Updated: Jun 8
If you want to take professional looking photos then you could attend a photography course and learn from an expert; you can search for a course here. However, there are some simple ways that you can quickly improve your photos and with a little practice they will start to feel much more polished! We have listed six simple tips that will help you on your way.
So in no particular order here we go...
1. The rule of thirds
This will instantly improve the composition of your photo. Simply place the point of interest on one of the third intersects (in this case the tree). At the same time line up the horizon on either the upper or lower third, this will depend upon which is more interesting, the sky or the land? And voila! A much more satisfying photo!
However, note! This is simply a guiding rule and once mastered you should look to experiment, that’s when your photography gets even more interesting!
2. Be different, don’t do what everyone else does!
Some scenes are photographed repeatedly and we become so familiar with them that even interesting subjects can become boring. You need to start thinking outside the box and try to take your photo from a different angle that we are not used to seeing. This will instantly make your photo much more appealing.
Try to get depth into your scenes, flat images are often just not as good. We can inject depth by considering areas of interest in the foreground, mid-ground and distance.
The above image is a good example. The stone wall (foreground) welcomes you into the photo and you are then taken through the image to the building (mid-ground) and finally onto the hill in the distance (background). These three elements have created a sense of dimension and depth and work well here.
4. Focal length
Before taking a photo you should be looking at the whole scene and deciding what photo you want to capture. Remember, the photographer takes the photo, the camera merely captures it! One of the things to consider is what elements you want to include in the frame and one of the tools at your disposal is the choice of focal length. If you shoot long, say over 200mm, then you will condense the scene. However if you shoot wide, say under 30mm, then you will capture much more of the scene. Here’s what we mean…
If you use a tripod you will of course get a sharp image but you will also be able to slow down the shutter speed which opens up a world of creativity for you. How you may ask? Put simply you will be able to ‘play’ with any aspects within the scene that are moving. The slow shutter speed will blur or distort these aspects so for example people within the scene will look blurred and moving clouds or water can look brushed, smooth or glassy.
The above image was shot at night so of course a tripod was required. A shutter speed of around 20-30 seconds was used and at this speed the sky looks smooth and soft while the water has acquired a cool, glassy feel.
6. Time of day
Lastly consider the time of day you intend to go out shooting and how this will affect your photo. Early morning the light will be soft and have a bluish tint, during the day it will be harsh giving hard shadows, and around sunset the light will become softer again with a warm glow. There is no right or wrong here, it’s your preference but we’d recommend experimenting with all options.
The above image was taken early in the morning. The light was soft and there was some low lying mist.
This image was taken at midday where the sun was bright. It has cast strong shadows which adds interest to the shot.
And this image was taken around sunset and has thrown a red hue over the white cliff faces.
We hope you've found these tips helpful, now all you need to do is to go out and practice! Happy photographing!