freelance writing jobs

Earn Extra Income Online to Supplement Your Income

Nowadays a lot of people work two jobs a day in order to pay their monthly bills. For single parents with kids to fetch from school or college students with a heap of term papers to write, working two jobs in a day can be very demanding. The answer to this problem could lie in learning how to earn extra income online from home. But, you need to know how to look for legitimate ways to earn money on the internet first.

You will come across some companies that try to tempt you with offers that are just too good to be true. An example is cash gifting, and this money making scam lures unknowing people with promises to multiply their deposits within a month. The truth of the matter is that you can’t earn real money unless you give real service in exchange. Ignore the hype and remember that the only way to earn extra income online is to work for it.

You should be very wary as well if a company tells you that you need to deposit money first before you can work for them. Firms shouldn’t require “deposits” when they hire you. They should be paying you for your services, not the other way around.

You should make sure that the companies are credible first before applying for an online job. Most of the time legitimate companies do not conceal their actual office address from the public. Look for valid contact numbers on their websites as well. Remember, it’s very easy to erase websites, and if you have nothing to hold on to, anyone can run off on you without making payments. If you can, try to protect yourself with legal contracts for every project that your work on.

To work with the skills that you already possess is the best way to earn extra income online. It may be well worth your while to go into article marketing if you are experienced in writing. Article marketing is a branch of online businesses that deal with providing web content writing services for random websites. If you are a better speaker, on the other hand, you should probably look into the possibilities of online tutoring or video blogging.

Online tutoring or teaching is perfect for the college student who is trying to earn extra cash while studying. You will not have to worry about spending extra hours on travel, and cash on travel expenses as a student. Since you are based in your dorm, you will also save up enough energy to finish writing all those term papers.

Affiliate marketing is another ideal way to earn extra income online as you can sign up as an affiliate for free and start marketing the products without having to outlay any money, as the affiliate program ships the products and provides you with the marketing materials.

If you do not have a lot of time available, an easy way to earn extra money on the internet is by taking online paid surveys. As long as you have access to the internet you will be able to complete a survey in a few minutes.

You also need to look at the available equipment you have at hand when you look for ways to earn extra income online. The equipment requirements are very minimal if it is just a writing job. It is least likely that you will be asked to install special software and messaging programs. All you need to have is your laptop, the right word processing program, and an internet connection.

When you are a home based website designer or online tutor, on the other hand, you may be asked to install certain programs. Ensure that your computer and internet speed fit the system requirements. If it is going to cost you too much to have everything set up, look for other ways to earn extra income online.

Written by Cynthia Minnaar

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The Use of Drones in Photography

Drones are being extensively used in the field of photography. It started as a hobby, but recently it has taken a professional turn. A drone is an amazing tool that can help capture breathtaking aerial shots that were unimaginable before. You might have seen stunning aerial shots of landscapes like mountains, rivers, deserts and fields in movies. A helicopter is usually used for filming such images in the movie business and a large crew is present to assist the camera person. However, in real life it is almost impossible to arrange for a helicopter. Even if you have the finances available to you to arrange for a helicopter, you would require a pilot to fly the helicopter so that you can take photos. So, if you want to indulge in aerial photography without having to spend a fortune over it, then drones are your best option.

Drones come in various varieties. You can choose the one most suited to your photography needs quite easily. There are some models that can be bought for less than $100 such as the Blade Nano QX. This model is ideal for beginners and budding photographers who have just started using drones for photography purposes. There is always a possibility that the drone will crash while you are learning to fly it, so it is better to buy a cheaper version first.

Photographers who are well-versed in piloting a drone by themselves can opt to buy more advanced drones that have the capability of carrying a larger camera. Some of the most popular models of drones that are currently being used for commercial photography include the DJI Phantom series. If you are confident about your drone flying skills then you can even go for the Iris by 3D Robotics. These drones may cost you around $800, but they are worth the cost. The quality of photos that you get from these drones is amazing.

There are other drones that come with an attached Go Pro camera such as DJI Phantom 2 but the cost is double of what you will pay for the ones mentioned above. Do keep in mind that better the camera you have on your drone, the higher the quality of pictures and videos you will be able to shoot.

