Take Better Photos: 5 Photography Tips for Beginners

Taking better pictures seems to be a goal for everyone in this digital age, so it is always useful to have some quick tips to get you started!

In this blog, we highlight 5 bite-sized photography tips which are straightforward to understand, easy to implement and could totally transform your beginner photo taking skills.

1. Choose your subject

Choosing your subject is the most important part of your photo. This will be your main focus, so try and keep it simple. If you are feeling a little stuck on where to begin, start by deciding a general theme. This could be people, cars, or wildlife, to pick a few examples. Have a think about photos or artwork that you appreciate, as that inspiration can create a lightbulb moment that really sparks your imagination.

Once you have chosen your subject, where are you going to be shooting your photos? Do you have access to a studio? Or are you shooting on location? A good tip is to try and keep your background simple and relevant. Limit the busyness of the photo so that your focus is obvious. If you’re trying to ‘market’ or ‘sell’ something, it needs to be clear to your audience what the product or service is.

If your background is busy and this can’t be helped – say, if you are shooting in a public location – then your accompanying photo caption can help make it clear what your focus is in your image.

2. Composition

Composition is key to having a clear image, making sure it conveys the intended meaning to your target audience.

A common and easy way to conquering this is the rule of thirds. The rule of thirds is a guideline that places the subject in the left, middle or right third of an image, leaving the other two thirds more open. Visually it splits the photo into a grid of nine equal parts.

Photography Tips_Rule of thirds

Depth of field also plays a big part in your photos as it shows your audience what or who the main focus is of your image is. The depth of field is the area of sharpness in front or behind your subject (so, you are basically choosing if you want the foreground or the background to be blurry or sharp). Having a shallow depth of field means that the subject closest to you is sharp and in focus, and a deeper depth of field is the opposite to that, a clearer photo with a larger area in focus, generally meaning a sharper image.

3. Lighting

A well-lit photo is key to catching your audience’s eye and resulting in engagement if you post online. There are three key lighting essentials that you should be aware of when taking a photo: front lighting, side lighting and back lighting. Moving the light source impacts your photo dramatically, so choosing the correct positioning of your lighting is quite important.

Front Lighting

When you place your subject directly in front of a light source it brings out detail, the shadows fall behind the subject, and in some cases can create a two-dimensional, flat image. Boring.

Side Lighting

When you place a light source from the side, you eliminate the boring, flat, two-dimensional image, but you have to be careful and watch where your shadows fall on your subject, as it could create awkward and unflattering shadows. So be sure to adjust the positioning of your subject or your light source to achieve your intended photo. You can create interesting and beautiful shadows when you experiment with the positioning of the side light.

Back Lighting

This is the trickiest way of shooting so be cautious when choosing this as your light source, as your image will most likely end up as a silhouette, unless that is your desired outcome, in which case shoot away! Shooting in manual mode on your camera can help overcome this but can sometimes be a bit tricky to get your head around if you are a beginner. If you shoot using a smart phone, then you can probably select where to focus simply by tapping the screen and saving you from a dark and backlit image). Once you have mastered the backlit shooting style by adjusting the exposure in manual mode, you can create some beautiful halo effect portraits and this can become a great individual style.

Photography Tips_Lighting

An easy and effective way to begin shooting without any direct directional light source is a cloudy, overcast day… hardly difficult to find here in the UK! The sky effectively becomes one giant soft box, and you can shoot without the worry of the sun front/side/back lighting your image negatively. This is because the clouds diffuse the sunlight, meaning the light is spread out over a larger area.

4. Shutter Speed

The shutter speed is also key to ensuring you have a nice sharp image. A fast shutter speed means there is a shorter exposure – the amount of light taken in by the camera – while a slow shutter speed takes in more light and the shutter is open for a longer period of time, (not good after a strong coffee – resulting in shaky hands).

A sharp image is the main goal post when taking an image, so a faster shutter speed is great, especially when taking portraits or product photos. But if you are in a dimly lit environment a longer shutter speed might be useful, so stabilising your camera is a must, whether that be on a hard surface or with a tripod.

If you are taking a picture of a moving subject, then you are going to want a faster shutter speed, so that it freezes the subject in motion. This is ideal for sports or wildlife photography, for instance as the shutter won’t be open for long. If you wanted to take a picture of a firework or a sparkler, you will want to use a slower shutter speed to get the full effect! This means your shutter will be open for a longer period of time.

Photography Tips_Shutter Speed

One big tip is – DON’T TAKE JUST ONE PHOTO! Be trigger happy! Click, click and click again! You want to make sure you have a selection of photos to choose from as the first one might not be the one. The goal should be to create lots of great images, not just one perfect one.

5. Have fun!

Most importantly, have fun when taking photos! There can be a lot to remember, but if you are just starting out then trial and error is the best way to find your own style. Experiment with lighting, shutter speed, composition, and your subjects! Don’t pigeonhole yourself and follow conventional rules to create photos for you and your audience.

Don’t forget to share your work!

Photography is key to good marketing, whether that be headshots, office photos, social media posts, website images, or for email marketing. Photography can tell a story. Consumers are visual thinkers, and images stand out to capture attention. Successful photographs can help prospective clients to visualise your service or product so getting it right is important.

If you or your business needs some professional photography services, get in touch with Flamingo Marketing Strategies Ltd. today and we can help bring your vision to life with professional photography services.

Even better, we can also help with branding, content creation, events and exhibitions, print, social media, websites and video marketing too!