#1 Tip: More Color

If you do only one thing to make your photos better, make it this: capture bold colors. Color is the first thing most people notice. Here are some basic tips for getting better colors.

Turn up your camera's saturation, or boost saturation in software later. This step alone can really make your snapshots stand out. To see what increased saturation looks like, move your mouse over this image (this effect doesn't work if you're reading on Facebook or RSS, come visit my blog directly):


Is it "cheating" to push the colors like this? Shouldn't we try to show the world exactly as it really is? No, this is a misunderstanding of how photography really works. Taking a photo always involves subjective interpretation. No photo can literally show exactly what you saw, instead you need to decide what experience you're trying to convey to the viewer.

Find colorful subjects. Learn to look for particularly bright colors, or particularly appealing combinations of many colors.

Snowy Jizo Statues

Shoot when the light itself is colorful, like late afternoon or early morning. This adds both color and contrast, since the sun is low and there are interesting shadows everywhere.

Quiet Beach

And finally, learn to get the correct exposure. If part of your scene is too bright or too dark, it won't have good color. I listed this last because it's not a quick tip -- it's an invitation to dive deeper into photography.

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