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5 Basic Tips for Professional Photography

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by Todd Newton (subscribe)
toddnewton
Published July 15th 2014
Moving your photography to the next stage


We're all photographers.

We use cameras to take photos of places, people, and to capture candid moments of our lives.

But most of us aren't exactly pros when it comes to taking good quality photos.

So I'll provide you with 5 basic tips that will help you produce images that are like those of a professional photographer;

Tip 1- It's all about the subject.

Things inspire us to take a photo. And the first tip I have is to focus on a subject in your photo whether it be scenery, a person or an object. Now that may seem obvious but it's more than just simply aiming a camera at your subject and snapping.

Australian Photography Tips
The Opera House is the subject of this photo. Professional Photography by Matthew Field www.photography.mattfield.com/


Justin Balog, author of 'The Art of Mobile Photography' video course, says that you need to compose, expose and develop for your hero in a photo.

Composing an image simply means shaping how you want your image to look before you take the photo. When taking a landscape photo, consider where to shoot from and at what angle you want to adjust your camera (tilting the angle 'up-and-down' or 'side-to-side' and everything in-between).

If you are taking a photo of a person, decide if you want to plan your image by positioning your subject in the frame. Or you might be inspired to take a candid shot of someone doing something random at any moment.

For more information to read, click here.

Tip 2- Lighting up your photo.

Australian Photography Tips
An example of an underexposed photo where the whole image is dark (Image provided by Maraya on Wikimedia Commons- https://www.flickr.com/photos/35237093637@N01).


The next step to taking a good quality photo is to think about the exposure within your image. Exposure refers to the amount of light that penetrates into your photograph.

One of the best ways to ensure your photos have good exposure is by bracketing. This basically means taking photos of the same landscape or person under many settings on your camera.

Many modern cameras even come from auto-bracketing options which lets you cycle through each exposure setting. By simply pressing a button or turning a dial every time you take a new image, the exposure will change.

Most cameras should come with a user guide on how to use the bracketing setting but just in case there isn't a guide, you can get a general idea of how to use it by clicking here.

For more information on Bracketing, feel free to have a read of Elizabeth Halford's article from the Digital Photography School.

Tip 3- Reducing glare.

Australian Photography Tips
A photo I had taken at the Powerhouse Museum. Note the issue that I had with Glare through the windows behind.


Let's face it. We've all taken at least one photo that had too much light in the frame including my own photo above. And it can be a real nuisance!

But there are a few ways around this such as;

  • photographing the subject from a different angle or position.
  • shooting at an earlier or later time of the day.

    However, there is also a third (and more direct) way of reducing glare.

    Abi Cotler ORoarty shares a tip on why using a polarizer may be a good filter for glare spots;

    "By reducing glare, the polarizer gives your shots richer, more saturated colors, especially with skies (see the before and after shots above)."

    Tip 4- Zooming in on a scene.

    Australian Photography Tips
    Professional Photography by Mark Soon.


    Let's say you want to take a photo of an object in the distance. Naturally, people would use the zoom setting on a standard camera to get a closer image but Sydney photographer Mark Soon reveals his own tip for zooming:

    "When you're exploring an area to photograph, you'll never know how wide or narrow your frame will need to be for each scene, and this is where the zoom lens comes in handy. I normally carry a 24-70mm lens for this kind of photography, which allows me to capture everything in a scene."

    There are mainly two types of lenses you can buy: prime lenses and zoom lenses. Prime lenses are stuck in a fixed position while zoom lenses allow you to shoot wide, narrow and everything in between.

    Tip 5- Use a tripod.

    A tripod is used to hold a camera in a stable place. It prevents the camera from moving even the tiniest bit when taking photos. This in turn will make the image look even sharper.

    Australian Photography Tips
    A camera on a tripod. Image provided by Michael Henderson (Wikimedia Commons).


    Tripods usually make it easier to pan across one scene or landscape. The camera simply rotates and catches multiple perspectives of scenery in one cycle.

    If you want to learn tips on how to use a tripod, visit Chuck Peters' Videomaker article entitled '8 Tips on How To Use A Tripod'.

    I hope you have found these tips to be useful and if you have any extra tips, feel free to leave a comment below.
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