Five Simple Tips for Taking Better Photos
Do your photographs sometimes (or always?!) look a little blurry, out of focus, too dark, too bright, or just not quite how you wanted them to turn out? Read on for my simple tips to take better photos – they work for any kind of photo. Easy enough for you, and the children, to follow!
Then once you’ve all got the hang of these, you can go on to take a course like my Ordinary to Awesome to really improve your photos with camera know-how and composition techniques.
1. Clean the camera lens
My first tip is to make sure that your camera lens is clean! Especially if the camera you are using is your mobile phone and it is going in and out of your pocket or bag all the time! But also if you’re using a tablet or proper camera, even if they’ve been in a case. Get used to cleaning the lens each time you take it out to photograph.
Be really careful not to scratch the lens. Use a proper lens cloth, such as you would use for cleaning spectacles with, and gently rub off any smudges, finger marks, or other dirt. (There’s an example of the ones I use in this blog here).
You will probably be pleasantly surprised how much of a difference this makes to your photos!
2. Holding the camera steady
Whether you are using a phone, tablet or camera, you need to hold it really steady when you take a photo. This is likely to make a big difference to children’s photos in particular, if they can learn not to wobble or move too quickly afterwards!
Use both hands to hold your camera/phone/tablet so you hold it steadier. If you can, stand with both feet slightly apart so you are more stable. Keep your elbows tucked into your sides so you are less wobbly. If there’s a convenient wall to lean on, do!
Keep fingers out of the way of the lens!
Hold your breath, and go gently when you touch the screen or press the shutter button to take your photo. Get used to not moving straight away, especially with children using a tablet or little camera that is slower to take the photo, you need to wait to make sure it has finished before you move.
3. Get Closer
The best and easiest way to improve your photos is almost always to get closer!
Move closer to your subject – what you are taking a photo of – so that it is bigger in the picture, and there is less clutter and distraction around it. If you have a zoom lens on your camera, you can zoom a little to get closer, but it’s usually better to move yourself!
Beware that zooming on your phone will usually reduce the quality of your photo, as it cuts off the pixels from around the edge, so again you are better off moving closer to your subject if you can.
Make sure your camera/phone/tablet is focused on your subject before you take the photo.
The camera will ‘hunt’ for focus if it is dark, or if there isn’t much contrast in the scene, or if you are too close to the subject. Make sure you wait for it to finish focusing before taking the photo.
If it doesn’t find anything to focus on, try move the camera slightly so you a little further away, or so that it’s pointing at something a little brighter or with a more contrast to focus on.
Many phones, cameras and tablets have a square marked in the middle of the picture to show you where it is focusing – see the one over the glass of orange juice in the example below. So check that that is over your subject, what you especially want to have in focus in your photograph.
5. Use the light
You need enough light to take a photo – so that your camera can focus on your subject and get it sharp. And so that there is enough light reflecting off your subject, into the camera, for the camera to capture, or your photos will be too dark.
But you also don’t need too much light! Taking photos facing the sun can make your photos too bright, with lens flares across your screen, silhouettes, and really dark shadows too.
Not to mention squinting eyes if you’re photographing someone else! Put them in some shade instead.
Soft early morning and late afternoon light is the most lovely and perfect for photographing in. If you’re photographing inside, use window light without the house lights on.
I hope you find these tips useful, to help you and your children to take better photos. I have loved taking photos since I was little. My parents have a photo of me on my 7th birthday grinning with my favourite present – my new camera!
I’ve been a professional photographer for decades. I now take landscape photos for my business, selling them as prints, cards and calendars, and I take branding photos for other business owners.
And I have discovered that I love teaching photography too, and being able to pass on my passion for taking photos to others. Which led me to creating my online photography course for children/teens/families/beginners, helping you take your photos from Ordinary to Awesome! It has helped me teach my 3 children with more focus. If you and/or your children are ready to learn a little more about the practicalities and techniques of taking amazing photos, read more about the course here: Ordinary to Awesome online photography course.
You may also be interested in reading this blog too: Tips to help get your children interested in taking photos.
And if you’d like my pdf of 10 fun photography projects you can do with your children, you can download it here: [coming shortly!]
PS If you’re a business owner too, and you’d like to learn to take better photos for your business social media, website and other content, have a look at my Basic to Brilliant photography course for business owners.
Five Simple Tips for Taking Better Photos