10 Favorite “Best Photo Tips”…. By You!

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The following post on The Great Photography Tips is by San Francisco based photographer Jim M. Goldstein. Learn more about him at the end of this post.

Eyeris by Jim Goldstein

When I posted The Best Photo Tip I Ever Received and turned the tables to ask what your best photo tip was I expected a few responses, but I was blown away by the response of 100 people. It just goes to show you that the collective knowledge of the photographic community should never be underestimated.

As a photographer it is extremely important to keep an open mind, seek out new knowledge and learn from others. In this point I know I’m preaching to the choir or else you wouldn’t be reading Digital Photography School. My point is that even those that write and post here at DPS have as much to learn from you as you from us. To take a little detour from my planned series of posts I wanted to point out my favorite “Best Photo Tips” by you the readers of DPS.

In no particular order they are…

  1. “Think BEFORE you press the shutter” – Fuzzy

  2. “Do you REALLY want a photo of this?” – Brian Rueb
    or
    “Would you put it on your wall?” – Chet
  3. “Light is EVERYTHING in photography” – Teineli
    similarly…
    “Don’t take photographs of subjects, take photographs of the light” – Cedric
    and very succinctly put…
    “Your photo will be no better than the quality of the light… if the light is mediocre, do not expect anything more than a mediocre photo” – GL

  4. “The difference between great photographers and a not so great photographers is that the great ones don’t show their crappy pictures.” – Bill Boem

  5. “K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Stupid” – Laura

  6. “Try to express your emotion in photo.” – Igor
  7. “It’s not the camera” – Smitty
  8. “Take notes on every shot – you will learn far more from your failures.” – D. T. North

  9. “Bring your camera with you.” – Sybren

  10. “Never stop learning.” – steaminhaggis

Honorable Mentions:

– “If it’s worth taking one photo of, it’s worth taking a whole roll of. ” – Dan Wolfgang

– “Know your gear” – Scott

– “Fill the frame.” – Tim

– “Stop reading – go shooting.” – UncleSam

To all that took the time to reply to the original post thanks and here’s to more great comments and conversations! If you didn’t yet add your best photography tip – feel free to do so in comments below or share some of your knowledge over in our digital photography forum.

This post was written by Jim M. Goldstein. Jim’s landscape, nature, travel and photojournalismphotography is featured on his web site JMG-Galleries.com, and blog. In addition Jim’s podcast “EXIF and Beyond” features photographer interviews and chronicles the creation of some of his images. In addition Jim can be followed on Twitter and FriendFeed.

Read more from our category

Jim Goldstein is a San Francisco based professional photographer. An author as well as a photographer Jim has been published in numerous publications including Outdoor Photographer, Digital Photo Pro, Popular Photography and has self-published a PDF eBook Photographing the 4th Dimension - Time covering numerous slow shutter techniques. His latest work and writing can be found on his JMG-Galleries blog and on 500px

  • Nice set of tips. Short and simple. Most of them come down to simple thinking carefully about what you doing. The more experience one has the more that will become second nature.

    Gav

  • On tip 9 by Sybren: “Take your camera with you”.

    It sounds so silly, but what a great tip to be reminded of all the time. I don’t know how many times I think, ‘what a great shot; if only I had my camera.’ I need to get in the habit of taking it with me to capture the moment when it happens.

  • Ty

    I suppose “know your gear” works. But I would recommend always checking your iso!

  • No. 9 – “Bring your camera with you” is the best. Can’t count the numbers of times I’ve said to myself.

    CK

  • Niaten

    “Try to express your emotion in photo.” – Igor SO hard to do but alwyas great result

  • Bruce

    Read your camera manual from start to finish. Then read it again.

  • Nann Hudson

    If I know the light is not good, the portrait will reflect not only bad or harsh lighting, but my lack of confidence in the shot. Most of my favorite portraits I felt great about through the lens before I pushed the button. Kind of zen, but true.

