1. Don't Always Centre Everything; get creative!
Although many people tend to want to centre the subject(s) of their photos, it's actually better to follow the "rule of thirds." The rule of thirds states that you should divide your photo into nine equal parts using two equally spaced horizontal and vertical lines and then place your subject(s) along these lines or the intersections of these lines. For example, if you're photographing a person, you can line them up along one of the vertical lines, which puts them either on the left or right side of the photo and then line up their eyes on the horizontal line.
(See Party Photo below - I did this one using a very low F stop . Using F1.8 gives a shallow depth of field, which creates lovely soft blurry backgrounds.)
Click here for: more info re Aperture
2. Be Aware Of What You're Cutting Off
Framing people in photo's. Sometimes you may end up with part of someone's head cut off or an arm or even just their feet. You can't always include all of every part of everyone in every picture. The best way to tell if you're cutting someone off awkwardly is simply by taking a moment to line up your picture before you just snap it.
However also be aware that cutting off to enhance a certain focus point in a photo can be a good thing . On a creative level cropping can work very well... just get creative and be aware of exaclty what you decide to capture.
3. Shooting With Light Behind You, Not Your Subject
We've probably all seen pictures where the main subject is just a dark shadow. Unfortunately when your camera looks into the light, it has a hard time "seeing" other things around it properly. If you can, adjust the light source so it shines on your subject from behind you and your camera.
However if you are looking for something very creative and looking to create shadows etc, please do experiment for example : outdoor ; with the direction of the sun.... and its always fun to find out what you can get from lens flare.
4. Use Your Flash
Step 1: Figure out When the Flash Is Needed
When it comes to using flash outside . If the sun is high overhead, use the flash. The flash will brighten up any dark shadows that are created by the sun shining down. This is especially true if photographing living objects. Faces have shadows already, and the sun just creates more shadows.
However, because there is so much light, photographers don't need a lot of flash. Try setting the aperture within two stops. Try experimenting with that to see if it gives enough light. If not, try opening up the aperture a bit more.
Step 2: Bring out the Color
Flash is needed in outdoor shots to ensure that the subject's color does not get washed out. Just like flash can over-expose pictures, so can the sun. The flash will give just enough contrast to eliminate shadows and brighten up the subject. This will ensure that vibrant reds, yellows, blues, etc. are not lost under the glare of the sun.
Step 3: Using a Removable Flash
The goal of the flash is to "fill-in" the shadows. Basically, the flash needs to remove the shadows created by the sun. Sometimes, built-in flashes aren't adequate since the photographer is trying to take the picture from one angle, but the shadows are being caused by something at a different angle. External flashes, however, can be removed and placed so that they will illuminate the subject.
Try experimenting with this before taking his final portrait. Try setting up the external flash at several angles until the subject is completely illuminated. Then, try taking the picture.
Also, if the photographer does have time to set up the shot, you should do so. Set up the flash, and then set up something reflective for it to bounce off of. This can be as simple as a white board on the opposite side of the flash. This is especially important if taking portraits. The reflective object will ensure that the flash fully illuminates the subject's face and disperses any lingering shadows.
A tripod may also be necessary in these situations. The camera can be left in the optimum spot while the scene is being set up.
PHOTO (c) Michelle Heighway This is a example of how the external flash can bring out the colours in a outdoor situation.
(Image of Jake Mangle-Wurzel, a well known eccentric, based in Huddersfield. I recently completed a documentary about Jake, which was screened at The Sheffield Doc /Fest .)
Sections of the above info: Ref/ Paraphrased and Taken From :