Want to be a better photographer? Try my 10 photography tips and tricks!
I'm excited to share this post today. As you guys know, I've been learning photography over the past couple of years and I'm always looking for photography tips and tricks to get better. I know many of you are in the same boat, trying to always take a better picture. Whether you are a blogger or just taking photos for fun, it's always nice to end up with great images to use.
10 Photography Tips and Tricks
- Take your camera everywhere. Whether you shoot with your phone or a nice DSLR, bring it everywhere. You never know when you will see that image that you must have. Get in the habit of taking lots of photos and they will naturally get better.
- Think lighting first. Good lighting is critical to most gorgeous photographs. Consider where your lighting is coming from before the shot. You generally want a soft light coming from behind the camera and hitting your subject.
- Use a tripod. There is no shame in using a tripod, in fact it leads to clearer images. (I use a tripod for all of my food photography!)
- Rule of thirds. Break your image into nine parts by creating two imaginary lines dividing the image in thirds both ways. Consider framing whatever is in your image along those lines. Think beyond centering the subject.
- Don't over flash. The flash built into most cameras is harsh and doesn't work well inside. Consider using other light sources and shooting without it.
- Get eye level with your subject. Use your feet and not just the zoom. Get close to what you are taking a picture of and look it in the eye.
- Take it out of automatic. Even if you aren't super comfortable with your camera, you can take it out of complete automatic. Learn what the icon buttons on the top mean and use them to improve your pictures. For example the small flower often means close-up, which will leave your subject in focus and everything else blurry. Even the semi-automatic settings can make a world of difference.
- Don't wait for perfection. Even with all these tips, don't sit around waiting for the perfect conditions to take a photo. You can learn a lot from taking the wrong photos and sometimes good photos aren't taken in perfect conditions.
- Don't be afraid to experiment. On the same vein, don't be afraid to try new things! Take a picture in several different settings to learn more about how the camera works.
- Don't take it too seriously! While there are photography rules, don't be afraid to break them! Have fun with your subject and you will most likely capture the best spirit of the picture.
These are some basic tips that really helped me start to learn more with my camera. Now, let's say you want to leave that perfect family photo, here are a few bonus tips to get the best photos taken.
- Coordinate, but don't match. For family portraits, coordinate your outfits, but don’t match perfectly. Choose a basic color palette for the group and try to pull everyone’s outfits from there.
- Accessorize. Add accessories like scarves, hats, flowers & jewelry, sweaters, vests, jackets, etc. These finishing touches can make an image feel “complete,” and provide layers to mix and match for multiple different looks during a single shoot.
- Shoes still matter. Think about coordinating bright, colorful shoes with other accessories and clothing in the photo, or going shoe-less altogether. The footwear can make or break an outfit.
- Be comfortable. Make sure kids are comfortable in their clothes, so they’re feeling their best during your shoot. This way their personalities can really shine in the images.
- Be timeless. Try to pick clothing that’s timeless so photos won’t look dated from a quickly passing trend
- Think about how the images will be used. Family photos for holiday cards may call for dressing in wintry, seasonal clothing, while family portraits to display year round will be more timeless and framed pictures for a play room might be more relaxed and fun as befitting the mood of the room.
- Consider props. Additional, subtle props that are simple but meaningful to the subjects are a great idea. A favorite stuffed animal, a brooch from Grandma, a special scarf add life and an extra touch of “special” to a photo. As long as the treasured item blends well with the outfits and vision for the shoot, feel free to bring it along to include.
Thanks for stopping by today! Come back tomorrow for a healthy twist on a cheesy broccoli favorite. It's the best kind of comfort food!
I’m linking up with: Wild Workout Wednesday, Thinking Out Loud Thursday, Meatless Monday with Deborah, What’s Cookin’ Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday with Miz Helen, FoodFriDIY, Foodie Friday, and theWeekend Potluck. Thanks so much ladies for the link up parties!
Do you have any photography tips to add?
Michelle | A Dish of Daily Life says
I definitely need to get more in the habit of using my tripod!! And I am working on food styling too! 🙂
Thanks Michelle! It is always a process! I feel like I learn something every day.
Crystal Renaud says
Awesome tips Julie. I love my camera and I do make sure I have it with me most of the time. I take so many pictures it is impossible to keep up with them. I also am sure to always have professional photo's done with my family since I am the one behind the lens all the time.
It is nice to not worry about it too. Totally worth paying someone for.
I need to spend an entire week organizing my photos!
Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes says
All great tips! I have a DSLR camera but very rarely use it! I hate carrying it around so end up using my iPhone most of the time!
It is SUCH a pain to carry around. I wish it be small enough for my purse.
Ickle Pickle says
Brilliant tips - I take 99% of mine on my iPhone. The quality is fab - not as good as a DSLR but it is always with me. Kaz
I know! I sometimes use my iphone and it's not the same.
Amber NElson says
These are great photography tips. I'm going to put these to work.
Morgan @ Morgan Manages Mommyhood says
Great tips! I have a very nice camera that I have no idea how to use whatsoever, so I would really like to learn!
Oh no!!! I know you have your hands full right now, but I took a basic $60 class at the community college. It helped me a lot.