  • AC

    I am a big believer in #3, #7 and #9.

  • Arsh

    This was awesome. Very nice tips 😉

  • #2b: “Would you put it on your Wall?”

    Awesome tip that I often neglect. I think this one is most important when you’re going through your work flow. There are a ton of images in my queue that should’ve been deleted from my HD a long time ago, but haven’t been able to part with the images. After being reminded by that great tip, I just went through and deleted a good 15-20 images that I obviously would never put on my wall.

    JMG – It’s awesome to turn things over to this crowd every once in a while. It’s even more awesome that you acknowledged everyone’s incredible wisdom in such a post. Thanks for that.

  • mark

    I love “It is not the camera!”. i feel someone insults me by saying “Your pictures are great… you must have a good camera.”.
    One person said this to me just before we ate dinner. The dinner was great so I told her she must have a great stove!
    I think she was offended because I didn’t say she was a great cook. I don’t know why! 😛

  • Chris

    “The difference between great photographers and a not so great photographers is that the great ones don’t show their crappy pictures.” – Bill Boem

    Possibly the best advice really….
    I saw a bit of the programme about Anny lebovitz on iTV player, They showed her very early photos… they showed no crappy ones there 😉

  • Pay as much attention to the background as you do to the foreground.

  • Angela

    Yes, I feel that 8 and 9 are most important to me.

    When I look at my photographs I search for mistakes ot things I can avoid in future shots. t’s good to learn from mistakes. And comparing old photo’s to my new photos help me to see how much I’ve changed.

    And always bring your camera with you everywhere you go. I realized that at the most unexpected moments, I see a great picture. So I bring my camera and extra batteries with me everywhere.

  • Ken

    It´s not the camera, it´s the eye behind it…
    I´ve been to a couple of job interviewa where I have been asked how much my gear was worth??!! Dumb people really think a $10,000 camera is bound to take excellent photos compared to a lowly $1,000 one. Put that expensive camera on a table and watch it carefully…it won´t do squat till someone with some creativity and talent grabs it, if you have the eye you can catch a masterpiece on one of those disposable cardboard kodaks.
    It is sad but employers (the dumb ones) think expensive=quality
    pity they´re not willing to open their minds a bit.

  • Photo-a-Day challenge should be on the list.
    Tip 2, I’m not sure. I think it’s better not to edit yourself too much, especially when it comes to digital. You can sometimes take a photo that you think might not be that good, but you get surprised.

  • Lately I’m guided by this one: “decisive moments are everywhere. You just need to stop and wait for them”. This means that most of the time it doesn’t matter to search for a specific event to document. There are equivalent photography possibilities in apparently not so cool situation. Stop and wait. Study the scene, what happens, what moves, what doesn’t. The decisive moment will come at some point. Be ready!

  • only1cinn

    I say…”amen” to all these tips! Well said….and I would add just….enjoy yourself when you photograph…breathe in the moment, and shoot away!!!:)

  • I am along the lines with Bakari, I am still coming to terms with Photography and have taken many many photos of not good standard but for some reason I don’t delete them all. I find myself looking at them and finding one simple aspect in a bad photo and turn it into a piece of artwork using Photoshop CS3 which I am still learning

  • p.s oops forgot my tip, so to speak. There is a reason why you have chosen to take the photo, take several with different settings and “merge” the ones that are almost there noting the settings, the more you do it the more you learn, speaking as a beginner

  • I’ve been preaching #4 and #7 for years now and can only get a few to believe me. You don’t have to have a DSLR to take great photographs, and make each shot you choose to put online unique.

  • Mr Bach

    Shoot RAW, adjust the WB and/or color temperature, tweak the contrast, saturation, or EV, and sometimes the photo is fine as is.

    Oh, by the way, you don’t need an expensive DSLR. I’ve been shooting with fixed lens cameras for years, and have lots of tremendous photos I would put against any Nikon, Leica, or Hasselblad.

