I couldn’t be more excited to have Megan on the blog today. Her ability to capture beautiful, interesting images is one I’d like to steal. So, I asked her the question that’s on my mind (and probably on yours) “How can I take better photos?” Here’s what she had to say.
These days the ability to capture great photos is literally at our fingertips. With the advent of cell phone cameras (which are often better quality than some of the best point-and-shoot cameras) and digital SLR equipment being more affordable than ever, even novice photographers can take gorgeous images that will stop me in my tracks! Do you find yourself browsing your Instagram feed or perusing Facebook and wondering, “Why don’t my photos look like THAT?” If so, there are some simple adjustments you can make, which will take your images to the next level.
- Follow the Light – In its purest form, all photography is about light. Really, the greatest thing that the more expensive, professional cameras do is help a photographer manipulate light. So if you’re using a cell phone or non-professional grade camera, the most important thing is to find good light. As you’ll be less able to manipulate the light using that type of camera, finding great light will enhance your images immensely. The best time of day to shoot is during the golden hour, which happens a half hour before sunset or sunrise. Don’t face your subjects toward the light, and instead, try backlighting, which means placing your subject in a position so the light is behind them.
- Don’t Center Your Subject – One of the biggest mistakes people make when shooting photos is placing their subject in the center of the frame. A tenet of photography is the “Rule of Thirds,” which basically states that a photo will have more interest and tension if it is not centered. Even if you center a photo in camera, try cropping later to see if it adds more dimension when it’s positioned in another way.
- Use Filters Sparingly – Yes, Instagram filters are super-fun. I get it! I love them too…but when you filter your images, often you are dating them and taking away their timeless quality. I’m as guilty as the next person. When I look at my Instagram images from four years ago, I find myself cringing! The blur and weathered images looked so cool at the time…but now they just look dated and unprofessional. Try using photo editing apps that allow you to filter, but keep it to a minimum. I love Snapseed and PicTapGo because they allow me to bump my images up, but not overdo it!
- Try a New Perspective – If you feel like your images are looking stale, try something different! Get on the ground and shoot from the perspective of a child or beloved pet. Try shooting from behind a thin curtain or through the doorway of a room. Frame your image in a unique way, and you’ll be amazed at how they will pop!
- Keep it Simple – There are so many tools and tricks out there, sometimes it’s hard to remember the most important rule of thumb…Keep it Simple! If you’re trying to create the perfect image, you might miss a beautiful moment right under your nose. The most clean, simple images are usually the ones that speak the most to me. Keep the clutter to a minimum, and don’t forget to experience the moments as you photograph them. After all, that’s what photography is about…capturing and sharing moments!
Megan is a photographer and blogger based in Kansas City. You can read more about her adventures at Crazy Bananas.