10 tips for taking better photos: basic photography tips

No matter how long you’ve been carrying a camera, it’s the drive to capture and preserve life’s profound moments that keep us picking it up again and again. It’s always a challenge to fully enter a moment, to see all that it holds, and translate that 3D experience into something you can keep—something evocative that transports you with clarity and beauty. Here are ten basic photography tips to help you hone your skills.

Keep a list: Get that shot

When you see an image you like or one that inspires you, save it! When an idea for an image comes to you, write it down. When you find extra time to take photos or you’re feeling creatively spent, go back to your list for an inspired start.

Take charge

Seeing the perfect composition in the wild is extremely rare. Good photography shots often require adjustments and posing. For this basic photography tip, don’t hesitate to rearrange objects, have someone step into the right light, or change your own vantage point. The extra steps are worth it.

Always carry a camera

Want to learn how to get better at photography? Take photos as often as possible. A good photography tip is to always carry a camera with you. Whether you get a smaller setup or you use your phone, have a camera with you constantly so you don’t miss a shot. Great shots don’t wait for you to have your camera ready. They happen all the time, you just have to catch them!

Compose carefully

When you find a scene, pause for a moment to compose. Remember the Rule of Thirds, a fundamental photography tip, look for leading lines, find the light, and remove distractions. Beyond the Rule of Thirds, remember to consider giving your subject negative space to breathe. There are a lot of things that can be fixed in post-processing, but creating meaningful compositions is best done in-camera.

Learn and refresh the basics, then experiment

Here’s a key photography tip: Learn the Exposure Triangle (balancing the ISO, shutter speed, and aperture to get the correct exposure). The goal is to get comfortable with your camera in Manual mode. Some creative possibilities only exist when you can override defaults and play with the exposure. Also, try manual focus for more creative possibilities for blur.

Get close to your subject

This photography tip requires a lot of confidence, but the more you do it, the better you’ll be at it. This is especially true when taking pictures of people. While it’s tempting to use a telephoto lens to create a comfortable distance, you’ll lose impact. One trick is to hold the camera and look above it, so you’re making eye contact with your subject. You’ll get more interaction when they can forget there’s a camera between you, and it’ll be more intimate and natural.

Hunt for good lighting

Light is just as much your subject as anything else that compels you to take a photo; it’s a basic photography tip that can be very powerful. It offers a thousand different ways to shoot the same scene or setup. Remember, if you look for it, there is almost always enough light to take a photo. Manipulating light and shadow is what creates feeling and mood. To do this, you’ll almost certainly need to be in manual mode or spot-metering, depending on your composition. Watch for the way light moves, look for light coming from surprising sources to illuminate your subject. Some of the best photographs have significant parts that were underexposed, which only highlights the subject more. Just watch to be sure you don’t blow out highlights or clip your blacks. That’s data you can’t recover in post-processing.

Focus on the eyes, then double check

When taking pictures of people, your critical focus, the crispest part of your photo, should be the eyes of your subject. While you’re taking the photo, be sure to stop and zoom in to 100% to make sure this is the case. If your focus is off, even just a little, then the rest of the photo doesn’t matter. It’s easy for the face to look like it’s in focus, but small screens can be deceiving. Stop often to zoom all the way in and check the eyes.

Shoot for how the moment feels, not how it looks

Your best work will come from entering deeply into the moment and trying to catch all of it in its authenticity. The effects of the constant social media feed mean that we’re often shooting with how it will appeal to our online audience, rather than shooting the moment for what it is. Forget your online audience. The way to make meaningful, original work is to shoot the moment for what it is, not what it “should be”. You can make a profound, touching, arresting photo without perfect light, without perfect styling, and in something other than a square frame if you look closely and shoot for what you find.

Explore different viewpoints

Go beyond your first impression of a shot. For this photography tip, take photos of the same subject from multiple vantage points, multiple exposures, and multiple apertures for varying depths of field. In a digital era, where you’re not paying to process each exposure, this is very easy to do. Sometimes the first shot you take may be the one you wanted all along, but often, really working on a subject reveals better ways to capture it. Also, if you’re shooting with a narrow depth of field, don’t forget to open up and take more in focus in case you miss something, or too much is out of focus.

Final thoughts

One of the most important basic photography tips is to practice every day. The more you shoot, the better you train your eye to see light and meaningful moments in the most ordinary things. The more familiar you are with your camera’s settings, and the more closely connected it becomes to your eye and your body, the easier it will be to take better photos. You’ll get more familiar with the technical aspects of photography, so you can plan your shots and come closer to capturing the scene as you remember it.


This post doesn't have any comment. Be the first one!

hide comments

This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work!

Please upgrade today!