The camera is the most important piece of equipment when you are interested in clicking great shots with the help of your drone. A crucial factor in the selection of the camera is its weight. The best camera in the market at the moment is the GoPro Hero3 Black edition which weighs a mere 73 grams and can give you high quality photos and videos. This camera has built-in Wi-Fi and is compatible with OEM and third party accessories. The accessories that you may want to buy include:

· Transmitter to increase the range of your link.

· Receiver to decrease the noise when you receive the video on the ground.

· Goggles to view the video feeds.

· Anti-gravity motors and specialized remote controls are also a few accessories that will improve your experience with your drone.

Written by Victor Holman

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The Best Mortgage Refinance Options

There are many mortgage refinance options available to you when wanting to update or renew your loan. We will discuss a few of those here. The main reason most people refinance is to lower their payments due to lower interest rates. By taking advantage of the lower rates they can lower monthly payments thereby saving money. One other good reason is that despite their credit score has improved and they can qualify for better rates as well.

1. The first place to look is at your current mortgage holder. Unless you have had problems with them, they would normally be more than willing to redo your mortgage for you. Why? Because they will make money once again re-financing your loan. Much of the paper work that you may have done the first time will not necessarily have to be done again. If you remember that first time, anything that can be done to eliminate any of the minutia will be welcome, correct?

2. You can use the broker who worked with you the first time around. Although real estate brokers are not lenders, they work with them all the time. They generally know where to get the best deals as they are wheeling and dealing in the market constantly. They usually have everything right at their fingertips and can get you off to a running start.

3. You can always go to the bank you normally deal with. Most banks today handle mortgages and have all that you will require. This also puts your mortgage right where your finances are already securely stored. If one institution holds all your financial papers, it is very easy for you to keep up with them. They are generally happy to work with their banking customers. It gives them just that much more business from their valued clients.

When looking at your different mortgage refinance options you should take into consideration a few key items. If you have had your mortgage a long time, refinancing may not be a good idea. If your mortgage has a pre-payment penalty, you do not want to refinance. If you are planning on moving in the next few years you may want to rethink a refinance. There are reasons to do a re-finance and there are also reasons not to do so. Your home is the largest expense you will make in your lifetime. Think it through prior to making such an important step. If you are going to refinance, do it now before interest rates can climb again.

Written by Daniel Skilbeck

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The Secrets to Good Website Home Page Design

Your home page is the most important page of your website. People will decide within 5 seconds whenever they want to stay. The goal of the page is to communicate broadly what you do and to create the right first impression.

But, most of all, it make users want to click something .

Do not try and say everything on the home page. This is the most common mistake I see. You have plenty of opportunity throughout the rest of the site to explain what you do so please do not feel you have to say it all on the front cover.

Look at the best book covers, they entice you to pick up the book and open it. This is quite the role of a home page.

Home page's are slightly more complex than a book cover in that repeat visitors do not needlessly just want to see a 'front cover' every visit. The BBC website for example must have lots of current news and affairs constantly changing on it's home page. Once a user is familiar with a website then the purpose of the home page changes. It becomes more about communicating new information on the site, eg special offers, new products, news etc.

Make the navigation simple . I've seen so many sites with far too many buttons. Try to rationalize all of your products or services into 3 or 4 broad categories. This really helps the user understand what you do and helps them decide where to go on the site.

Have dynamic content to bring the page to life with new content. eg. news or Twitter feeds, special offers, latest videos etc.

Contact Details – display them on the page in case people are just coming to your website to get in touch.

Brand Consistency – make sure the web design reflects your brand identity. So many sites bastardise a company logo to fit into a web design. Also things like typography, color pallettes and tone of voice need to be consistent with your offline marketing.

And finally, do not use templates ! Use an experienced graphic designer (not a 'web developer') to create a bespoke home page that's tailor specifically to your company.

There is a big difference in skill set between a designer and a developer. A designer's job is to create the look and feel and communicate the right messages. A developer's role is to translate this vision into a useable website which functions well across all platforms and devices.

Written by Shaun Uthup

Source by http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Secrets-to-Good-Website-Home-Page-Design&id=7241183

Engagement Photography Tips, Article 2

Are You Serious?

If you are – do not be! When you go out to have your engagement photos taken by a friend, you need to have a good time. Focus solely on your fiancé and your love for them. Enjoy spending time with them! Too many people focus on the camera and get nervous and uptight: and it shows in the photos.

