Photography has always been one of the most popular hobbies around. The emergence of digital cameras has made it easier for more people to learn the nuances of photography. Most of these cameras are ready for action as soon as you take them out of the box. In fact, even people with rudimentary photography skills can instantly take impressive photos with these devices. Of course, it will take some effort and mastery to get the most out of digital cameras. Here are some digital photography tips to help you become a better shutterbug and produce better quality photos.

  1. Learn how to hold the camera. One of the most common problems rookie photographers make is blurring. This is mainly caused by instability when taking photos, especially at low shutter speeds. The way to avoid this is to keep your camera steady when shooting. To do this, you should learn how to hold your camera properly. The proper way to hold your digital camera is to hold it using both hands — one supporting the body and the other around the lens. For additional stability, hold the camera close to your body.
  1. Use the rule of thirds. There is actually a reason why the screen of your camera has a grid option that divides the screen into 9 smaller squares. While most pictures work best with the focal point located at the center square, placing the subject off-center can work wonders in some photos. Use the rule of thirds to guide you in composing a photograph with an off-center subject.
  1. Use a simple background. This is a great technique to employ if you want the subject to be main focus of your picture. Using neutral colors and simple patterns at the background will eliminate all potential distractions from the background, putting the spotlight solely on your subject. This is one of the easiest and best ways to create great portrait-type images.
  1. Do not use flash indoors. Using flash in an enclosed environment can lead to the creation of unnatural images. This is because flash causes color alterations in the finished image. There are other alternative ways to create bright images without resorting to flash. The best technique is by increasing both the aperture and the ISO as doing so would allow maximum light to enter the lens. For this technique, you might need to use a tripod and/or image stabilization to prevent blurring.
  1. Make panning shots. The panning shot is the go-to technique for people who want to take subjects in motion. Performing this takes practice, but it will yield high quality moving images when done right. Use a shutter speed about 2 steps lower than usual. Lock the focus on your subject by pressing the shutter halfway down. Once ready, take the picture while still following your subject. When done right, it forms a clear image of the subject within a blurred background.
  1. Experiment with shutter speeds to create effects. Manipulating shutter speed is one of the best ways to create photo effects. A faster shutter speed will capture the image quickly, creating a clear (or at least semi-clear) image of a moving object. A slower shutter speed causes the formation of trails left by the moving object. It is advisable that you read a more comprehensive photography guide on using shutter speed settings.
  1. Adjust ISO according to scenes. ISO determines the sensitivity of your camera to light. It is also indirectly involved with how fine the graining of the image is. When taking images in the dark, higher levels of ISO (400-3,200) is needed to maintain image clarity. During bright days (e.g. daylight settings), low ISO (around 100) or even setting it at auto should be more than enough to create clear images.

There are so many things to learn before you can be fully skilled at handling a digital camera. With diligence and patience, you can master how to use these devices. But perhaps the most important digital photography tip of all is this: Never stop learning.