Returning the favor: Tips for taking better photographs



With the explosion in social media and equipment affordability, everyone is becoming a photographer. Everyone, their mom, and in some cases even their dog (see @remythadon) have Instagrams. Everyone can purchase their own DSLR at affordable prices and in convenient locations. But what makes a photographer is the craft – the lighting, the scenery, the angles and composition. It’s the details that make a photo extraordinary.

After working with so many incredible photographers that have come before me, I was lucky enough to learn the tricks of the trade. Now it’s my turn to return the favor. Below are some quick tips for taking better photographs:


Backgrounds sound like simple details to photographers, but the perfect background is simple. Keep it basic, that way you don’t distract from your subject. Simple backdrops or solid colors seem to work best. It draws the eye directly to the person or subject you’re shooting.

Also, be aware of your peripherals. Did you want to catch that garbage or messy closet in the background? Didn’t think so. Be sure to scan your area for any unwanted background clutter.

Knowing when and how to use a flash is pivotal. Using a flash too close or too far away distorts the photo’s crisp details and may either be too light or too dark to see the subject. Make sure you’re no further than 5 feet away when using a flash.


Lighting is everything. Lighting captures the details that make your photo. The right light can make an ordinary picture amazing. Be aware of your subject’s details and be aware of the time of day or equipment you’re using. Some people prefer using SoftBoxes or Beauty Dishes, so know how far and how high to position them according to your subject’s placement. Use reflectors if needed to make that dark spot pop. Use your angles!

Using framing as a photograph technique is great and always makes subjects pop. Framing a subject by drawing attention to the subject can be done with different, out-of-focus elements or by blurring the background to lead the viewer’s eye directly to the subject. Be sure to play with the variables of the photo so you can decide whether it works in your photo or not.

Hold the camera steady:
Simple, yet very important. A common mistake for photographers is a shaky hand or leaning too much when trying to capture the photo and losing a steady grip. Hold your camera firmly. Take your photo confidently. And, make sure your feet are firmly planted on the ground. No one likes a fallen photographer.

Take your time:
Three words that mean everything to a photog: cool, calm, confident. Believe in what you’re shooting and your abilities. It’s your photo and your work of art. You’re in control. Take as much time as you need to create your masterpiece.

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