How to Take Professional Looking Photographs

By eHow Contributor

How to Take Professional Looking Photographs. Whether you prefer using a digital or film camera, taking professional-looking pictures can be fun and rewarding. With patience and practice you will be taking photos worth framing every time. Just follow these steps.

Step 1

Study your camera. Learn how all the settings work. Read your camera's instruction book and take several test pictures.

Step 2

Check your lighting. Look for any glare visible through your viewfinder. With appropriate light, your subject's image should appear clear without glare or shadows.

Step 3

Check film speed. For action shots, use a film speed of 400 or faster. For portraits or landscapes, the best film speed is between 50 and 100.

Step 4

Determine shutter speed. Shutter speed tells the camera when to open and close the shutter. This affects how fast light enters the camera. For shadows and low light areas, 30 or 1/30 should be used. For brighter areas, a faster shutter speed like 1/10 should be used.

Step 5

Position your subject. Look through the viewfinder to make sure everything is included in the frame. Leave room around the edges of the frame to allow any adjustments you might make for different perspectives.

Step 6

Focus the camera. Many newer cameras have auto focus as a default setting. In you have a digital camera, access the menu screen and scroll down to "auto focus" to check whether it is turned on. If manual focus is your only option, or if you want to practice your focusing skills, manually adjust the focus. Read the camera's instruction manual to find the focus adjustment. Be patient, some digital cameras can take a few seconds to bring the subject into focus.

Step 7

Take your picture. In fact, take multiple pictures of each subject. Try shots from varying distances, or reposition your subject and shoot from different angles. This will give you a variety of pictures to choose from when you complete your photo shoot.

Step 8

Play with your f-stop. The f-stop on your camera lets you know how much light the lens is letting into the camera. Although it sounds backwards, the smaller the f-stop, the more light enters the camera. Most lenses vary from f-4.5 (wide open) to f-22 (closed down). Try changing the f-stop and see how it changes your photo.