Game changing techniques to improve your photography
Are you looking to raise your game? To improve your photography and it to the next level?
Do you look at other photographers’ images and think “why do their photos look better than mine?”
Are you looking for the secret sauce to improve your photography so you, too, can make professional looking images?
Like all things in life, if you want a different outcome, you have to do something different. Invariably that means stepping outside your comfort zone and trying new ideas and techniques. Photography is no different. I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve met who’ve told me they upgraded to a full-frame DSLR only to be disappointed because their photographs looked exactly the same on the new camera as they did on the old one. There’s a reason for that: it’s because they’re using it in exactly the same way.
The photographer makes the image, the camera merely records it.
That’s important so I’m going to say it again as a tweetable quote I want you to share:
The photographer makes the image, the camera merely records it -- #photography #quote Click To Tweet
To make better images, start using your camera better
There are lots of things you can do to improve your photography that don’t involve buying any extra kit, whizzy techniques or photoshop prowess. They’re all very straightforward, obvious once you know how and extremely easy to implement. To help you I’ve put together a list of simple things you can do, today, to raise your game and improve your photography. They’re all info nuggets I’ve picked up over the years and now use every day. Some have an immediate effect and some take a little while to gestate.
Together they all add up to the secret sauce that helped me raise my game and I’m sure they will for you too.
1 — Always set your white balance
One of the distinguishing differences between a pro and an amateur is good colour. Yes, I know you can deal with it in post but if you take the time to set your camera up, you’ll make better images
2 — Simplify, simplify, simplify
Keep your images clean and simply. Everything in the frame should be there for a reason. If it’s a distraction or doesn’t belong don’t include it.
3 — Watch your background
The background will make or break your image. Look after it and it’ll look after you. Ignore it and it’ll ruin your image
4 — Obey and use the rules of composition
Unless you really know what you’re doing, don’t try to break the rules of composition. They’re there for a reason. Learn them and use them or break them at your peril.
5 — The Light Matters!!!
Learn to find and see good light. Be aware of it, use it and manipulate it.
6 — The Light Matters!!!
Learn to recognise bad light. Learn how to avoid it, how to use it, modify it and manipulate it to create better images.
7 — What’s the story?
Learn the difference between snapping, documenting and telling a story. Remember, the goal of a stills photographer is to expand time for the viewer. If you can’t explain what it is or why you’re photographing it, maybe it’s not worth photographing.
8 — One AF point is enough
Take control of your autofocus. Switch to a single AF point and move it around as necessary. (See this article: )
9 — Stop reading photography magazines
Why? Most of them just encourage you to buy more kit. Photography isn’t about collecting equipment, it’s about making images. Read more books on improving technique, composition and anything else that captures your imagination or be that guy with all the gear and no idea.
10 — Make time to make images
The most common problem people have is no time for their photography. If you want to get better you’re going to have to make more time. Remember: “I don’t have time for photography” is an excuse because it’s not high enough priority for you; it’s not a reason. (See this article: )
11 — Learn to see images everywhere
Great images are everywhere. You just need to learn to see them. Work on developing your photographer’s eye to find, see and compose photos that others overlook. (Shameless plug: get my free “Learn to See” e-course here: )
12 — Don’t be afraid to try new things
If you want a different result, you have to do things differently. Play with different camera settings, different points of view and different techniques. See what works and what doesn’t. Step outside your comfort zone and have fun. Remember: if you always do what you’ve always done then you’ll always get what you’ve always got.
13 — Work the subject
Most subjects have more than one great image. Work it. Start wide and move in working every angle and perspective you can think of. Then shoot the details and finish up with some abstracts.
14 — Only show your very best work
If you don’t like a photo enough to frame it and mount it on your wall, nobody else will.
15 — Use the right camera mode
Firstly, forget all the crap you read on the internet about only ever using manual mode. It’s utter rubbish. Yes, manual mode is good because it gives you complete control but for most situations you really don’t need it. Instead, switch to Aperture Priority mode. It gives you far more control than fully automatic and “P” mode and still works out the correct exposure for you. To learn more, see this article: What is Aperture Priority and when should I use it?
16 — Above all, have fun
Photography is fun. Enjoy it. If you’re not rushing home after every shoot to post process your images, maybe you’re not enjoying it or need to find better subject matter?
I’m a firm believer that if you’re not having fun, you can’t make great images.
Over to you 🙂
All these tips are very easy to implement. They’re not rocket science. You don’t need a pro-spec camera body, whizzy features or any more equipment to implement them. They have nothing to do with fancy techniques or photoshop skills. Anyone can implement them because they either affect how you use technology camera or how you compose the image. Furthermore, they’re applicable to almost any DSLR or compact camera and even some mobile phones.
Now, what I’d like you to do is pick one you’re going to implement, it doesn’t matter which. Leave a comment below to let me know which one you’ve chosen.