I worte a how to on how to take good photos -- inspired by the tutorial by Philip Greenspun at the photo.net
This is incomplete --- but it might help some newbies -- comments are welcome.
1. Do Not take sad photos. No body likes sad photos.
2. Nature photos' depth of focus shd be large -- ie tiny aperture.
3. Portraits, depth of focus small.. have the entire object in the frame.
Get the object to fill the frame; minimal empty spaces, and use something to get the cheer. minimal nose and no shadows of nose or eyes.. that makes the photos sad. use b/w if necessary. -- with females, the hair a a big asset -- use it to blend the skin and atone of the face. -- DONOT worry abt symmetry -- infact an un-symmetric pic is probably going to have better asthetics.
men -- blue shirt, blend with the sky..
children -- brighter the clothes, better the pics.. let the pics be natural -- donot tell them to pose -- just wait for the better opportunity,
same rule applies - if the nature does not offer anything worthwhile, use max aperture.
4. ppl with big tummies :) or ppl who are dis-proportioned(too tall, too thin, too dark or too gora or extremely big eyes), in any way - avoid the dispropotion in the pic, easy way wld be to highlight other features.. anyway i dont have a big lens -- not yet :)
5.Needless to say, with moving obj the shutter speed has to be high, try playing with shutter speed with moving water droplets.. :)
6. stairs, corridors give a very impressive though easy to achieve effect with a thin aperture camera.. the depth of field need to be high here. With tall building, if u take a photo, right from its base,small aperture , the effect will be that of a very large foundation.
7. Animals are usually brilliant subjects, use the eye colors in dogs and cats. Also use a medium depth of field, let the animal blend in its sorrounding. If u take a animal alone, in the frame, it becomes a sad photo. Pets with the "masters" form a happy couple - or so it seems; comment; use the trick.
8. Flowers, large aperture, focus on one object and use the dew for effect. Use skylight, not sunlight and no flash please.
9. Forget abt wildlife and birds and nature scenery with a 80 mm lens.. u need atleast 400 mm to start with.
10. A good photograf is one which would have a feature u are trying to bring out, and supresses all other features.; a girl with beautiful hair and a short skirt; what do u want to show????
11. shadows are not always bad.. they can give u pretty impressive results, but definately not on the things that u want the image to contain.
12. light -- pay attention -- too much light causes eyes to squint. if not in the right direction, it will have shadows under the eyes.