    Camera makers have the public duped into believing you need to drop a couple grand to have a good camera, when in fact, it’s the photographer who determines the quality of shot.

  • Nancy

    I recently read an article about photographing lightening storms but I can’t remember where or the “How to” part of it. Last night we had a gorgeous lightening display. Can anyone help with how to photograph it? Thanks, Nancy

  • Nancy

    agree with Polly K about not deleting. Many times after months I review and it helps me to see that I am making progress and to critique my own pics.

  • Pam

    I just finished a digital photo class at my local college and I have a decent camera. I would love to start making a little money or at least enter some contests to see if any of my pics are any good. My family, of course thinks they are good but I don’t get any WOWs. (But then, they don’t really care for the art I have hanging on the walls either and some of them are the ‘Greats’.)
    What is the best place to start to get some experience AND constructive feedback to boost my confidence?
    Thanks, any ideas are greatly appreciated

  • Here are some of ours:

    1. Does it tell a story? When you’re busy learning the technical stuff, sometimes you get so engrossed in it that you just miss the point entirely.

    2. It’s not your gear, it’s your eye. I know a few people who take photos with P&S cameras that could make DSLR users weep. Give your expensive little toys a break once in a while and take a walk with a cheap disposable camera.

    3. Read the manual. If I had a dollar for every photographer who didn’t read their camera’s manual, I’d have retired a long time ago.

  • Nice tips
    I wish you success , Continued to work .
    Thanks

  • rohit.p.toppo

    :)”SMILE…!!!” 😉

  • Take your camera with you always
    great tip.

  • “The difference between great photographers and a not so great photographers is that the great ones don’t show their crappy pictures.” – Bill Boem

    🙂 Made me laugh! a great post with lots of simple things to remember.

  • Ron Cornelison

    Number 4, how true!

    “The difference between great photographers and a not so great photographers is that the great ones don’t show their crappy pictures.” – Bill Boem

    At a retirement party for two friends, the planers did not arrange a photographer for the event. When they asked who had a camera and could take a few photos, I had my backup P&S in my pocket and said I would. Everyone loved the portraits taken at 5ft to15ft that I took of the people at the party. However when the plaque was awarded, I was seated and did not want to get in the middle of the ceremony taking photos, so I used the P&S zoom. Of course the results were less than great. To top things off one of those “zoom” shots I gave to the planner of the event was reprinted in the newsletter from the CD I gave her. Of course that poor capture is all anyone talked about. So lessons learned, don’t show your average shots to anyone. Be aware of your cameras limitations, work around them, and get close, get closer,

  • stuart barrett

    Nice comments there was another i often forget
    its better to take bad pictures than none at all.

  • Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is wonderful blog. An excellent read. I will certainly be back.

Some Older Comments

  • Noah Cratty June 6, 2013 09:05 am

    Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is wonderful blog. An excellent read. I will certainly be back.

  • stuart barrett March 27, 2013 07:40 am

    Nice comments there was another i often forget
    its better to take bad pictures than none at all.

  • Ron Cornelison November 26, 2009 06:05 am

    Number 4, how true!

    “The difference between great photographers and a not so great photographers is that the great ones don’t show their crappy pictures.” – Bill Boem

    At a retirement party for two friends, the planers did not arrange a photographer for the event. When they asked who had a camera and could take a few photos, I had my backup P&S in my pocket and said I would. Everyone loved the portraits taken at 5ft to15ft that I took of the people at the party. However when the plaque was awarded, I was seated and did not want to get in the middle of the ceremony taking photos, so I used the P&S zoom. Of course the results were less than great. To top things off one of those "zoom" shots I gave to the planner of the event was reprinted in the newsletter from the CD I gave her. Of course that poor capture is all anyone talked about. So lessons learned, don't show your average shots to anyone. Be aware of your cameras limitations, work around them, and get close, get closer,

  • Olivia Bell July 18, 2008 09:21 pm

    “The difference between great photographers and a not so great photographers is that the great ones don’t show their crappy pictures.” - Bill Boem

    :) Made me laugh! a great post with lots of simple things to remember.