Hopefully your fiancé is the only person in the world that can help you forget about everything else – which would include the camera …

Do Your Homework

Planning for an engagement session will typically improve the quality of the results. Here are a few steps I would suggest you take as you begin planning:

Run Google searches for "engagement photography" and "engagement photos." Look for images that you think you and fiancé could imitate. Print off about 20 of your favorite images. Go over them with your fiancé and narrow the list down to the ones that both of you really like and think will be possible. Then, show those to your friend who will be taking your pictures. Whittle the samples down even further based upon their thoughts and feedback. Try to end up with 5 or 10 sample images that everyone is excited about.

Look closely at those sample photos to see what types of location are being used and what the lighting looks like. A lot of engagement photos are taken in either a park or city location. I would suggest driving around and scouting possible photo locations for the session. But do not just do a "drive-by scouting"! Get out of your car with your camera and take actual photos inside each park of the locations you think would work best. Compare your snapshots with the sample photos you printed off.

You can also do internet research by looking at the web sites of local wedding photographers. While your previous search for engagement photography would have returned nation-wide results, the goal of this research is to see where the local wedding pros are shooting their engagement sessions. You'll likely recognize some of the parks and buildings that they are working in and near.

Lots of Photos

Hopefully your friend will be using a digital camera. That way they can take lots of images without worry about film expense. Sometimes the difference between an average photo and a great photo is simply changing the angle and perspective of the camera!

This point was really driven home to me with some recent engagement photo sessions I have done. I am in the process of creating an eBook to help couples take top-notch engagement photos. I had another photographer help me out with several engagement sessions. Together, we shot about 600 photos during each two-hour engagement session. During the session, I would often setup and take photos of the couple. While I was doing so my assistant would be moving around and photographing the same scene at different angles. Afterwards, I would look at the photos I took and also some of the side-angles my assistant shot at those same times – and there is often a night and day difference between the two. The couple did not move or change their pose; the only difference was the angle at which the image was taken!

So, once you have found a good location for your photo session and you and your fiancé are in position – let your photographer snap away! Do not limit the shots they're taking!

And again: have fun with the session. Smile a ton. Laugh a lot. Make the photo session a special memory that you and your fiancé will share for a lifetime.

Written by Christopher Maxwell

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Swimming Workout

A swimming workout can be a new and refreshing way to get or stay in shape. Swimming is a full body aerobic sport that tones muscles, improves strength and flexibility, increases circulation, controls weight and gains body contours.

Swimming workouts give you a low impact activity that can easily be tailor to match your abilities. A good way to gain cardiovascular stamina is to exercise in a swimming pool.

The secret to a good swimming exercise program is to work with the water. To accomplish this, propel yourself through the water by using your abs, hips and shoulders.

To understand why water exercise works so well, you need to know about water's unique properties. In water, your body has almost no gravity. You're relieved of 90% of your body weight so you become very buoyant.

You can float, bob and relax without feeling like you're putting out any effort. Yet water provides 12 to 14 percent more resistance than air, so as you move through it, it's like having weights around you.

Swimming laps is great exercise in a swimming pool. Try different strokes to vary the muscles you work to keep your workout balanced.

Going vertical or upright is another very effective exercise in water. These types of water workouts include water walking, jogging, water aerobics, water toning, water therapy, water yoga and water flexibility training.

You can strengthen your muscles with these vertical water workouts because you experience 75% greater resistance than swimming horizontally. This vertical position maximizes the resistance of water against your movements.

Water based activities can provide significant benefits for older adults too. In addition to increasing metabolism, physical activity can improve cardiovascular health and increase strength, not to mention the psychological and social benefits as well.

Joining an aquatics class or just sharing a swimming workout with a friend can help you feel better about yourself. You can be more socially active, engage in community activities and tend to not lose your independence because you are more physically fit.

The bottom line is to choose activities that you enjoy and will stick with. It is never too late to introduce physical activity into your life. Swimming workouts can provide a healthy and enjoyable way to get back the fun you use to have as a child.

Copyright © 2005 Treadmill Info.com All Rights Reserved.

