’ll soon begin to capture photos that match your vision. And keeping an eye out for visually unique subjects will go a long way toward providing images with that very special “Wow!” impact!

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