You may find the photography industry intimidating as a beginner photographer. It is definitely a competitive industry. You may wonder, "How can I stand out from other experienced photographers?" But it’s entirely possible to do so--everyone starts somewhere, right?
Today we’re sharing 10 tips to help new photographers produce beautiful photos.
But this isn’t just for new photographers. As more and more creatives begin a lifestyle, fashion, craft or food blog, it’s more important for your posts to have high quality photos to catch reader’s eyes. These tips will also help you take beautiful photos to make your readers stop and stare.
1. Adjust your camera’s exposure
Don’t trust your camera to automatically adjust for every shot properly. Your camera didn’t go to school or go through any formal training to take amazing photos, you did. Use your knowledge and skills to adjust the exposure for each picture if you notice your camera struggling to capture the shot properly. For instance, if you notice the sky is too bright in one shot, turn your exposure down (toward the negative sign). Take the time to play around with those controls until you find the perfect balance in your shot.
2. Experiment with perspective
When you’re taking a shot, take a few like you normally would. Then think about your perspective. Do you always take photos from three to four feet off the ground? Once you have a few shots from your normal perspective, switch it up! Shoot from above your subject or even from below--try different angles, zooming in and out, and overall just experimenting with your perspective. Always try to see your subject, and the world around you, in a few different ways before you’re done. Often a photo taken from a perspective outside of your comfort zone will produce beautiful, unique images.
3. Get quick on the draw!
There are times when you’ll need/want to photograph a moving subject. It’s a good habit to be able to quickly grab a shot before the subject has a chance to bolt. While you ideally have a chance to get multiple shots, you don’t want to miss the opportunity entirely because you haven’t practiced getting a quick shot. So even when your subject, like your dog for instance, does take off you are still able to get one good shot. It’s important not to put pressure on this first shot, don’t worry about adjusting your camera, just shoot. And keep shooting before your subject has a chance to move. Then if you notice you have time, you can fit in adjustments. But don’t miss the shot because you’re trying to get it perfect on the first try.
4. Perfect your focus
You can fix a lot of problems with your photos in Photoshop, however, one you cannot adjust after the photo is taken is the focus. For hobbyist photographers or bloggers, you might be familiar with using focus when taking a picture on your smartphone. When you tap the display on your phone it adjusts the focus. On a camera, it’s not that easy. Typically, when you hold down your camera’s shutter button halfway, it focuses and then takes the shot. As you gain more experience working with your camera and different types of shots, you’ll learn more about selective focus. As a beginning or hobbyist photographer, you should know how to generally focus on your subject. If you’re shooting a landscape, everything should be in focus. Typically your camera will have a setting specific for landscape shots, so the camera knows how to automatically focus. And when you’re shooting a portrait, focus on the eyes in the photo.
5. Be conscious of your photo’s composition
The composition of your photo is essentially where you place things which are in your shot. As a novice or hobbyist photographer, it’s likely you put your subject in the middle of the photograph without thinking about it any more than that. But you can create more interesting and unique photos by expanding your range. When you’re shooting, start by taking a few images like you normally would, with the subject in the middle of the photo, but then experiment by putting your subject in different sections of the shot. Having your subject slightly off-center is aesthetically appealing.
6. Take advantage of your camera’s shooting modes
Most cameras come equipped with different shooting modes for different scenarios. As we mentioned, they typically have a landscape mode so the camera knows how to adjust its focus for those specific shots. And if you’re shooting something fast, like football players running across the field or a surfer in the middle of a big wave, you can use a Shutter Priority mode (it may be referred to in a different way). This increases the speed the picture your photo is taken at which helps freeze your subject, so you don’t end up with a blurry blip of your subject.
7. Be aware of the lighting around you
This is most important when you’re shooting outside, but being aware of the lighting and how it affects your subject is an essential skill in photography. When you’re shooting outdoors, remember to adjust your subject so the sun isn’t behind them. They will be impossible to see! Also, avoid standing in between your subject and the lightsource. When you do that, you cast a shadow on your subject. Also, if you’re shooting outside a big building or monument, you may not have control over your position and how the lighting is affecting the subject. In this case, manually use your camera’s flash which will fill in shadows. Your camera may not think the flash is necessary because of the sufficient lighting, so you will have to turn it on yourself.
8. Don’t use your flash unless you must
And while using natural light is preferred, it’s not always available. Surely you’ve seen those family holiday pictures where everyone’s skin looks like it’s glowing a bright white and their facial features are lost in the brightness? That’s because someone used a flash too close to the subjects. If you must use your flash in a dark setting, step away from your subject to avoid washing them or it out. It’s better to back up and zoom in on the subject with your lens as opposed to getting close to them. Sometimes you may still need to adjust the power of your flash. Plenty of cameras come equipped with this option if your photo is still coming out too bright or too dark. This also gives you more control over the balance of light in your photos. This way you may still need that extra bit of light in your photos, but you won’t have to risk the ghostly look of too much flash too close.
9. Use a tripod
The more experience you gain in the photography industry, the more clear it will become that you need a tripod. They allow you set up a shot exactly how you want it and keep a consistent perspective, even if you change the subjects. Tripods also reduce any shakiness while shooting, allow you to take long exposures and even make it easier to use heavy lenses. You can shoot as long as you want with heavier lenses without worrying about your arms getting tired of the extra weight. You can find many different types of tripods and many adjust to different levels, allowing you to still experiment with multiple perspectives during a shoot.
10. Use Photoshop Actions & Overlays
Another way to bring a high quality edge to your photos is to use Photoshop actions, like the ones we offer here at Bellevue Avenue. When you’re a new photographer or a hobbyist (or even a blogger), you may not be well versed in the ways of hand editing your photos. And, even if you know the basics, you may not know how to recreate different effects on your image. We have a diverse selection of Photoshop actions which can help you create beautiful, eye-catching images in no time!
Whether you need to make fresh, clean edits to a photo or you want to add a touch of smoke surrounding your subject, we have the tools you need to easily create these looks on your own. They allow you to test out a new style on your photos or make it easy to produce photos with professional edits, even if you weren’t formally trained.