40 Tips to Take Better Photos

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<ul><li><p>PetaPixel</p><p>40 Tips to Take Better Photos(http://petapixel.com/2014/01/24/40-tips-take-better-photos/)</p><p>Invaluable advice for the beginning photographer</p><p>Jan 24, 2014 Lisa Clarke</p><p>Tweet 655</p><p>Follow 198K follow ers</p><p> (http://feedproxy.google.com/PetaPixel) </p><p>(http://www.facebook.com/petapixelcom) (http://www.twitter.com/PetaPixel)</p><p> (https://plus.google.com/+PetaPixel/) </p><p>(http://pinterest.com/petapixel/)</p><p>271kLike</p><p>Subscribe</p><p>5.7kLike</p><p>Enter email address</p></li><li><p>Many years ago when I was a starry-eyed undergrad I would ask every photographer I came</p><p>across the same question:</p><p>How do I take better photos? </p><p>I was extremely lucky to have many talented and generous photographers take me under their wing to show</p><p>me the ropes. Without their valuable advice there is no way I would have become the photographer I am</p><p>today. </p><p>Ironically, the number one question I now get asked as an Open producer is How do I take better photos? </p><p>So along with some tips that Ive picked up over the years, Ive recruited some outstanding snappers across</p><p>Australia to share their own secret techniques about how they take their photos to the next level. </p><p>1. Get in close</p><p>It was the famous photojournalist Robert Capa (http://www.magnumphotos.com/C.aspx?</p><p>VP3=CMS3&amp;VF=MAGO31_10_VForm&amp;ERID=24KL535353) who once said If your photographs arent good</p><p>enough, youre not close enough. He was talking about getting in amongst the action. If you feel like your</p><p>images arent popping, take a step or two closer to your subject. Fill the frame with your subject and see how</p><p>much better your photo will look without so much wasted space. The closer you are to the subject, the better</p><p>you can see their facial expressions too. </p></li><li><p>2. Shoot every day</p><p>The best way to hone your skills is to practice. A lot. Shoot as much as you can it doesnt really matter</p><p>what. Spend hours and hours behind your camera. As your technical skills improve over time, your ability to</p><p>harness them to tell stories and should too. Dont worry too much about shooting a certain way to begin with.</p><p>Experiment. Your style your voice will emerge in time. And it will be more authentic when it does. Leah</p><p>Robertson</p><p>Leah Robertson is a super talented Melbourne based photographer and videographer, specialising in music</p><p>and documentary photography.You can see her work here (http://leahrobertson.com/).</p><p>3. See the light</p><p>Before you raise your camera, see where the light is coming from, and use it to your advantage. Whether it is</p><p>natural light coming from the sun, or an artificial source like a lamp; how can you use it to make your photos</p><p>better? How is the light interacting with the scene and the subject? Is it highlighting an area or casting</p><p>interesting shadows? These are all things you can utilise to make an ordinary photo extraordinary. </p><p>4. Ask permission</p><p>When photographing people, especially while in countries with different cultures and languages, it can be</p><p>hard to communicate. In certain countries if you photograph someone you are not supposed to photograph,</p><p>it can get ugly and rough very quickly if you are not careful. So out of respect you should always ask</p><p>permission. I have started shooting a series of school children in Pakistan. These are all posed portraits and</p><p>they are looking down the lens. My guide helps me with the language and I limit myself to smiling, shaking</p><p>hands, giving hi-five and showing them the image on the back of my camera once it is done. You would be</p><p>amazed how quickly people open up. Andrea Francolini </p><p>Andrea Francolini is a well known Italian born, Sydney based sports photographer. He is also the founder of</p><p>My First School (http://www.my-first-school.org/), as trust which has the aim to facilitate educations in</p><p>Northern Pakistan. You can see his work here (http://www.afrancolini.com/).</p><p>5. Use flash during the day</p><p>You might think that you should only use flash at night time or indoors, but thats not the case at all. If it is an</p><p>extremely bright day outside and the sun is creating harsh shadows on your subject, switch on your flash. By</p><p>forcing extra light onto your subject, you will be able to fill in those ugly shadows and create an even</p><p>exposure. </p><p>6. ISO</p><p>There are questions to ask yourself when deciding what ISO to use: </p><p>What time of day are you shooting? If you are shooting outside during the middle of the day you will need to</p><p>use a lower ISO such as 100 or 200. If you are shooting at night time without a tripod you will have to</p><p>increase the ISO to a higher number to be able to record the light on the cameras sensor.</p><p>Will the subject be well lit? If your subject or scene is too dark you will need to use a higher ISO such as 800</p><p>or 1600. </p></li><li><p>Do you want a sharp image or an image with more movement in it? Using a high shutter speed to capture fast</p><p>movement might mean that you need to use a high ISO to compensate. Likewise, if youre using a slow</p><p>shutter speed to capture blur you will need a low ISO to compensate. </p><p>Dont forget, increasing your ISO increases the grain or pixel size in your photo. So dont use an ISO of 3200</p><p>or 6400 if you dont want a photo with a lot of digital noise.