Photography has never been easier. Modern point-and-shoot cameras give amateurs access to many of the same techniques that professionals use to produce high-quality pictures.
And these cameras are growing more capable every year. High-capacity memory cards let you store hundreds of pictures. Zoom lenses offer versatility. Even 3-D cameras are starting to become available. Today, a relatively inexpensive point-and-shoot can give you all the tools you need to take top-notch photos. What's more, digital-editing programs offer you a virtual darkroom on your computer.
Technology has made many aspects of photography automatic. Cameras focus for you, set the color balance and determine the exposure. Some adjust for your shaky hand or identify and focus on the faces of people in your picture.
But remember that photography is about more than equipment. It's not your equipment that takes good pictures, any more than it's your pots and pans that cook a great meal. You, the photographer, are what makes a good picture -- or a bad one. How you use your camera's features is more important than the technology itself, and your eye is the most valuable tool you have.
We're going to be focusing on digital photography here for a simple reason: Taking pictures with film has become a thing of the past for most amateur photographers [source: Yolles]. But remember that many of the same techniques apply whether you're shooting digital or film.
Read on for five easy techniques that will make you a better photographer.