A password will be e-mailed to you.

Photography can be really fun. But if you’ve tried to take pictures and they don’t turn out right, it’s not fun. So here are some basic tips that should help you learn how to take great pictures. And when I mean basic, I mean really basic. Photography is a complex subject and is an art form, so these tips are just really simple ones that should get you on the right track. Here are our 11 ways to take better pictures.

1. Lighten up your environment

Light is an essential part of composing a picture. Too much can be a bad thing, but most of the time, you need more of it!

2. Align your shot off-center

Sure, centering an image is required a lot of the time. But try shooting your subject off-center once and awhile. This is known as framing.

3. Use a good camera

Getting a “good” camera these days isn’t very expensive. You can get a used Canon DSLR for real cheap. Even the older ones like, for example, the Rebel XSI are still great cameras. Keep in mind that it’s not all about the camera; you could have a Canon 5d mk III and still take terrible pictures.

4. Golden hour

If you’ve been around photographers at all, you’ve probably heard this term. The golden hour is when the sunlight is softer which happens shortly after sunrise and before sunset. Your pictures are sure to look at least slightly better when you take them during golden hour.

5. Background

Be aware of what’s in your shot, including your background.

6. ISO Setting

Obviously, if your shooting outdoors on a sunny day, ISO 100 or 200 is what you should be using. When it’s darker out you’ll need to crank up the ISO. On cloudy days, ISO 400 should be good. If it’s really dark out, you’ll have to go a lot higher, which will affect the quality of your shots.

7. Have fun

Don’t get stressed out while taking pictures! It should be fun!

8. Manual settings please

Never use the auto setting. It’s just…no. Learn to use the manual setting. You’ll be much happier with the results.

9. Focus

An out-of-focus image is usually worthless (unless you’re doing it intentionally and you know what you’re doing). Make sure your images are in focus by using manual focus.

10. Take more pictures

Try to take plenty of photos. That way, you have more opportunities to get that great shot.

11. Don’t over-edit

This doesn’t directly have to do with taking pictures, but it’s important. Don’t obsess over trying to fix every little thing about a photo.