  • sandra July 14, 2008 12:19 pm

    Take your camera with you always
    great tip.

  • rohit.p.toppo June 19, 2008 01:20 pm

    :)"SMILE...!!!" ;)

  • Sony Alphah June 17, 2008 02:42 pm

    Nice tips
    I wish you success , Continued to work .
    Thanks

  • Beyond Megapixels June 16, 2008 06:44 pm

    Here are some of ours:

    1. Does it tell a story? When you're busy learning the technical stuff, sometimes you get so engrossed in it that you just miss the point entirely.

    2. It's not your gear, it's your eye. I know a few people who take photos with P&S cameras that could make DSLR users weep. Give your expensive little toys a break once in a while and take a walk with a cheap disposable camera.

    3. Read the manual. If I had a dollar for every photographer who didn't read their camera's manual, I'd have retired a long time ago.

  • Pam June 16, 2008 09:30 am

    I just finished a digital photo class at my local college and I have a decent camera. I would love to start making a little money or at least enter some contests to see if any of my pics are any good. My family, of course thinks they are good but I don't get any WOWs. (But then, they don't really care for the art I have hanging on the walls either and some of them are the 'Greats'.)
    What is the best place to start to get some experience AND constructive feedback to boost my confidence?
    Thanks, any ideas are greatly appreciated

  • Nancy June 14, 2008 11:19 pm

    agree with Polly K about not deleting. Many times after months I review and it helps me to see that I am making progress and to critique my own pics.

  • Nancy June 14, 2008 11:17 pm

    I recently read an article about photographing lightening storms but I can't remember where or the "How to" part of it. Last night we had a gorgeous lightening display. Can anyone help with how to photograph it? Thanks, Nancy

  • Mr Bach June 14, 2008 10:54 am

    Shoot RAW, adjust the WB and/or color temperature, tweak the contrast, saturation, or EV, and sometimes the photo is fine as is.

    Oh, by the way, you don't need an expensive DSLR. I've been shooting with fixed lens cameras for years, and have lots of tremendous photos I would put against any Nikon, Leica, or Hasselblad.

    Camera makers have the public duped into believing you need to drop a couple grand to have a good camera, when in fact, it's the photographer who determines the quality of shot.

  • Suzanne June 14, 2008 09:51 am

    I've been preaching #4 and #7 for years now and can only get a few to believe me. You don't have to have a DSLR to take great photographs, and make each shot you choose to put online unique.

  • PollyK June 14, 2008 08:04 am

    p.s oops forgot my tip, so to speak. There is a reason why you have chosen to take the photo, take several with different settings and "merge" the ones that are almost there noting the settings, the more you do it the more you learn, speaking as a beginner

  • PollyK June 14, 2008 07:48 am

    I am along the lines with Bakari, I am still coming to terms with Photography and have taken many many photos of not good standard but for some reason I don't delete them all. I find myself looking at them and finding one simple aspect in a bad photo and turn it into a piece of artwork using Photoshop CS3 which I am still learning

  • only1cinn June 14, 2008 04:16 am

    I say..."amen" to all these tips! Well said....and I would add just....enjoy yourself when you photograph...breathe in the moment, and shoot away!!!:)

  • Reborg June 14, 2008 03:53 am

    Lately I'm guided by this one: "decisive moments are everywhere. You just need to stop and wait for them". This means that most of the time it doesn't matter to search for a specific event to document. There are equivalent photography possibilities in apparently not so cool situation. Stop and wait. Study the scene, what happens, what moves, what doesn't. The decisive moment will come at some point. Be ready!

  • Bakari June 14, 2008 02:26 am

    Photo-a-Day challenge should be on the list.
    Tip 2, I'm not sure. I think it's better not to edit yourself too much, especially when it comes to digital. You can sometimes take a photo that you think might not be that good, but you get surprised.