Written by Gary Gresham

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Temperament in Life and Work

Free will can carry us far but not infinitely beyond our genetic limits. We can stretch ourselves like a rubber band can stretch, but only so much. It's like Stephen King is never going to be Stephen Colbert, no matter how much he polishes his comic delivery, and Stephen Colbert can never be Stephen King, no matter how much time he spends alone writing. A person's preference for stimulating turns out to be a specific characteristic, and once you realize your own preferences, you can begin to intentionally situate yourself in environments favorable to your own temperament-yet over-stimulating nor under-stimulating, either boring nor stressful. By attaching to the range of preferences in your and your family's life, you can tap into increased energy and satisfaction.

Even though people can push to the outer limits of their temperament, it's often better to situ ourselves squarely inside our own unique sweet spot. Too much stimulation produces a sense of being unable to think straight, it makes people tongue-tied, and it's the feeling when you've had enough and want to go home. Not enough stimulation is something like cabin fever: you feel idgy, restless, sluggish, like not enough is happening and it's time to get out of the house.

It's overly simplistic to say that we should always seek moderate levels of stimulation. After all, excited fans at a soccer game crave more stimulation, while people who visit spas for relaxation seek low levels, and confusingly, high stimulation levels measured in the brain do not always correlate with how we feel. Also there are many different kinds of stimulation: loud music is not the same as mortar fire, which is not the same as presiding over a meeting. Furthermore, you may be more sensitive to one form of stimulation than another, and some of us seem to enjoy more stimulation than others.

We naturally seek our own sweet spot of optimal stimulation, and we do it without much awareness. It's a dynamic process. Imagine sitting contentedly under a grape arbor reading a fantastic novel. This is a sweet spot, but after half an hour, you realize that you've read the same sentence five times. Now you're under stimulated, so you call a friend to go for coffee. In other words, you ratchet up your stimulation level. As you laugh and talk, you're back, thank goodness, inside your sweet spot. However this agreeable state lasts only until your friend (who needs more stimulation than you) persuades you to accompany her to a party, where you're confronted by loud music, plates of food, alcohol, and a room full of strangers. The people seem affable enough, but you feel pressured to make small talk above the din of music. Now-bam, just like that-you've moved away from your sweet spot, except this time you're overstimulated.

The recognition of the role stimulation plays in your own actions and emotions is a powerful tool, and now you'll be much better at understanding the dynamics between too much and too little. Once you become attuned to your temperament in terms of stimulation you'll be able to design your office, home, and social life for as much time inside your sweet spot as possible. People who inhabit their sweet spots the majority of time gain the ability to stretch when they want to, work with people in more useful ways, and change parts of their environment that exhausts them.

Written by Douglas Rugh, PhD

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How To Get Desktop Wallpaper – FAQs

Have you always been fascinated by desktop wallpaper but have had questions about how to use them, whether they affect the functioning of your computer or even about what 3D wallpaper is? The fact is that these wallpapers are very easy to install on your computer screen and can be a source of joy and inspiration while you are working on the computer.

What is desktop wallpaper? When you start up your computer and it loads up, the initial screen that you see in the background on which all your program or document shortcuts are placed. In most cases the wallpaper is a single color. However, you can replace this with another image either by downloading one from the internet or using one from your own collection. These images in the background do not decrease the speed or performance of your computer.

How does having a desktop wallpaper help? Is it really needed? While having decorative wallpaper is not necessary or compulsory, it is a choice that many people exercise to add a personal touch to their computer. This is done either through selecting a picture or image that means something to them or even having a quote that is a reminder or an inspiration of one’s philosophy or goals. Many look at it as a style statement.

Can I make my own designs for desktop wallpaper? This is a common question asked by users who do not know how to save an image as their wallpaper. Once you learn the simple process you can use your own photographs of your pet, children or even a favorite place and add it as the background to cheer you up when you are feeling down or low.

How do I add or change desktop wallpaper? The process of changing your wallpaper or background is so easy that once you learn how, you would probably change it at least once a week. All you have to do is select the image or photograph that you would like to use. This can be either free downloaded wallpaper from a website or a photograph from your collection. Once you make the selection, setting wallpaper is easy, right click the image and choose the option to set it as your background.

Once you learn the process and how easy it is, you can experiment with different screen resolutions, tiling or even 3D desktop wallpaper that offers lifelike designs or animations. You can find several websites that offer free downloads of unique designs, high quality images or even 3D animated wallpaper.

