Have you ever wondered what makes a professional photographer’s pictures look so good and yours look, well, just OK? For starters, professional photographers only show you the best of the best from their collection of thousands of images. But, how do they capture that moment almost perfectly? Here are some tips to help you go from “amateur” to “amazing”.


The most important part of your image should be in the center of the frame, right? WRONG. Always compose shots using the rule of thirds. This allows for a balanced composition, provides visual interest, and leads the viewer where you want them to look. Here are some examples.

In this image of this little girl playing with a camera, notice how placing her where these lines intersect allows us to have room to the left to get a sense of what she is looking at.

And in this image of a horizon and sunset, notice the placement of the horizon line along that top third line and how the dock leads right to where the top and right third lines intersect.


Don’t just point and shoot. Consider your lighting when you frame a shot. I am not suggesting you need to have expensive light kits and reflectors. I am recommending that you position yourself or your subjects (or both) so that the light is as flattering and as soft as possible. Shooting outdoors at high noon is guaranteed to give you harsh, unflattering light. Shooting with your light source behind the subject will cause your subject to be “backlit” making for a not-so-great result. Here’s a better example. The light is softened, the light source is BEHIND the camera and facing the subject, and it’s a nice result.


Avoid high-contrast and cluttered backgrounds. This can pull the attention away from your subject. Backgrounds should be soft and unobtrusive. Make sure there are no unintended visual elements, like a stick or branch seemingly growing out of someone’s head. Keep the background clean and simple. Sometimes it’s as easy as moving over a step or two, or asking your subject to step to the left or right.

So those are just a few examples of how simple changes can improve your snaps. Experiment with these tips and stretch your abilities as a photographer!

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