  • Ken June 14, 2008 12:57 am

    It´s not the camera, it´s the eye behind it...
    I´ve been to a couple of job interviewa where I have been asked how much my gear was worth??!! Dumb people really think a $10,000 camera is bound to take excellent photos compared to a lowly $1,000 one. Put that expensive camera on a table and watch it carefully...it won´t do squat till someone with some creativity and talent grabs it, if you have the eye you can catch a masterpiece on one of those disposable cardboard kodaks.
    It is sad but employers (the dumb ones) think expensive=quality
    pity they´re not willing to open their minds a bit.

  • Angela June 13, 2008 11:09 pm

    Yes, I feel that 8 and 9 are most important to me.

    When I look at my photographs I search for mistakes ot things I can avoid in future shots. t's good to learn from mistakes. And comparing old photo's to my new photos help me to see how much I've changed.

    And always bring your camera with you everywhere you go. I realized that at the most unexpected moments, I see a great picture. So I bring my camera and extra batteries with me everywhere.

  • Richard June 13, 2008 09:02 pm

    Pay as much attention to the background as you do to the foreground.

  • Chris June 13, 2008 08:01 pm

    “The difference between great photographers and a not so great photographers is that the great ones don’t show their crappy pictures.” - Bill Boem

    Possibly the best advice really....
    I saw a bit of the programme about Anny lebovitz on iTV player, They showed her very early photos... they showed no crappy ones there ;)

  • mark June 13, 2008 02:57 pm

    I love "It is not the camera!". i feel someone insults me by saying "Your pictures are great... you must have a good camera.".
    One person said this to me just before we ate dinner. The dinner was great so I told her she must have a great stove!
    I think she was offended because I didn't say she was a great cook. I don't know why! :-P

  • D. T. North June 13, 2008 02:53 pm

    #2b: "Would you put it on your Wall?"

    Awesome tip that I often neglect. I think this one is most important when you're going through your work flow. There are a ton of images in my queue that should've been deleted from my HD a long time ago, but haven't been able to part with the images. After being reminded by that great tip, I just went through and deleted a good 15-20 images that I obviously would never put on my wall.

    JMG - It's awesome to turn things over to this crowd every once in a while. It's even more awesome that you acknowledged everyone's incredible wisdom in such a post. Thanks for that.

  • Arsh June 13, 2008 11:41 am

    This was awesome. Very nice tips ;)

  • AC June 13, 2008 10:13 am

    I am a big believer in #3, #7 and #9.

  • Nann Hudson June 13, 2008 10:03 am

    If I know the light is not good, the portrait will reflect not only bad or harsh lighting, but my lack of confidence in the shot. Most of my favorite portraits I felt great about through the lens before I pushed the button. Kind of zen, but true.

  • Bruce June 13, 2008 09:26 am

    Read your camera manual from start to finish. Then read it again.

  • Niaten June 13, 2008 06:49 am

    “Try to express your emotion in photo.” - Igor SO hard to do but alwyas great result

  • Crazykinux June 13, 2008 05:27 am

    No. 9 - "Bring your camera with you" is the best. Can't count the numbers of times I've said to myself.

    CK

  • Ty June 13, 2008 04:52 am

    I suppose "know your gear" works. But I would recommend always checking your iso!

  • Jess Stratton June 13, 2008 01:15 am

    On tip 9 by Sybren: "Take your camera with you".

    It sounds so silly, but what a great tip to be reminded of all the time. I don't know how many times I think, 'what a great shot; if only I had my camera.' I need to get in the habit of taking it with me to capture the moment when it happens.

  • Seim Effects June 13, 2008 01:14 am

    Nice set of tips. Short and simple. Most of them come down to simple thinking carefully about what you doing. The more experience one has the more that will become second nature.

    Gav

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