(Featured Image Credit – A.D. Wheeler)
Anyone can take a great picture with the proper knowledge and practice. It can be pretty disheartening never to seem to “get it right” when all you want to do is shoot better photos. Rather than thinking that better equipment will improve your photos, take the time to learn the techniques that every professional photographer knows.
Here are five simple tips to help you shoot better photos:
Learn your camera’s different features and how to use them.
Your camera has features and settings you probably never knew were important or quickly forgot about after first reviewing the manual. It’s good to see where the more sophisticated options are and how to utilize them. But, more importantly, learn how to use the basic features to take great photos without all the bells and whistles.
It’s easy to find free online tutorials about your camera and how to set it up for the type of photography you are interested in. Once you are familiar with the settings, you can activate the advanced features when you need them.
Most modern cameras have a memory mode where you can store a configuration for a specific way of shooting (e.g. wildlife, street, or portraiture). This feature ensures you can quickly activate the correct settings when the occasion arises.
Use a faster shutter speed to remove blur.
Many people blame their camera’s autofocus system when images come out blurry. However, it’s often not the camera’s fault. Instead, camera motion is the culprit most of the time! When you hand-hold a camera, any shake in your hands (or even the movement of pressing the shutter) can cause the image to come out blurry. The best way around this is to increase the shutter speed.
Even with the magic of in-camera image stabilization, you should always try to use the correct shutter speed for your lens. The best shutter speed will be based on the lens’s focal length. The most straightforward formula for shutter speed is 1/focal length. For example, if your lens is 100mm, never shoot at less than 1/100th of a second.
Study other photographers’ work and find inspiration.
One of the best ways to improve your photography is to see what other photographers are doing. Look for inspiration in magazines, online, and even in books. When you find a photo you like, take some time to figure out why it works so well. Is it the composition? The lighting? The subject matter? Once you know what makes a good photo, you can start incorporating those elements into your work.
Of course, you don’t want to copy other photographers’ work exactly. That’s not how you find your style. But when you see a photo that speaks to you, take time to analyze it and learn from it.
Additionally, it would help if you looked at the work of great painters. Many of the same principles that apply to photography also apply to painting. Composition, lighting, and color are all essential elements in both art forms.
Take online or offline courses to improve your skills.
Many great resources are available to help you improve your photography skills. You can find online courses, eBooks, and even YouTube videos that can teach you everything from the basics of photography to more advanced concepts.
If you want a more structured learning experience, community colleges, adult education programs, and private businesses offer many excellent offline courses. These courses can be a great way to learn from a professional photographer and get feedback on your work.
Remember to practice every day!
You won’t get better at photography if you don’t practice. Set aside time each day to shoot something, even if it’s just 10 minutes. It doesn’t matter what you shoot. Just get out there and take photos. As you practice, you’ll start to see your skills improve.
And don’t forget to have fun! Photography should be enjoyable, so make sure you take photos of things that interest you. The more passion you have for your subject matter, your photos will be better.
Photography is all about uniquely capturing the world, so find your style and have fun with it! You can shoot better photos today with practice and some simple tips. These five tips will help you get started, but don’t forget to experiment and find what works best for you.
Once you are comfortable with your camera and settings, take the time to relax and enjoy the art – check out my article on the Zen of Rural Photography for how to enjoy seeing the world. Also, don’t forget to look everywhere for compositions.
If you find these quick tips interesting, make sure to take a look at our other photography guides.