</p><p>7. f/4</p><p>f/4 is my go to aperture. If you use a wide aperture with a long lens (200mm-400mm) youre able to separate</p><p>the subject from the background. This helps them stand out. Works every time. Peter Wallis</p><p>Peter Wallis is a sports photographer extraordinaire, working for The Courier Mail in Brisbane. You can see</p><p>his work here (http://peterwallisphoto.com/).</p><p>8. Youve got to be joking</p><p>A well timed joke will always yield a more natural smile, than simply saying smile Dean Bottrell</p><p>Dean Bottrell is a Emerald based photographer who specializes in portraiture. You can see his work here</p><p>(https://www.facebook.com/deanbottrell).</p><p>9. Buy books, not gear</p><p>Having expensive camera equipment doesnt always mean that youll take good photos. Ive seen some</p><p>absolutely amazing images shot with nothing more than a smart phone. Instead of having ten different lenses,</p><p>invest in some fantastic photography books. By looking at the work of the masters, not only do you get</p><p>inspired, you come away with ideas to improve your own photos.</p><p>10. Read your cameras manual</p><p>The best way to know what to do with your camera is to actually read the manual. So many people miss this</p><p>really important step on their photographic journey. Every camera is different, so by reading the manual youll</p><p>get to know all the funky things its capable of. </p><p>11. Slow down</p><p>Take time to think about what is going on in the viewfinder before pressing the shutter. How are you going to</p><p>compose the shot? How are you going to light it? Dont jump straight in without giving it some thought first. </p><p>Brad Marsellos</p><p>Brad Marsellos (https://open.abc.net.au/openregions/qld-wide-bay-71AY7Fz) is the Wide Bay ber Open</p><p>producer. You can see his photos, videos and musings on life here (https://open.abc.net.au/openregions/qld-</p><p>wide-bay-71AY7Fz/posts).</p><p>12. Stop chimping (checking the photo on the back screen) </p><p>Its a bad habit digital photographers can develop. Time and time again I see photographers take a</p><p>photograph and then look at the back of the screen straight away. By doing that you could miss all the</p><p>special moments. You can look at your photos later. You can miss the shot and it affects the flow of your</p><p>work, so just keep shooting! Marina Dot Perkins</p></li><li><p>The lovely Marina Dot Perkins is a news, travel and wedding photographer who worked for The Canberra</p><p>Times and is now based in Newcastle.</p><p>13. Framing</p><p>This is a technique to use when you want to draw attention to something in your photograph. By framing a</p><p>scene or a subject, say with a window or an archway, you lead the viewers eye to the primary focal point.</p><p>14. Shape with light</p><p>Never shoot with the sun directly behind you. It creates boring, flat light on the subject. If you shoot with the</p><p>light source to the side or behind the subject, you are able to shape with the light, creating a more interesting</p><p>photo. Patria Jannides</p><p>Patria is not only a talented news photographer, she is also my long term friend, mentor, and personal cheer</p><p>squad. She even helped me to land my first job as a paid photographer. Thanks for everything P xxx</p><p>15. Watermarks</p><p>This tip isnt in direct relation to TAKING photos, but it does affect the look of photos. When it comes to</p><p>watermarks, the smaller the better. And if you can avoid using them, do.</p><p>Chances are, unless you are a paid professional, theres not much of a chance of your photos getting nicked.</p><p>But in reality, they wont prevent your images from getting stolen. They only distract from the fabulous image</p><p>that youve created, because once youve slapped a watermark all over it, thats all the viewer will be looking</p><p>at. The only way you can prevent your images from being stolen is to not publish them on the internet. </p><p>Read Open producer Luke Wongs blog post on watermarks here (https://open.abc.net.au/openregions/nsw-</p><p>central-west-95mw7bt/posts/should-i-watermark-my-photographs-on-abc-open-85ir0mi).</p><p>16. Be present</p><p>This means make eye-contact, engage and listen to your subject. With the eyes lower that camera and be</p><p>human. Bring the camera up for a decisive shot. But remember to lower it, like youre coming up for air, to</p><p>check in with your subject. Dont treat them like a science experiment under a microscope. Being there with</p><p>your subject shows them respect, levels the playing field in terms of power dynamics, and calms them down.</p><p>Youll get much more natural images this way. Heather Faulkner </p><p>Heather Faulkner is a photographer who convenes the ePhotojournalism major at QCA, Griffith University.</p><p>She is also the executive director of The Argus (http://theargus.net.au/), a student-run, visual journalism</p><p>online magazine. See her personal work here (http://heatherfaulkner.com.au/).