Thank you for these tips Julie. I have been struggling with just how to get better, especially in my food photography, because, all though I know what looks good, I'm not good with actually composing a picture that looks good.
Lots and lots of practice. For every good picture I've put out there, I've taken 100 bad ones 🙂
Ragan Chambless - Brand Influencer Campaign and Event Manager says
These are great tips to remember for when I buy a nice camera instead of using my iPhone! Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thanks Ragan! I hope you get one soon!
These are fabulous tips. I'm not the best at photography so I need to step up my game and really take your advice!
These are great tips. I am saving up for a camera. I only use my smartphone to take photos.
It is the best "toy" I've ever got!
Sonali- The Foodie Physician says
Such a great list of tips! It's amazing what a difference good, natural lighting makes. I'm way overdue for a tripod!
It's helped me a lot with my food shots.
Jessica @ Nutritioulicious says
Great tips! I just recently got a tripod and am learning how to use it to the fullest capabilities. I def see a difference in my pics though!
I have shaky hands, so it has really helped me.
Alisa @ Go Dairy Free says
These are such great tips! I'm really fortunate to have good lighting but struggle immensely with food styling. I love how well you prop your photos!
That means so much to me! Thank you! I'm not an expert, but I try really hard 🙂
Thank you for this! :] I really need to improve my photography, so hooray for all these great tips! When I have my own space again someday, I hope I'll be able to go to town on the food photography! 😛
I'm sure you will do fabulous with it!
Mandi Korn says
Thanks for sharing, these are great tips. I must visit this studio if and when we get to Asheville.
Yes! They take adorable photos.
Liz Mays says
The one thing I haven't done yet is play with manual much. I just find it sooooo intimidating!
I use the Av alot but not full manual yet. 🙂 I feel like I've learned so much, yet still have SOOO much to learn.
Sarah @ BucketListTummy says
Great tips - thanks for sharing! Do you have any site recommendations for beginners' trying to learn how to use a DSLR? I play around with it but I feel like some formal advice would be helpful!
I took a basic DSLR class at the community college and it helped me a lot. It was only $60 or so and worth every penny.
You can also watch You Tube videos.
I would start by using the semi-automatic settings and then start experimenting with the Av setting and set the aperture. The smaller the number, the more fuzzy background you get.
Leslie @ flora foodie says
Oh, awesome tips! I am finally starting to use more manual settings on my camera, and it's so hard but you are completely right that you learn a TON from taking the wrong photos!
Yes! My computer is filled with bad photos.
Heather @Fit n Cookies says
What great tips! I can't wait to see your photos. That's an awesome deal! I need to practice with my DSLR wayy more. I'm fairly ok outside, but inside I'm terrible. I blame the lighting in my house. 🙂
Thanks Heather! We had a lot of fun!
Jess @hellotofit says
These are awesome tips, Julie! I especially think the lighting and getting out of automatic ones are true.
Those are some great tips. I always seem to be messed up by shadows.
They are so tricky!
Runaway Bridal Planner says
Great tips! I love my camera, I try to always have one on me.
Your tip on not waiting for perfection. Sometimes, I find even if I am not at the right place at the right time of day for a landscape shot, instead if the clouds are up and right, or shadow parts below. It doesn't matter if I am missing the sunset shot, because sometimes the non-perfect (time) shots have turned out to be some of my favorites:)
I do need to get better with shots with people, I am improving, but need some work!
So true! It's always a work in progress.
Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home says
Great tips! I've been really having fun playing with my iPhone camera and all the filters. My husband is the real photog here. He takes amazing pictures with his "real" camera.
So cool! You do some fun stuff with your instagram feed. You've got talent too!
Nicole @ Fitful Focus says
I'm reading Plate to Pixel, a book on food photography, right now and it's so helpful. I would love to take a class, too! These are great tips, though and The Portrait Studio sounds awesome!
I took a basic class, but would love to take the intermediate one. It's on the list 🙂
Dani @ Dani California Cooks says
Great tips!! I think when I learned that natural lighting is the best (no flash) my photos improved 110%.
Yes! You photos are gorgeous! You have a true talent!
Thank you so much for the tips!!!!! I didn't know that the light should come from BEHIND the camera! (Face palm- that makes so much sense!
Haha! I have so many face-palm moments 🙂 I feel like I learn something new about photography all the time.
Awesome tips!!!! I need to use my tripod more! Thanks for sharing and linking up 🙂
It helps me so much!
Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner says
Lighting seems to be my biggest problem especially if I try to take my food photos at night. Something to work on for sure
So true! I got some studio lights as a birthday gift and they really transformed my pictures. THere is always something to learn with photography though.
Susie @ SuzLyfe says
I really want to get a lighting source. I have my light box but it just doesn't do a good job!
Heather Johnson says
These are great tips for taking better photos. I always try to get down (or up) to eye level with whatever I am photographing especially.
Dan Steadman says
awesome! At this point a family portrait of the 5 of us would be a welcome relief
Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy says
So many great tips here - thanks for sharing.
I just got a really good tripod and it is making such a difference. Especially in low light.
Blane Sherer says
Thank for sharing your photo tips.
I'm sure many of your readers will appreciate it.