I Take Terrible Photographs, How Can I Take Better Pictures?

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I Take Terrible Photographs, How Can I Take Better Pictures?

Those of you that have followed me for a while know I am a horrible photographer.  Simply awful.  I cut off heads, my pictures are blurry because I move at the last second, and the lighting is always wrong … to name but a few of the problems with my picture taking skills.   I can combat some of those problems by taking two or three shots of the same still life (not kidding), and photo editing programs have helped me center, take out redeye, clarify, etc., or my pictures would be even worse (if you can believe that!).

Sonny-boy has a great photography-eye.  Hubby and I tried to talk him into making it a minor years ago, but he wasn’t interested.  Maybe the old “if it is work it isn’t fun” theory applied?  I recall handing the camera over to Sonny-boy when he was as young as eight to take photos at family events and on vacation. It used to floor strangers who walked up to us and handed over their camera while requesting that either I, or my ex-husband, take their group photo, and instead we would hand the camera over to the kid.

We’d always reassured people that it was better this way, he has a real “eye” and we would also assure them that Sonny-boy’s photo would probably be their best one!  I always wished for contact info (this was before the days of prevalent email) to find out if they were happy with the picture(s) Sonny-boy took, but never was nervy enough to ask.  Based on what he did for us, I am sure those pics were pretty darned good.

So, any suggestions on how I can take better pictures?  I do not have an astigmatism, so that isn’t an excuse.  I bought a few light-boxes to set up a more controlled space, and now I am wondering if a new camera (ok a camera that isn’t point and shoot or my phone) is something I should look into? How important is camera equipment to a good photograph?  Hubby took the picture below during our Florida trip that is so fabulous, it looks Photoshopped.  It was taken with his blackberry!

I Take Terrible Photographs, How Can I Take Better Pictures?

Yup, with a blackberry!

Maybe I really am the world’s worst photographer and there is nothing that can be done?

Were you a terrible photographer who managed to turn it around? How’d you do it? Or have you always been able to take decent pics?  What (midpriced) cameras would you recommend for a total photospaz?  On the one hand I don’t want to waste money on something that isn’t going to help me, on the other hand, maybe I need to upgrade from my Droid to get better – or at least clearer – pictures?

I truly take terrible photographs, how can I take better pictures? Any help would be appreciated!

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  1. I hear you regarding pics, alas I’m trying! I’ve gotten much better. Problem with my house is my kitchen windows face North, and I either get no light or too much light and glare. I can’t tell you how many food blogs I’ve read for practical tips, one of them being transferred your food to another room for better exposure. Well with 3 dogs, that’s not going to happen.
    Camera’s? I bought a Nikon CoolPix P510 and I absolutely love it. I would probably love it more if I read my manual 😀 but you know how I am…
    Eventually I will get the lens, but it’s ok for the moment. The quality is surreal! Very easy to do both videos and pics, and upload is a snap! I also bought a small tripod so I can automatically snap as I’m pouring what have you. Maybe you have one!!

  2. Sorry Ann, I sent my email to your other email address. Anyways, I am not one to give advise on photography. In my family, I am known as the woman who takes pictures of her fingers. I have managed to get all ten of them, singularly, two together and the whole hand. I invited my son and daughter-in-law on a cruise to Alaska, this will be my fourth one there, and he is an amazing photographer. I am hoping to create an album that will have great pictures, not pictures of my thumb in front of a glacier, whale, brown bear and ship.

    Good Luck,

    • Have a great time, Candie! We were supposed to go back in September with my parents, but they decided to do a different cruise instead (one that we had no interest in!).


    • rofl.. well Candie, at least you can prove you were there.. Look!! Those are my fingers in front of the…. 😉

  3. MichelleK says

    I’m pretty bad myself… but that stems from techy issues… got a “decent” camera and cant figure out how to upload pics and end up taking a picture of my camera screen with my cell and uploading through facebook….hows that for BAD??!! LOL

    And that pic of hubby’s…OMG… magazine worthy!!!

  4. I think some people have it and others dont, but the good news is that many photography skills can be learned. I think the biggest thing that makes or breaks a photo is composition.. You put a photo together like you put together a recipe.. You can throw all sorts of things together and sometimes you might get lucky but if you follow the recipe, you will always get a good shot..

    There are a bazillion free How do I take good photos blogs, site, books & classes.. some free.. some not. Heck, take the NY School of Photography course study.. Its a great one!

