Anyone can press a shutter button, but shooting a striking photo requires special talent. Once you know the basics of exposure and have a general idea of composition, it’s time to take your photography skills to the next level. Today we will show you more advanced photography tips to consider when composing an image. Keep these concepts in mind to improve your photos significantly.
Anyone can press a shutter button, but shooting a striking photo requires special talent.
Before reading: Here are some photography terms you should learn
Photography tips: Rule of thirds
There is a sea of composition rules you will learn, but the rule of thirds is the most basic and popular of all photography tips. The rule of thirds is simple: draw two equally distanced imaginary lines horizontally, then do the same vertically. This will create a 3 x 3 grid. All you need to do is make sure your main subject or focus point is in one of the cross sections.
There will likely be an option to turn on this grid in your camera settings. Most smartphones have it, and it is a great visual tool for applying the rule of thirds.
Though this composition rule is a favorite and has a great chance at success, it’s also easy to mess it up. You have to watch out for other factors, two of which we go over in this very article.
Photography tips: Leading lines
The word “photography” has ancient Greek origins and it means “drawing with light”. Lines are the most important part of drawing, and they’re imperative in good photography. Always be mindful of your lines and try to make it so they lead to your main subject.
These could be literal lines, but also thematic ones. There are vision lines, for example. A person could be looking at the main subject in the image. That’s not a literal line, but it works just as well, if not better. Eyes are a powerful tool to use in photography.
Photography tips: Filling the frame
Filling the frame is a simple way to bring more attention to your subject. Get closer to the subject so it occupies more space in the picture.
Of course, empty space is also something you can use to your advantage, so you will have to rely on your creativity and environment to decide what’s appropriate. As a general rule of thumb, though, incorrectly used dead space can become a distraction or make an image unbalanced.
Photography tips: Negative space
As with any art, photography is not as simple as following rules, because these can be broken. Negative space (or dead space) can be used to make a more impactful image.
Photography is not as simple as following rules, because these can be broken and modified.
The subject of your photograph is known as positive space and negative space is everything surrounding it. You can use the environment to bring attention to your subject using bokeh, lines, colors, and other elements. One can also create feelings with dead space like grandeur, stress, activity, peace, and nature. The image below uses dead space to give off a feeling of darkness, which help add contrast to the subject (light).
It’s hard to give you a way to use negative space appropriately. You can blur out trains, cars, or people around your subject. One can also include interesting textures or patterns to negative space. Just get creative!
Related: The best budget camera phones
Photography tips: Depth of field
Depth of field can make or break an image. In a nutshell, depth of field is the distance between the nearest and farthest points kept in focus in a photo. This is how bokeh (blurry background) is created.
Depth of field is mostly controlled by aperture, distance to the subject, and focal length.
Depth of field is mostly controlled by aperture, distance to the subject, and focal length. The wider the aperture, closer the distance, and higher the focal length, the shallower the depth of field (less kept in focus) becomes. The smaller the aperture, further distance from the subject, and lower focal length, the larger the depth of field (more in focus).
Always use depth of field to your advantage. A narrower depth of field is great for isolating a subject from the background and lessening distractions. If you are taking a picture of something like children playing baseball, you will want more kids in focus, something a wider depth of field would help with.
Photography tips: Viewpoint
The viewpoint, or perspective, can turn a mundane shot into an extraordinary one. Say you arrive at a famous tourist attraction, walk up to it, and take a straight shot at eye level. Just think how many people have taken that same cookie-cutter photo in the past, and how many will do so in the future. Your image will be lost in a sea of photos that look just like it.
People may laugh at your weird poses, but at the end you will have a special image to show.
Find a different angle, get closer to the floor, or higher from the ground. If you have a drone, use it. Get to a roof, or go behind the building. Finding an unusual angle will always make an image stand out. People may laugh at your weird poses (they always laugh at me), but at the end you will have a special image to show.
Photography tips: Patterns
People seem to have an obsession with patterns, no doubt because of the relative chaos of everyday life. If you find interesting patterns, use them to make an image more interesting. You can use patterns to bring a feeling of balance to an image. Equally, you can break patterns to grab more attention.
Photography Tips: Framing
Framing the subject within the image can further bring attention to it, while also offering a more unique perspective. Instead of shooting out of a window, next time think of how the picture would look if it included the window.
You could also use trees, mountains, and rocks to frame the subject and bring more attention to it. A fence, architecture, tunnels, mirrors, and caves are other popular choices.
Photography tips: Color theory
Of all the photography tips we’re discussing today, color is often overlooked by many photographers in favor of framing, thousands of rules, and catching the moment. Color can affect the mood of an image significantly. It’s the same reason why painters and designers usually stick to specific color palettes.
You can manipulate colors (whether it is while shooting or in post-processing) to give a feeling to your images.
Remember back in elementary school when we learned about primary, secondary, and tertiary colors? The most popular among photographers is the RGB (red, green, and blue) wheel. These primary colors form the base. Secondary colors are made by mixing primary colors; in this case, the mixtures would create cyan, magenta, and yellow. Furthermore, tertiary colors are made by combining both primary and secondary colors.
You could spend a long time learning about photography tips related to color theory, but we can’t keep you here much longer. In summary, you can manipulate colors (whether it is while shooting or in post-processing) to give a special feeling to your images.
Colors on opposite sides of the color wheel compliment each other and give good contrast, offering a very eye-catching effect. Analogous colors are adjacent to one another in the wheel, and can create a harmonious effect because of the low contrast. Monochromatic images do the same by exclusively using different shades of a single color.
Photography tips: Creative exposure
Camera modes like auto and aperture priority are made to expose images perfectly, but camera modes don’t know the feeling you want your photos to emit. Don’t be scared to make some images darker. Under-exposing photos can give off a mysterious, scary, or interesting look. Darkness can also be used to highlight the subject more. Likewise, over-exposing an image can sometimes make a photo feel more alive or awakening.
Need more gear?: Here are some photography essentials every photographer should have