You might think great photography is all about the camera you use, the lens you choose or the editing you do.
While toys and tools can be beneficial (and fun!), you don’t need to go out and buy a new camera in hopes of improving your photographs.
Start with implementing a few of these tips.
Photo Tip 1: PUT THE LIGHT BEHIND THE CAMERA
When in doubt, put the light behind the camera. As in, be in the shade but with your subject facing the light.
Inside your house? Use a window to create good light. Stand with the window behind the camera and the subject facing the window.
Outside? Stand under a tree (diffusing the harshness of the sunlight!) with your back to the yard and the subject facing the yard.
Now, full disclosure, my next tip will be to put the light behind the subject, so there’s always an exception to every rule.
The underlying goal is to know your light and know what will work best in your circumstances.
Photo Tip 2: PUT THE LIGHT BEHIND THE SUBJECT.
Remember how I said in my last tip that I was about to contradict myself? Yup, here we go.
In photography, the goal is to know the rules so you can break the rules.
I repeat: KNOW the rules so you can BREAK the rules.
Fun fact: I am hard-core a rule follower so if you are hearing from me to break the rules, you KNOW I believe that’s the most important rule.
See, putting the light source behind you is great for solid photos and is essential for indoor photography or if you’re trying to minimize wrinkles (uh huh, that’s your pro tip: softer light means fewer visible wrinkles), but for truly magical photos I believe the key is backlight.
Sometimes the backlight is creating a dramatic magic like during this mountain top sunrise, but sometimes the backlight is just softly kissing the back of your head for a warm glow of happy definition.
But ultimately the key is to know your light and make intentional decisions about what you’re doing with the light.
Photo Tip 3: MOVE YOUR FEET
Some photos are, admittedly, about being in the right place at the right time. Like on a mountaintop at sunrise as a backpacker crosses the stream.
But other photos are about creating the right place at the right time.
The principle stands: move your feet! You may not be able to hike a mountain for sunrise but you can move forward in a crowd to photograph Niagara Falls without the fence in the photo.
No zoom lens or fancy camera or radical preset can make up for a sloppy composition or lazy photographer. Move a few steps toward your subject, or a few steps to the right/left. Know what you want in the frame and move a few steps to get it.
Photo Tip 4: KNOW YOUR CAMERA.
Your camera is going to take fine pictures no matter what you do, BUT here’s the thing: YOU ARE SMARTER THAN YOUR CAMERA (sit on that for a minute: you are smarter than a computer!). You just need to KNOW how to speak its language and what settings to experiment with so that you can photograph the moment you want to remember.
Maybe that means exploring portrait mode or maybe you should tap to expose or maybe you just need to know how to turn off (or on!) the flash.
I can teach you more in my course “Take Excellent Photos with Your Phone”—start to finish, including footage from an actual shoot, I will show you how to take amazing photos that you’ll be proud to print and enjoy for years to come.