</p><p>17. Shutter speed</p><p>Being aware of your shutter speed means the difference between taking a blurry photo and a sharp photo. It</p><p>all depends on what you are after. If you are shooting a sporting event or children running around in the</p><p>backyard, you probably want your subjects to be in focus. To capture fast action you will have to use a</p><p>shutter speed over 1/500th of a second, if not 1/1000th to 1/2000th. On the opposite end of the scale, you</p><p>might want to capture the long streaks of a cars tail lights running through your shot. Therefore you would</p><p>change your cameras shutter speed to a long exposure. This could be one second, ten seconds, or even</p><p>longer. </p></li><li><p>18. Charge your batteries</p><p>This seems like a simple one, but pretty much every photographer on the face of the planet has been caught</p><p>out before. Including myself. The trick is to put the battery onto the charger as soon as you get home from</p><p>your photo shoot. The only thing then is to make sure you remember to put it back into the camera after it</p><p>has been recharged </p><p>19. Focal length</p><p>Keep it simple. I shoot with two prime lenses and one camera; A 28mm and a 35mm. For everything. I use the</p><p>35mm lens 70% and the 28mm lens 30% of time. It takes some time to get used to it, but once you work it out,</p><p>shooting primes is the only way to go. It means you have to work with what you have and you cant be lazy.</p><p>Basically, this means more pictures and less fiddling around with zooming and maybe missing moments. It</p><p>also helps for consistency. If youre working on a project or a series, keeping the same focal lengths is a</p><p>great way to maintain a powerful sense of consistency. Justin Wilkes</p><p>Justin Wilkes quit his job in Sydney this year to cover the political and social change in post revolution Egypt.</p><p>He has since had his photographs published in The New York Times, TIME magazine, and The Jakata</p><p>Globe to name but a few. You can see his amazing documentary work here</p><p>(http://justinwilkes.500px.com/#/0).</p><p>20. Be part of a photographic community</p><p>Like ABC Open (https://open.abc.net.au/explore)! Not only will you be able to publish your photos for the rest</p><p>of the country to see, youll be part of an active group that offers feedback on how great you are going. You</p><p>can learn new things to help you improve your technique, and you might even make some new photography</p><p>buddies.</p><p>21. Shoot with your mind</p><p>Even when youre not shooting, shoot with your mind. Practice noticing expressions and light conditions.</p><p>Work out how youd compose a picture of that scene over there that interests you, and what sort of exposure</p><p>you might use to capture it best. Leah Robertson</p><p>22. Return the favor</p><p>Always remember that if you are shooting people in a different country, they are probably doing you a favor</p><p>by posing. So the least you can do is return this favor some way or another.</p><p>I often return to the same places year after year, so I bring along prints and look for the people I</p><p>photographed previously. In some areas people do not have a picture of themselves. Imagine not having a</p><p>picture of you and your family? Strange dont you think? Yet many people dont. So a $0.50 print can really</p><p>make someone happy. It also opens doors for more photography further down the track. Andrea Francolini</p><p>23. Have a camera on you at all times</p><p>You cant take great photos if you dont have a camera on you, can you? DSLR, point-and-shoot or smart</p><p>phone, it doesnt really matter. As long as you have access to a camera, youre able to capture those</p><p>spontaneous and unique moments in life that you might have otherwise missed. </p></li><li><p>24. The golden hour</p><p>Shoot portraits and landscapes in the golden hours the light is softer and the colours are more vibrant. </p><p>Dean Bottrell </p><p>25. Keep it simple</p><p>Dont try to pack too many elements into your image; it will just end up looking messy. If you just include one</p><p>or two points of interest, your audience wont be confused at where they should be looking or what they</p><p>should be looking at. </p><p>26. Dont get bogged down by equipment</p><p>Weve all seen these types of photographers out and about. They usually have three or four different</p><p>cameras strapped around their necks with lenses long enough for an African safari. In reality, theres</p><p>probably no need for all that equipment. One body with one or two lenses means that youll be freer in your</p><p>movements to capture interesting angles or subjects on the move. </p><p>27. Perspective</p><p>Minimize the belly-button photograph. This is a reference to Moholy Nagy (http://www.moholy-nagy.com/) of</p><p>the Bauhaus (http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/phbh/hd_phbh.htm) movement in photography (which was</p><p>all about lines of perspective). In other words, perspectives are more engaging when we crouch down, or lie</p><p>down, or elevate our position in reference to the subject. Look at how changing your perspective can change</p><p>the visual language and implied power dynamics of the image. Crouching low can make your subject more</p><p>dynamic, whereas gaining height on your subject can often minimize their presence in the image. One of my</p><p>favorite exercises is to make my students lie down and take pictures, often in the dirt. I am a little cheeky. </p><p>Heather Faulkner </p><p>28. Be aware of backgrounds</p><p>Whats in your frame? So often I see great photos and think didnt they see that garba...</p></li></ul>