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Since this is the first month of our “new year” for the photo challenge, I want to quickly recap a few fundamentals — basics you should be thinking about every time you snap a photo. First, get in close. Literally. Get closer to your subject. Fill the frame corner to corner and edge to edge with exactly what you want in your picture and eliminate everything else. If you’re just starting out, you’re probably aiming to capture the subject in your shot and neglecting the rest of the frame.  When you do that, you get “snapshots.” Now snapshots are great for family albums. I wouldn’t have any visible family history if it weren’t for my grandmother and her snapshots of our holidays. But I hope to help you get more than snapshots. And the first step is to get in close. Think of your photo as a painting. That tiny square (your viewfinder) is your canvas. What do you want to paint?  Do you want to paint a huge field with people walking in the distance?  Do you want to paint the family with the whole living room? Or do you want to focus on the family? Do you want to paint Grandpa with a telephone pole growing out of his head, or do you just want Grandpa? My point is: When you start looking through the viewfinder as though it’s a canvas, you’ll begin to notice more in it. And you’ll get better at “painting” exactly what you want — nothing less and nothing more. It simply takes practice to look through the viewfinder, to see your whole frame, and to move in closer. Whatever is on your “canvas” when you click the shutter is what makes up your “composition.” Once you’ve made it habit to move in closer, begin to pay attention to the Rule of Thirds. It’s a quick way to revolutionize your photography. Next week I’ll re-visit a couple more fundamentals that will immediately — and easily — improve your photos. Remember, submissions for November’s Photo Challenge, “A Season For Family,” are due by 8:00 a.m. EST on Monday, December 3. [Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]

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