    My mom used to always cut peoples heads off too and she never could figure out why. Some cameras have different eye pieces to help with this, but it might be best to find a camera that has a large display so you can see exactly what is being taken and also a decent DSLR will go a long long way to stop the blur issues.
    I’ve got a Cannon 20D but it doesnt have the display available when you take a picture.. you have to look thru the viewfinder. The newer models do. When I got it, it was the top of the line at the time, I havent upgraded because the 20D has more options than I will ever use..

    Was just looking around.. This looks like a decent camera for the price Canon Rebel If cameras have that much to do with it, you should be able to take great photos with it.. as long as you follow the rules of photo composition.. 😉

    Soo.. I kept looking around.. you can get a used Canon 30D which is a really awesome camera for less than half of what a new Rebel costs.. Heck there are used 40Ds on Amazon as well.. If I were in the market for a good camera, I’d be jumping on one of these in a heartbeat!

    All of the Canon DLSR camera are semi-pro cameras and are great.. One of the top end portrait photographers in our area uses them and started her business using a 20D back years ago when they were the newest thing on the market..

    You might be able to find some great deals at Adorama.com and bhphotovideo.com or find a deal thru Amazon from them.

    Even so.. even a good photographer can take AWESOME photos with a $7 point & shoot.. It really does go back to composition 99% of the time.

    • Yeah Sonny-boy is a good photographer with a $7 or less camera. I do recognize that he has an eye, and I do not. I was hoping a decent camera would go a long way towards getting rid of the blurry, out of focus pictures I am so well known for. You don’t think so, Kim?


      • I DO think that a good camera will go a long way to get rid of blurry photos.. I said so here “a decent DSLR will go a long long way to stop the blur issues.”
        I specifically mention a DSLR because the shutter speed are light waves past a regular low end digital camera.. I hated digital prior to getting my DSLR..
        With a DSLR you can stop a bird in flight if thats what you want to do or if you have multiple exposure settings on, you can stop that flight in action several frames per second.. The CanonD60 has shutter speeds of 1/8000 to 1/60 per SECOND! That’ll stop anything and keep it from being blurry. Its also able to shoot up to 5.3 frames per second (fps). What that means is that it’ll stop anything in motion if thats what you want it to do.. Heres a page that shows it action.
        dummies.com/how-to I just picked the D60 cuz if I needed a new camera, thats probably the one I’d get used. Im not dreaming.. too much. 😉 There is nothing wrong with my beloved D20. 😉

          • I think this would be a great camera.. From a specification view, its got everything you would want or need.

            “So Canon’s tried-and-trusted 18MP APS-C CMOS sensor is still in place, along with its sensitivity range of ISO 100-6400 (expandable to 12800) and 3.9fps continuous shooting. Likewise the 9-point autofocus and 63 zone metering systems are unchanged. This means that the 600D is unlikely to bring any surprises in terms of image quality.”

            It shoots 3.9 images per second (with a large & fast enough memory card) and it comes with an Image Stabilization lens which will also go a long way to stop all those blurry images.

            What I dont know about this camera is the battery life.. The type of batteries used and their life expectancy. I recommend reading all the reviews you can find on this camera AND the battery.. on Amazon and off. If you have a camera that is going to suck battery life out you, it sucks. I would make sure to get rechargable batteries for any camera I buy.

            I would be willing to bet that many of your blogger cohorts use this camera since its a good quality camera thats not too too terribly expensive. I’d ask around any forums you belong to and find someone who actually owns one. As far as blurry photos, this one will work great for you and if you use the LDC screen when you take pictures, you’ll be able to see what you’re getting before you push the button.

            I did read a few reviews & there were some non-favorable ones due to the package offered on the page you asked me about, but not the camera specifically. I would read it more carefully. I think Amazon may have changed providers on this deal since one vender name I saw wasnt listed.

            Here is a really good review video at Adorama.com that tells you all about this camera.. adorama.com
            I think if I were you, I’d do some comparison shopping and see if they have any for a good price there if you’re going to buy online. I’ll tell you why… Their customer service is awesome, bar none!
            D bought my 20D there when it was the going thing (several thousands $$) and when we got it, a couple of the tines were bent where the memory card goes into it. talk about having a heart attack!! He called them up, and they had no problem replacing it 100%, not repairing it like many places want to do. I’ve bought all sorts of camera equipment thru them and never had any problems.

            Good luck on your adventures.. Hope this helped!

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