A good background can make or break an image.
If the background does not add to the image, you need to try to remove it or make it invisible. Either move your feet and change your angle to the subject or change your viewpoint to 'hide' the background.
The background can also be useful and should be included, using leading lines (tip #5) or colours to help emphasise the subject of your photograph.
Whatever you do be aware of your background to ensure you don't spoil your image.
Yep you have probably heard of it, but what does it actually mean.
Well in simple terms any framed image (art or photo) is broken into thirds along the horizontal & vertical edges. By 'framing' in photography means the image you have framed to capture in your photograph.
As per the sample below you can see how the image is broken into thirds. The idea is to align your key components of the image to a third, like the cyclists below.
By using the thirds you can see how it gives the image some character. It's not to say don't have a subject in the centre, but using the thirds rule helps give interest to what could be a plain image.
What is DOF?
Well, it stands for Depth of Field and it's controlled primarily by the aperture setting in your lens. It is the amount of in-focus bits of an image shown in the image below by the in-focus subject but a very blurry background and foreground.
If the aperture is wide open you get a shallow depth of field, if your aperture is closed you get a wide depth of field.
If you use Auto mode, the camera will do this for you to some degree, but if you want to control this and get really great blurry (Bokeh) backgrounds, then you need to learn how to use either Aperture Priority mode or go manual.
So the tip is for auto mode, get close to your subject so that the in-focus portion is a small part of the image and then your background will blur out.
Whenever you are taking photos of kids or animals put your camera on 'burst' mode (continuous shooting) so that you take multiple shots of the same scene.
Usually marked on the camera by this symbol
This will help you capture those fantastic little facial expressions that only kids and animals can provide.