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 Exceptional photos without the exceptional price tag

This article is solely based on my experiences and adventures as an aspiring photographer. I picked up my first camera in high school while doing editorial photos for the high school newspaper. After a long nearly three-year hiatus from photography, my passion for photography re-ignited after joining ANAK. Through the group, I was immersed with wonderful opportunities to capture memories and emotion while challenging myself with the technical side of things.

When it comes to cameras, we are always bombarded by new technology, new gadgets and toys so we often end up spending more than we have to. You don’t necessarily need to break your wallet and splurge on the newest and most expensive camera to take great photos.

Through my experiences as an aspiring photographer, I’ve learnt to make the most out of our cameras - be it professional or point-and-shoots. If you bought a camera because you want to capture and cherish memories, here’s a few do’s and don’ts and some interesting tips on taking great portraits without spending more than you have to.

1. Although it is very tempting to hold out your arm and point the camera at yourself to take a self-portrait, refrain from doing it. At about that arm’s length distance, most cameras (pro or point-and-shoots) will have distortion. This would explain why ears disappear and noses ‘seem’ wider than usual. Get someone else to take your photo, ensure they are a few steps back, at least 4 feet.

2. If an arm’s length is all you have and don’t have the luxury of that someone, don’t use a mirror. Invest in a tripod that fits your budget. It will lend a hand in taking self-portraits and group portraits. You do want to be in the picture, too, right?

3. When taking portraits of others, it is very tempting to go all out - fiddle with the camera, get the right settings, perfect the angles and props - and completely forget about the person you’re taking a picture of. From personal experience, it’s very easy to forget that in front of that camera there IS a person. Ensure you are taking the time to communicate with the person to keep them interested and full of emotion.

And lastly, refrain from retiring that camera you purchased a year ago (even if it is tempting). Yes, so many temptations with so little time; and little time is what we have so we end up falling for those marketing ploys that try to convince how to make shooting easier. Instead, take the extra time and effort to learn more about the camera that you’ve purchased. Read on techniques and tips on how to make great photos and never forget that the camera is just the tool in capturing your vision. Don’t be afraid to be a little creative and a little crazy.

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