This article is simply a quick, simple guide for people who have no idea what they are doing. If I say the word “dodge” and you think of ducking from a ball, this article is for you.

Taking a decent photo is pretty easy. If you follow these simple steps, you can take a decent photo. These steps will not make you the next Henri Cartier-Bresson. These steps will not give you great results every time. But these steps will move your photos from crappy to decent. Digital verses film will not really matter in this tutorial.

1. Get familiar with your camera.

If you have to, break out the user manual. Here’s all you really need to know: How to adjust the shutter speed. How to adjust the f/stop to properly “meter” the shot.

2. Turn off your flash.

Don’t use your flash. Don’t do it. If the room is too dark, go outside. If it’s too dark outside, wait for the sun. Do not use the flash.

3. Find every switch that denotes an automatic function. Turn it off.

The automatic function should actually be labeled “guess function”. Because that’s what the camera’s doing: It’s guessing what you want. The below steps will tell you how to get what you want.### 4. Make sure no one has messed with your camera, and turned the flash back on.

Do not use the flash.

5. Make sure you shutter speed is above 1/30s (usually denoted as “30” through the viewfinder).

If it is at 1/30s, prop your elbows on a table or chair and hold your camera as still as possible. If it’s below 1/30s, get a tripod. If you own a tripod, you’re either too rich, or this tutorial is too basic for you. Move along. Everyone else: make sure your shutter speed is above 1/30s.

6. Double check that the flash is still turned off.

Natural light is best, but turn on lights in the room if you must. Do not use the flash.

7. Point your camera at your subject, and push the shutter button.

It’s a good idea to make sure your subject is centered, but not necessary. Also, pay attention to the objects surrounding your subject. Remember, they are part of the photo.

8. Don’t use the flash.