Written by Ivan Tokic

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Food Photography Techniques for Capturing Minimalist Cooking

The rise of minimalist cooking is changing the art of food photography. The following is a look at some of the techniques adopted by photographers to capture the simplicity and the spirit of this modern cuisine. Whether it is because of the recession or a genuine desire to downsize and simplify, minimalist cooking has become extremely popular.  Everything from expensive and hard to acquire  ingredients to rarely used, specialized utensils and equipment have been pared back to the bare minimum. Less is definitely more. Many photographers have noticed this change, either consciously or intuitively and are evolving and adapting their techniques to suit. The old sumptuous saturated glistening overfilled image just doesn’t seem to be a good match for this new approach to cooking and food in general.

The photographers who get this and have a feel for the subject have started to utilize a few specific techniques which serve to emphasize the subject matter but in a much more understated way and this article will lay out a few of these basic techniques. It is not intended to be a comprehensive photography primer and most of the techniques will not require expensive equipment. It needs to be stated though, that even a basic dSLR camera will be capable of much more flexibility than even the best point and shoot due to the amount of control available to the operator. This does not mean however that perfectly acceptable results cannot be achieved with the point and shoots, just that the range of possibilities is smaller.

Simplicity is the Key

When composing the shot keep things very simple, plain white plates and brushed steel or plain counter tops work very well. If the image needs a bit of additional color, a sprig of a fresh herb such as sage is more than enough. Shoot on a level with or just a few degrees above the food. We are used to looking down on food and, in photography, offering a fresh perspective is always a good idea as it wakes the viewer’s brain up. It also adds interesting possibilities for lighting but more about that later.

A blurred background is generally a good thing as this emphasizes the subject. This can be achieved by either using a long lens e.g. a 300ml with a wide aperture from a few feet away with a dSLR or by utilizing the macro setting on a point and shoot and getting in really close, normally within a foot of the subject. Both of these approaches have the added benefit of giving a very narrow depth of field. This means that only a small proportion of even the main subject is likely to be in focus. This concentrates the viewer’s attention even more. 

The Tripod

The only piece of equipment that is essential for taking high quality food photographs, other than a camera of course, is a tripod. It may not be required for every single shot but not having one would rule out a lot of potentially good shots. The choices would be between a small  tabletop model, probably best with the smaller point and shoot camera. This would enable the tripod to be set on the same surface as the item being photographed, very useful when the camera has to be close to the food. There is a small tripod available that has flexible legs enabling it to be wrapped around objects such as  tree branches and signpost poles. This type of support would come into its own for say, picnics or barbecues. The bigger dSLR cameras tend to be too heavy for the smaller tripods  and generally require a normal sized model. The advice usually given to photographers is to buy the most expensive tripod that they can afford. I would say buy the tripod that will do the job without breaking the bank.

Whatever tripod is used always either release the camera’s shutter remotely or use the timed delay function built into just about every camera now on the market. Pressing the shutter causes the camera to vibrate so doing this off camera or giving the camera time to settle down before the shutter release makes for a much sharper photograph. This leads us to the main reason for using a tripod: the photograph can be taken in natural light, i.e. flash isn’t essential. As a rule of thumb good natural light is always preferable to artificial if the choice is between one or the other but often the best photographs use a combination of the two.

Lighting

While the above applies to food photography in general  there are specific lighting approaches that give a more minimalist feel. The use of a very strong  back light is one such approach. The best source is a window that occupies the entire background. This will give a very bright background with any colors reduced to pastels and objects such as trees, cars or other buildings reduced to abstract shapes. Now if this were the only light source used the food itself would be silhouetted and appear far too dark so a little fill light is needed. This is a blast of light from the camera’s flash that is not as powerful as it would be if there was no ambient light but is powerful enough to illuminate the main subject. Point and shoot cameras generally have a setting that automates this process while a little more experimentation may be required with dSLRs and flashes.

A couple of quick points about lighting that applies to all photography. Direct light is harsh and produces heavy sharp shadows. I think that it is safe to say that in all minimalist food photography this is a bad thing so we need to soften the light. This applies to both natural and artificial light. With expensive off camera flashes a small diffuser that fits over the bulb is usually enough. In the case of smaller cameras with built in flashes a little ingenuity goes a long way. If the flash can be covered with a piece of semi transparent clear plastic or even a piece of greaseproof paper results can be improved dramatically. The worse light source for photography is the small built in flash units on cheaper cameras. As for natural light, direct sunlight is to be avoided which is why a North or south facing window is best. If direct sunlight is the only option then a semi transparent plastic shower curtain attached to a frame of plastic piping makes for a great diffuser.

