When I'm writing my blog or choosing a 'Thing of the Week', I always look forward to photographing the topic. Of course, having a digital camera means that you can immediately see your results, and perhaps re-take the photo again and again until it is as perfect as you can get it, within reason.
Stock photos against plain white backgrounds are all very well and good, and I have my own iStockPhoto account on Getty, but I do really like to try and photograph things in their natural settings, or with an interesting backdrop. And by using my zoom lens, the background quickly becomes blurred and more interesting, with the focus on the object in the foreground. That's the kind of photography I like anyway.
Whenever you are taking a photo, inside or out, lighting is always a major consideration. If you are planning to take a photo outside, then think about the direction of the sun and try to shoot with the daylight behind you, unless you are planning more of a silhouette-style image.
For photography inside, don't shoot towards a window if possible - instead try to make use of any natural daylight. Using your camera flash can flatten your image and cause shadows, so either take your photos on a light day, or invest in a reflector screen and possibly some softbox studio lights, both of which are extremely affordable on eBay. These are invaluable and if you invest in some softboxes, you will soon wonder how you ever managed without them.
Composing your photograph can take a little skill and practice, and it is a good idea to create a balanced image that is not too central. If you are taking a portrait photo, close-up images can be extremely effective, while if you are going for more of a distant shot, try to position the person slightly to one side and off-centre, especially where shadows are involved. Consider that your image is made up of three or five vertical blocks, which come together to make one harmonious photograph.
Image Editing with PhotoShop
Don't rush your photograph, unless it is perhaps an action shot. Be sure that you have the camera settings set correctly and that everything is focused as you intend.
When you important your photos onto your computer, study them and see how them could possible by improved by using some photo editing software, such as PhotoShop. The more you play around with cropping, re-sizing, cloning, colour balance and brightness, the better you will become at improving your images. You will also learn how to improve your initial framing and lighting as well. And if you are uploading your picture to Instagram, you can take advantage of their numerous fun image filters to improve and enhance your photo.