Tips & Tricks
A collection of useful tips and tricks to help you improve the photos you shoot!
It’s Better Outdoors
- Rule Of Thirds: Avoid putting your subject in the middle – mentally divide your scene into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) and position key parts of your photo on these division lines. It is best to place your horizon on one of the two horizontal lines, and to have any foreground point of interest (or your subject) off to one side, in line with one of the vertical lines.
- Framing: Try including something like part of a tree right off to either side of your landscape photos to form an edge or ‘frame’ – it can add great ‘depth’, making the image appear more 3D and stops the viewer’s eye slipping off the side.
- Fill the Frame: Zoom-in or stand closer so that the interesting part of the scene fills the entire photo.Don’t feel you need to fit the entire subject in the shot – just concentrate on the important parts. Also, patterns and textures can make great shots all on their own.
- Anything but Eye-Level: Don’t take all your photos from the usual standing-up height – crouch down low and look up, climb high and point down – try weird and wonderful angles to create unique and engaging photographs, even of common scenes! Also, if shooting something small (like a child or a dog) try to get down to their eye-level, to create a more intimate shot.
- Taking Portraits: Stand back and zoom in – it’ll help blur-out distracting backgrounds and make your subject stand out. For even better blurry backgrounds, shoot on ‘Aperture Mode’ and dial your f/# as small as you can – smaller f# gives a smaller depth of field.
- Watch Your Backgrounds: Perhaps the easiest way to make your photos look better is to spare a moment to check your background isn’t too messy or distracting. Position yourself so that your subject is in front of a simple, plain background of a contrasting colour to your subject – without distracting colour blobs, telegraph poles protruding from people’s heads, horizon lines going through their face etc.
- Fill-Flash Outdoors: Don’t be afraid to use your flash in daylight – it can lighten shadows under someone’s hat, add a sparkle to their eyes and so on – give it a try!
- Horizontal Horizons: Check your camera isn’t crooked just before you take the photo! Easy to forget – but hard to fix later without losing parts of your photo.
- Leading Lines: Strong lines or curves flowing into a photo help lead the viewer’s eye through your scene to your subject. A fence line, a trail of footsteps, light & shadows –they draw the viewer’s gaze into the photo. They aren’t always there to use, but if they are, you’ll get best results if you make sure any line coming into your photo comes in from the diagonal corners of your shot. Be aware however as they may also lead the viewer away from the subject, so position them so they tend to lead towards what they are supposed to be looking at.
- The Right Lighting: Beautiful, soft, golden morning and evening lighting is beautiful for almost all photography; soft, side-lighting for portraits; shade light rather than harsh sunlight; avoid dappled light like under a tree.
But sometimes – break the rules! Be creative – sometimes the best shots obey none of these rules!
Chris Bray is an award winning Australian Geographic photographer and runs 1 day photography courses around Australia, and photo safaris all around the world, including Alaska, Iceland, Greenland, Galapagos, Amazon, Tasmania, Kangaroo island, Kenya, Christmas Island and more. Check out www.chrisbrayphotography.com for details!
Following concerns that the use of social media to spread the word about beautiful, photogenic locations and the subsequent degradation of those locations in Tasmania, Natural Resource Management South (NRMSouth) has published a guide to ethical nature photography.
While Tasmanian focussed, this guide and the principles it suggests can (and should) be applied by Queensland photographers. Sections include:
More Tips and Ideas
- Chris Bray’s Online Photography Course – online in 10 easy-to-understand episodes
- CLICK it up a NOTCH – unlock the secrets of photography with Courtney Slazinik
- How to.. improve your iPhone photos – from the Great Walks website
- Learn to Photograph with Australian Geographic – photography tutorials from AG
- Photography Tips from National Geographic
- Tips & Techniques from Outdoor Photographer
- How to take a great picture by Carolina Molinari, ‘TEDEd Lessons Worth Sharing’
- How to take great photos—even on your cell phone from ‘TEDBlog‘
- Digital Photography Composition from the ‘For Dummies‘ collection
- Top Ten Photo Tips by Jim Miotke
- The Learn Center – tips and tutorials from Olympus
- 10 Uncommon Photography Composition Tips from Good Nature Travel
- 10 Useful Tips to Encourage Children into Photography by John Adams
- 17 Tips for Taking Pictures With Your Smartphone from Hubspot
- iPhone Photography Course from CameraHouse
- How to Choose the Best Cameras for Hiking from A Greek Adventure
- Backpacking with a Camera by Jim Miotke
and you can also go to Dianne McLay’s Easy Photo Tips – she’ll even answer your specific questions too!
or you can follow some of the photography tips from Australian Photography and surprise your family and friends with the quality of your photos!