To give your photos some real feeling, consider where the light is coming from. You often hear “don’t shoot into the sun” and “make sure the light is behind you”.
The photo on the far right was in fact shot towards the sun. The sun should not be at its highest point and ideally you will have something to partially filter it (a few trees or in the case above, a couple of buildings). See how I’ve now got the halo effect around the hair? What would otherwise be quite a boring photo actually looks all warm and glowy. 1/1000sec f2.2
The little girl (my niece!) has a lot of light behind her and I am in a dark area. On full auto, either your flash will pop up giving you a flat, lifeless image or with no flash, a very dark subject. With my shutter speed on a slow setting, I can light up her face while completely blowing out the background to give a lovely buttery sunshiny backdrop AND, very importantly keep the outline of her face correctly exposed. A very simple pose made special by working the light! 1/50sec f 3.5
The photo on the far left… the large window provides just enough side light to place the emphasis on her rollers which to me was the stand out part of the image. 1/80sec f 2.2
The image 2nd from the left. A very dark room. Using only the side light from the window and standing back, I’ve created quite a dramatic look. 1/50sec f 2.8
Even if you are not fully in tune with all your camera settings… if you look hard at the light around you, you can add a lot of mood and atmosphere to an otherwise plain photo.