You’ve returned from the best vacation ever. Great weather, great company, and great memories. You cannot wait to upload your photos to social media so your friends and family can see what an awesome time you had.
But your photos don’t look anything like reality. They don’t capture the vibe or the colors, and many are wonky or out of focus.
You could’ve used some photography tips before you went! Because even if you only use a smartphone, knowing a little about how to take better pictures and set up a shot can make all the difference.
Never take a bad shot again with these essential tips for photography. They will improve your pictures quicker than a polaroid takes to develop.
1. Hold Your Camera in the Right Way
How you hold your camera, smartphone, action camera, etc., is the key to figuring out how to take better photos.
Many people hold their smartphone with one hand to take a photo or a selfie, and they sometimes don’t even look at the screen when they take it. Instead, hold your phone with two hands either at the bottom or on opposing corners. Your photos are more likely to be in focus and straight.
If you are taking a selfie, use the volume button on the side to take it and grasp your phone with your entire hand.
And when you use a camera, put your left hand on the side and your right hand around the lens. Bring the camera up to your face when you take a photo.
Always keep your elbows tucked into your body when you take a photo. When you outstretch your arms, they get shakier. Use a tripod wherever possible.
2. Choose the Right Camera Equipment
Speaking of camera gear, you can take better photos if you have the right camera for the job. Here are the main different types of stills cameras available:
- Point-and-shoot camera
- Compact systems camera
- DSLR camera
- Action camera
For most people, a smartphone is adequate, and the photos they produce are as good (if not better) as point-and-shoot cameras.
If you want to learn how to be a good photographer and level up your photography skills, go with a compact systems camera. They are smaller and lighter than DSLRs and perfect for vacation photos.
Action cameras (like the ones from GoPro) are ideal if you want to get into underwater photography or take photos while doing sports.
There are no other cameras that can substitute drones (like the ones from DrDrone). So if you want to take epic landscape shots, invest in a good drone.
The right camera accessories can also elevate the quality of your photos. These are some essential pieces of camera gear to consider:
- Lens filters and hoods
- Camera cleaning kit
- Spare batteries
- Camera remote
- Camera strap
Tripods are important for low light and astrophotography, in particular.
3. Learn How To Edit Your Photos
Even professional photographers who shoot in a RAW camera format never use unedited photos. It is a must to portray the desired emotions with your pictures.
At the basic end of the spectrum, your phone will have photo editing capabilities and photography filters. Play around with them to see how to make your photos pop. You can use apps like VSCO or Snapseed, too.
But if you are shooting on camera, invest in professional editing software like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop Elements. Watch YouTube tutorials to learn how to use the program you choose.
4. Use the Rule of Thirds
One of the most essential photography tips when it comes to actually taking photos is the Rule of Thirds.
This rule states that photos are often more interesting or “balanced” when the subject is off-center. If your smartphone or camera has a grid option, turn it on—position subjects in your shot at the points where the lines intersect.
And always make sure your horizon cuts straight through one of those lines.
5. Get Creative With Perspective
Do you always take photos from your eye level? Sometimes photos can look a little dull if the perspective is boring. Play around with levels to see if you can find a more interesting angle.
For instance, if you are taking a photo of a long, straight road, position the camera close to the ground. The road disappearing into the distance will look more dramatic—Google “photographs of straight roads” for clear visual examples.
You can also get creative with your foreground and background. Do you like taking landscape shots and pictures of cool scenery? Try and find some foliage or a person in the foreground to make it more interesting.
6. Wake Up Early or Stay Up Late
You might have heard about “golden hour” before because it is the best time to take photographs. It is the hour before sunset and after sunrise with a warm glow that is not too overpowering.
If you cannot take photographs during this hour, at least pay attention to the direction of the sun. If you take photos in the direction of the sun, your subject will be in shadow. But if you point your camera in the opposite direction, they will be lit up.
7. When in Doubt, Focus on Focus
There are two things you can never fix in photo editing software. The first is the photograph’s content, and the second is whether it is in focus or not.
If you forget the rest of these photography tips, then at the very least, make sure your subject is in focus. If you are taking a picture of a person, focus on their eyes.
Photography Tips To Take Your Photos to the Next Level
Most people carry a camera in their pocket these days, but that doesn’t mean everyone can take good photos. But by learning a few key photography tips, you will be able to take better photos that better represent life’s joyous moments.
Want tips on how to learn more about your camera equipment and the technical side of photography? Browse our technology category for tons of useful guides!