Ten Ways You Can Up Your Photography Game Right Now

Ten Ways You Can Up Your Photography Game Right Now

Published on 26th of March 2024

It was easy to spot bad photographers back in what might as well be the Stone Age of photography. They were the ones who developed their photos only to find their thumb had taken on a starring role. These days, there are tons of tools, tips, and tricks for improving your photo-taking skills.

But with evolving tech, social media, and all of those fancy tools, it can be challenging for an amateur who is metaphorically all thumbs to know where to start. And in today's fast-paced, social media-heavy world, you may only have an instant to grab your audience's attention. You need eye-catching photos that get people to stop scrolling to see what you're all about.

Everyone can benefit from running through a quick checklist of tips, from the photographically challenged to the content creator looking for ways to hone their skills. Try these ten ways to up your photography game and start posting better pictures.

1. Consider Using Natural Light

view of foggy mountain landscape

Many smartphones can go a long way toward compensating for too much or not enough light. But that doesn't mean that you can't pay attention to the lighting when taking a photo. Filters can only accomplish so much, and if you have to spend a ton of time editing every image, you'll have less time to be productive in other ways.

Early morning and late afternoon lighting tend to be more favorable, delivering a complimentary glow that usually enhances your photo. In the middle of the day, the sun is at its brightest, and that amount of light can wash out some details. It's also essential to note the sun's position if you're using natural light from the windows or out of doors. When the sun is rising in the east or setting in the west, you'll need to account for shadows and may need to reposition yourself to avoid them.

2. Always Be Ready for Action

It sounds silly until it happens, but if your phone's camera lens gets smudged, you'll have difficulty getting a good picture. It's easy to accidentally touch the camera lens on the phone. If you're trying to take a photo or video in a hurry, you might not notice the blurriness until it's too late. Bring a soft cloth you can use to clean the lens if there's a chance of smudging it, and you'll be able to capture more candid shots.

3. Set Up for Success

If you want better photos with your smartphone, you'll need to learn more about the camera settings. Even more basic smartphone models can come with some pretty good cameras that offer some ways you can adjust them. Search for tutorials, and you might be surprised how much your little phone camera can do.

4. The Rule of Thirds

brown wooden swing seat

This technique can take a little practice, but it's an effective trick for creating visually appealing photos. Imagine that you are dividing the picture into thirds, both horizontally and vertically. If you are photographing products, you can place your products where those imaginary lines intersect. Using the rule of thirds can also bring a sense of balance to your photos.

5. Play With Layers

We may not consciously realize it, but the photos that grab our attention and keep it are often full of layers. Great images have something happening in the foreground and the background in ways that direct your eyes to the photo's subject. It’s also a good idea to practice depth when taking photos of a single focus item.

6. Switch Off HDR Settings

Many smartphone cameras have HDR or High Dynamic Range. While it is definitely a tool for taking photographs, it can be tricky to use. It works by taking multiples of the same photo but at different exposures. It then crafts a composite. The result can either be a photo full of depth and detail or appear unnatural and off-putting. If you know you’re going to be snapping pictures for the ‘Gram, you might want to turn off HDR until you've practiced it extensively.

7. See the Photo First

woman taking photo using DSLR camera

It's tempting to grab the phone and look for the right shot through the camera. But you're more likely to find the best angle and light if you use your eyes first. Then, when you've figured out visually how you want to take the photo, you can bring your camera up and snap.

8. Take Multiple Photos

Sometimes, the stars align, and you can carefully set up and stage an amazing photo. Other times, you—or the subject—might be moving quickly, and grabbing the perfect photo feels like a shot in the dark. Up your chances of capturing the best look by taking multiple images. Many cameras let you take photos in burst mode. You can also try the same subject from various angles and later compare them to find the most flattering image.

9. Ask the audience

You don't have to actively poll your audience, but you can look at your Instagram analytics to determine which photos have gotten the most feedback and exposure. You might think that an image you've taken is ho-hum, but something about it resonated with more people. Look at your highest-performing photos and note attributes like light, angle, and subject matter.

10. Experiment with Different Modes

black DSLR camera

Many phone cameras have different modes, such as portrait mode, that automatically detect certain things. Portrait mode looks for well-lit subjects within a certain distance from the camera. Your phone can create the bokeh effect by focusing on the subject, which gently blurs the background. This effect forces the viewer to focus even more on the photo's subject. Don't limit your portrait mode use to only portraits—experiment with this feature on different things.

It's a good idea for anyone using Instagram to review the basics, regardless of ability. It can be easy to get sucked into the layers of editing features, but you can minimize the time spent fiddling with photos by practicing good photography habits. Best of all, these ten tips are free and will have a noticeable effect on the quality of your photographs.

Article by Blastup

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