The Computer

Of course the process does not end with pressing the shutter. Once the session is finished, or even during the session, the images are uploaded to a computer and edited. Usually the editing consists of little more than a bit of sharpening, a slight color correction or a minor crop. It is possible to use the computer for just these technical chores but, with a little imagination, the computer, can become a creative tool in it’s own right. A minimalist approach to photography requires an awareness of what is essential to the image and what is incidental. It is often possible to lose information by increasing the exposure at this stage, often an increase of two thirds to a full stop can really make an image pop. Part of the reason that this is so effective is because it makes dull and off  whites bright. This effect is often used in fashion photography but works equally well with food. 

Technique and Eye

There is no great mystery regarding what makes for great minimalist food photography. The best advice, as with all types of photography, is to find images that you like which were taken by others, see which techniques were applied, then practice. Hopefully a combination of good technique and a practiced eye will produce something unique. The following techniques work well for me: diffuse natural light from behind the subject and fill flash to fully illuminate the subject; a low point of view, get close to the same level as the food; blur the background and aim for a small depth of field; on the computer, sharpen the image a little, crop and color correct if required. Above all, experiment and have fun. One day I may be practicing and writing about a technique that you have discovered.

Written by Steve A Wolfe

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Wildlife Photography – Eliminating an Unwanted Background

Wildlife photography inspires professional and amateur photographers alike. The possibilities of our natural world provide an endless source of fascination.

Choosing a good subject for a wildlife photo is never difficult. The variety of characters in the animal kingdom provides a never-ending source of material. Even better, some of the best subjects can be found in the cities, even in our own backyards. You do not have to be an intrepid world traveler to enjoy a satisfying hobby as a wildlife photographer.

It can be a real challenge to capture a natural looking photo in a suburban setting. If you can eliminate any man-made distractions from your photo, you can create the illusion of an image captured in a total natural environment.

A bad background can really spoil the impact of a good wildlife subject, but how do we avoid it? Of course these days there are plenty of people who would just edit it out using a computer, but (believe it or not) most people still prefer to rely on their camera skills rather than on software.

Here are some simple tips to help you eliminate a bad background from your wildlife photos.

The first thing to do is simply position yourself to find the best angle to take your photo. Imagine you are trying to photograph a bird in a tree. From one angle, you might be able to see power lines or the roof of the house in the background. If you move to a better angle, you may be able to capture the green foliage of the tree as your background instead.

This may seem obvious, but one reason so many photos fail is because the photographer does not bother to make this small extra effort.

Secondly, you need to try to reduce the amount of background that is visible in your photo. This can be as simple as getting as close as possible to the subject and using your largest lens. This is a very easy technique. Moving closer ensures the subject fills as much of the frame as possible. Your greatest lens (or the largest zoom on your lens) narrows the field of view in a photo so that the focus in on the subject, not on the surroundings.

The extra advantage of a telephoto lens is that it has a naturally small depth of field. This means while your subject is in focus, everything in front and behind is a blur. So not only does the telephoto lens reduce the amount of background that is visible in your photo; what you can see should be completely out of focus.

The final step to eliminate a distracting background is to open the aperture as wide as possible. This is simple photography theory; a wide aperture produces a narrow depth of field. So if you are already using a large lens, and you add a narrow aperture as well, you reduce your depth of field to its absolute minimum. Now you should be able to produce an almost three dimensional image, with your sharply focused subject emerging from a totally out-of-focus background.

As you can see from the simplicity of these guidelines, it is easy to reduce the distraction of an unattractive background. It does not take fancy equipment or a diploma in photography. All it takes is a little extra effort, and understanding how to use the camera you have.

Now consider all the situations where these tips can improve your photos. When taking photos at your backyard, at the zoo or out in the street, you can use these simple methods to create the illusion that they were taken in the wild. Even if your background is not that ugly, it can provide a distraction from the main subject. By putting the background out of focus, it becomes a soft palette of color that makes the subject really stand out.

Best of all, these are techniques you can try today – so happy snapping!

Written by Andrew Goodall

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