1) The closer you zoom in to something, the more your image will be susceptible to camera shake, and therefore blur. HOLD THE CAMERA STEADY or use a tripod. The farther out you zoom, the easier it is to produce clear pictures. Practice zooming in and out with your camera while looking at the display (or through the viewfinder)... the difference should be very obvious.
2) Have you ever seen pictures where someone's head looks very big, in sort of a distorted "looking through a peephole" at them way? This happens when you zoom all the way out (you can see lots in the picture) and walk in really close to your subject.
If you want a more normal looking (and flattering) shot of someone's facial features, zoom in a little and step back. No one likes a photographer standing too close anyway.A normal view:
That being said, sometimes zooming out and walking close to a subject produces an artsy look that can be fun. This is especially true with cars and stuff where you want to accentuate their curves or how big they are. Or you could do it to aunt Betty and let your kids giggle at the way her nose looks bigger. (jj). How about this one of the big helmet on the cute little rider? I like it...
This effect all depends on your lens however. Some cameras you won't even notice it. Some you will.
3) Zooming IN (making stuff in the photo bigger) makes the picture look more compressed and flatter... for example, if you are taking a pic of little Mary in front of a barn, zooming in will make Mary and the barn look close together. Zooming in to these trees makes them look relatively close together:
Zooming OUT (making it so stuff in the photo is smaller, and there is more included in the shot) makes a picture look the opposite... broader and deeper. The barn will look like its much farther behind Mary. Try this out in different locations and see what you think. Check out this shot of the same trees (above). Notice how spread out they look:
I have sooooo much more to say about these things, but I'll keep it simple for all. These tips are meant for people who just want to have fun and make pictures that look great, without having to study. I am thinking of maybe starting a photo blog and blogging more advanced tips and techniques. I'll let you know :-)Have fun.... don't forget, contest deadline MAY 15!! Post a photo on your blog, mention my contest here, and then comment on any photo tip post and let me know where to find it! The winner gets a $25 Amazon gift certificate and a spotlight bloggy interview. :-)