5 Ways to improve your photography today

Regardless of what type of camera you use, from a camera-phone to a DSLR these 5 simple tips will help you to take better pictures.

1. Slow down!

Whatever you go to photograph slow down and give yourself time to think about the picture you want, sometimes taking a little extra time assess your subject can give you a much better result. Think about how you want to portray your subject to the viewer of your picture, would the image be improved by turning your camera to portrait rather than landscape or visa versa. Try to see the picture you want before you lift your camera, landscapes were always something that I found difficult to frame in my head so I cut out a little 6×4 frame and carried it my camera bag, when I came across a scene I wanted to capture I took this out first, allowing me to frame the image I wanted, before I went for my camera. It saved me a lot of space on my hard drive.

2. Composition

Composition in art and photography is the method in which the image is laid out so as to draw your eye and your attention to certain parts of the image in a certain way. Rules of composition go back to classical painting and a time well before the first camera was invented but they still hold true today, the Golden Spiral and Golden Section were the order of those days, we now use a simplified version in the “Rule of Thirds”. some of you will have the ability to switch on a rule of thirds overlay to your viewing screen from your menu, for everyone else just imagine your image divided into three in both directions.

Thirds box

IMG_8363 web with thirds

Ideally the point of focus will end up on the intersecting lines although anywhere on the thirds will usually give you a more interesting composition than bang in the center of your picture. When photographing people or animals I like to make the eyes my focal point and compose my picture to place the eyes on the thirds.

3. Point of focus

Think about what your point of focus will be in your picture and then position it using the rule of thirds. Once decided you might look for leading lines and think about depth of field and although those subjects are for discussion another day both are used as tools to draw your viewer’s eye to what you want them to see most in your picture, the point of focus/subject, ultimately the reason you took the picture. If it’s a person or an animal you are photographing try making the eye closest to you the point of focus for example. Whatever you point of focus is, it should be where the eye of your viewer comes to rest when looking.

4. Change position

Take your picture from a different angle, get down on one knee or stand up on steps, tilt the camera or set the camera down on something. It all depends on what you are trying to capture but changing the angle from your camera to your subject will make your picture different and in the right situation, better. If you’re taking pictures of the kids, try getting down to their level rather than pointing the camera down. A larger group of people might be better from slightly above so that everyone’s face gets seen. You can practise on everyday objects and it can be good fun to see if anyone recognises the object when you picture it from an unusual angle.

5. Check the background

This is something well worth considering as poles growing out of people’s heads are rarely flattering and it happens all too often for the unsuspecting photographer. If you’ve followed 1-4 of this article then you probably have this one already covered, it’s always worth a look at the first picture to make sure, a step left or right can be all that it takes to fix it. Sometimes pictures are as much about what is excluded from the picture as what is included.