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Top 10 tips

Editor of Practical Photography Andrew James starts you off.

1 Always carry your camera with you It doesn't matter whether you are on your way to work, walking the dog, or jogging to keep fit - if you don't have a camera with you, you can't grab the moment when inspiration strikes. Many of the new digital compact cameras are small but still produce great results.

2 Look for small detail in a big scene You don't always have to shoot the big picture to take the best picture. Look for something that represents your scene but is simpler and more powerful.

3 Don't just snap and run Some pictures might need a quick reaction to grab but others should have a more considered approach. When your eye is looking through the viewfinder, make sure you take a careful look around the scene. Do you really want all of it in the picture- Take your eye away from the camera and look at the scene, before finally taking your picture.

4 Appreciate light Light is everything to the photographer and can make or break your picture. For the most atmospheric conditions aim to shoot either early or late, just as the sun is rising or setting. Low, warm sunlight can breathe new life into your photos and make an otherwise dull scene magical.

5 Turn your camera on its side Most people happily snap away with the camera in its normal 'horizontal' position. There's nothing wrong with this, of course, but sometimes simply turning the camera 90° and framing up this way will reveal a whole new picture.

6 Take lots of pictures If you shoot digitally you don't have to worry about wasting expensive film, so take loads of pictures. This shouldn't be an excuse to be slapdash with your approach. You should still work carefully, but use the opportunity to explore the framing options.

7 Walk around your subject Your feet are a useful photographic tool, so use them. Don't stay rooted to one spot just snapping away without thinking about what you are doing. Move about. Look at how your changing position alters the composition of the scene.

8 Look at other pictures to get inspiration Pick up a copy of Practical Photography and you'll find loads of different images every month.

Study them, not to copy them but just to get inspiration and ideas on how you can shoot your own brilliant pictures.

9 Add a sense of scale If you do choose to photograph a big subject then make sure you include something to give a sense of scale. It could be a tree, a person or an animal but whatever you choose it should work to make the viewer's eye immediately appreciate the scale of the main object.

10 Use your imagination Great pictures are not just snapped, they're often planned and pre-visualised. Think about what you want to shoot and imagine how you can make it look amazing. You might have to adapt your approach but the creative mind will always produce the goods.

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