5 Tips to Take Better Photos

22 March 2020

Like any other type of art or design, photography is a craft. The more you practice, the more confident you’ll become, and the better you’ll get. While the latest camera gear can certainly help you take stunning photos, it’s by no means necessary, and no replacement for a solid foundation of basic photography skills. 

Becoming a good photographer is a journey that starts the minute you snap your first shot. To help make your journey to taking good photos as smooth as possible, we’ve rounded up 5 easy ways to improve your photography. From lighting tips to basic technical know-how, read on to learn how to level-up your photography game, fast.

1. Don’t ignore the basics

As post-production technology and automated shooting modes become more advanced, it’s tempting to skip over learning the basics of photography, like composition and exposure.

Sure, you can adjust the brightness levels or crop your photo in post-production, but every time you make an adjustment, you run the risk of reducing your overall image quality. Plus, your digital camera automatic mode focuses on registering a good overall exposure, but may not necessarily achieve the look or feel you’re after. For example, beautiful, blurred waterfall shots require a slower shutter speed, which your auto mode may not pick up on.

5 Tips to Take Better Photos5 Tips to Take Better Photos

To make sure your photos turn out exactly how you imagine, study photo composition techniques like the Rule of Thirds, Leading Lines, and the Rule of Odds, and read our tips on aperture and shutter speed below.

Top Tip: Not ready for full manual shooting? That’s okay! For now, set your camera to “Shutter Priority” or “Aperture Priority” — this will grant you more control over the final appearance of your work while you’re learning about photography techniques.

2. Take your camera everywhere

5 Tips to Take Better Photos5 Tips to Take Better Photos

You never know when inspiration will strike, or when you’ll stumble on the perfect photo opportunity! The best way to become a better photographer is simply to take more photos. When you have your digital camera at the ready at all times, you’ll naturally explore other subjects and styles, and you might even find your niche. 

With each shot, you’ll improve your photography skills and the overall quality of your content. Plus, those “right place, right time” moments are more likely to happen to photographers who are prepared!

3. Pay attention to lighting

Lighting is king. Once you understand how lighting affects an image, you can then use and manipulate it to take good photos. 

In most cases, natural light from the sun is your best bet. If you’re shooting outside, aim to shoot in the “golden hours”: The first hour after sunrise, and the last hour before sunset. In the early morning and evening, the light is soft, warm, and perfect for photography. Try to avoid shooting in the middle of the day, when the harsh lighting might leave you with shadowy photos.

If you’re taking photos inside, open the curtains and blinds to let in as much natural light as possible, and move your subject close to the window. And if you still need more light, consider using artificial lighting. A single flashgun or portable LED lighting kit can make a world of difference and help you to take crisp, bright photos.

5 Tips to Take Better Photos5 Tips to Take Better Photos

Top Tip: Flashguns or speedlights with rotating heads are known for their “bounce flash” ability. Put simply, they diffuse the output of the flash so it bounces off a wall or roof onto your subjects. The result? A more natural light that’s brilliant for portrait photography.

4. Try a different perspective

5 Tips to Take Better Photos5 Tips to Take Better Photos

As a photographer, it’s sometimes easy to work on autopilot. We spot a subject, hold our camera up to eye level, and start shooting. Sometimes, the photo is aesthetically pleasing — but trying a different angle almost always uncovers a much more interesting image.

Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone! On your next shoot, experiment with crouching down to the ground or (carefully) climbing a stepladder to see if you can find a fresh angle. Most modern digital cameras have a tilting LCD screen, which makes playing around with new perspectives a lot easier!

5. Learn about aperture and shutter speed

These two settings are part of the “exposure triangle,” and knowing your way around them can take your photos to the next level.

  • Aperture refers to the size of the opening that lets light into the camera, and affects the depth of field of your image. To keep both the background and foreground of your image in focus, use a smaller aperture, such as f/13 or f/16. On the other hand, to create a blurrier background, go for a larger aperture, like f/6.
  • Shutter speed is the length of time that your camera’s shutter stays open when you’re taking a photo. Along with preventing camera shake, it can be used to freeze fast-paced action, or blur moving subjects for dramatic effect.
5 Tips to Take Better Photos5 Tips to Take Better Photos

Top Tip: If you’re working with a slow shutter speed, use a tripod to avoid ending up with blurry images.

Improve your photography skills

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting photography, it’s key to keep honing your skills. Follow the expert guides on our blog to do just that, or head to your local Ted’s Camera store for personalised advice today!

If you are ready for the next step in your photography training, please visit our Academy.

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