9 Tips to Take Photographs like a Pro

The power of a beautiful photograph is mesmerising and with so many social media sites truly opening up the possibility of sharing images with people around the world, many of us would love to be able to take great photographs without breaking the bank. The good news is that high quality digital cameras are now widely available, eliminating the need to splash out on expensive equipment. All you need are a few simple techniques and a bit of practice and you’ll be taking professional looking photographs in no time.  

Photo credit: craigebarker.com

  1. Know your camera
The best way to feel comfortable and competent when taking a photograph is to know your way around your camera. Spend some time experimenting with different settings and navigating the menus so that when the opportunity for a great shot emerges, you know how to maximise the impact of the final image.

  1. Experiment with lighting
The lighting of a photograph can completely alter its entire mood and atmosphere. A picture taken on a beautifully crystal clear, sunny morning will feel very different to the same shot taken on a cloudy, foggy evening. Decide the look you are going for and opt for appropriate lighting to get the desired outcome. The position of lighting is also important as it will cast shadows that may add to or detract from the final look, depending on the image.  

  1. Opt for black and white
Switching your camera to black and white will help highlight areas of light and shade; allowing you to better position yourself, before switching back to colour. Images actually taken in black and white can also be effective, better displaying the texture and composition of the shot and giving a vintage, artistic feel to the subject.

  1. Go for an action shot
Static poses have a habit of looking manufactured and stiff. Instead, try getting a shot of something moving just at the right moment; a bird as it takes flight, a woman as she flicks her hair or a football player as his foot strikes the ball for example. Capturing movement helps give an image a story, adding a layer of depth.

  1. Get perspective
Images of large or small subjects can be improved by providing the viewer with perspective. A picture of a skyscraper for example will look a lot more impressive if the tops of the surrounding buildings are also included in the shot, highlighting just how extensive the building’s grand size is.

  1. Keep the background minimal
Photographs document an entire scene, so if you want the viewers’ focus held on one particular subject, it helps to keep the background as minimal as possible, whether this involves literally moving distractions out of the shot or altering the focus on your camera to obscure the backdrop.

  1. Fill the frame
Extreme close-ups can work well to add drama and intrigue to a photo. An image of a dog may be cute but an intense close-up of one’s face highlights the detail of the fur and the colour of the eyes, adding a whole new dimension to the photograph.

  1. Follow the rule of thirds
A popular photographic technique is called the rule of thirds, where you divide the scene into three distinct sections. For example, a landscape shot would have the sky on the top third, the mountains in the middle and the grassy foreground on the bottom third.

  1. Make your subjects comfortable
If you are taking a photograph of a person, you should make them feel as comfortable as possible by building a rapport with them before the shoot. The more relaxed your subject is, the easier it will be for both photographer and model to communicate their ideas to help get the perfect shot. It is also important as any tension felt by the subject will be visible in their body language in the final images.

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