Sunrise image preview in the LCD - Oxbow Bend, Grand Teton National Park.

Sunrise image preview in the LCD – Oxbow Bend, Grand Teton National Park.

We sometimes get asked for photography tips by people we work with around the University.
Whilst there are plenty of resources on YouTube and articles on the web, we thought we’d sum up what we think are the top 10 photography tips that we find helpful to get better photos.

1. Rule of thirds
This is one of the first principles people normally learn about photography. It’s a simple and consistent way of getting good framing. This entails imagining a 3×3 grid over the frame and positioning the subject of the photo on the top left/right.

Studio headshot on white background. Example of good framing.

2. Exposure
Knowing how the combinations Aperture/shutter speed/ISO affect the final shot is incredibly empowering. If you want to achieve motion blur or more depth of field, then you can easily do so. Once you learn those combinations and effects that they create, get to know your camera and learn what buttons and dials help you achieve the look you want for your photo.
Check out this brilliant tutorial to learn these camera basics.

Camera basics tutorial. Aperture, Shutter Speed & ISO.

3. Use your phone
This is something I’m very guilty of…It’s easy to get discouraged by the limited kit that you have access to and use that as an excuse not to go out and take photos. The cameras on our phones are super impressive nowadays, both for photo and video capabilities so let’s go out and shoot! 

Woman taking a photo on her phone

4. Take different shot sizes
Whether you are covering an event or getting photos of a person who has been interviewed, it’s always good practice to take different shot sizes. Having a variety of long, medium and close up shots from a couple of different angles gives you more options in terms of how you use the images that you take. You might be able to use them for more purposes than you first thought and tell a better and more complete story. 

5. Prepare your location
Whenever you are taking a photo, rather than merely focusing on the subject, it is good practice to have a look at the space around it.
Tidy up and move out of shot things like drink bottles, cables, etc. This will make a massive difference to the final photo.

6. Make the most of the depth of a space
Having the subject with their back to quite a big space can be aesthetically pleasing. It allows you to use perspective and the natural lines present in the frame to really focus the viewer’s eye.

Portrait of a young adult man in the city

7. Use natural light
Pay attention to where the light is coming from and get the subject to face the source of natural light. Unless you have lights, it would be tough to get good exposure on the subject if the main source of light is behind them. 

8. Using the foreground
Use what’s around you to frame the subject of your photo, whether it’s a building or person. Having something out of focus in the foreground and to one side, like a tree branch or a wall or even someone’s shoulder, can help the viewer focus on the subject. 

9. Negative space
This is the space around the subject and it’s another unique technique. It makes the subject “pop” and gives a different feel to your photos.
This video from Mango Street explains different ways you can use this.

Video tutorial on how to use negative space in photography

10. Break the rules
Once you’ve mastered the basics, try different things. Sometimes giving yourself a new set of rules, like using one prime lens for a whole photography session for example, can be liberating and it can help you look at the space around you in a totally different way. 

That’s all for now! Thanks for checking out our Top 10 Photography Tips.

Top 10 Photography Tips

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