10 Quick, Easy and Intuitive Tips to Improve your Photography

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A Guest post by Amar Ramesh.

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Here’s my third instalment of quick tips to improve your photography.  They are easy and intuitive tips to help you focus on taking a great shot.  Keep these in mind when taking pictures to consistently improve your photography.  Soon they will be second nature to you. 

1. Show Action

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Use the shutter speed to your advantage and show action in your picture.  If you want to show your subject in motion, slow down your shutter speed.  For a clear crisp look at your subject in one moment of action, increase the shutter speed.

2. Into the Looking Glass

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Use reflective surfaces like  water, mirrors, polished surfaces, and glass around your subject to add interest.  Incorporating reflections will bring a whole new look to your shot.

3. High ISO in Low Light

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In low light conditions try to take advantage of the high ISO the latest cameras have to offer.  You can create dramatic pictures without using a flash.  Know your limitations though and beware of noise when you bump the ISO to a higher setting than your camera can handle.

4. Avoid Clichés

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When you are getting out your camera to photograph an icon, ask yourself “How can I make this my shot unique or different”?  Another version of the same shot that’s been taken by millions may not be worth the time. 

5. Focus it manually

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In situations where you are very close to the subject or there is very little light, the camera may have trouble auto focusing.  Help the camera and your photo by focusing the shot yourself with manual settings.  

6. Color creates Mood

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Use color to bring out the mood of the scene.  Watch the colors and lighting changes as the day progresses from dawn til dusk.  You’ll be amazed how fast the mood can swing. Use the picture style style in your camera to bump up the saturation and contrast to enhance the shot. 10 minutes earlier this shot would not have been so colorful.

7. Failure is an Option

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Don’t get frustrated when your end results don’t match your expectations.  One of the great advantages of digital photography is you did not loose much by trying except some time.  So embrace the uncertainty and take the shot.  You will learn equally from your trials and your triumphs. I had to take at least 50 shots to get this one. 

8. Down on Your Knees

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When shooting pictures of subjects lower to the ground, get down on your knees or even the floor to shoot your subject straight on.  Take pictures of kids at eye level.  Remember that taking the shot looking down on your subject is rarely the best perspective.

9. Panning is Cool

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Panning when done right always ends up looking great.  It’s a great way to show the motion of your subjects.  With a little practice, you can easily master this technique.

10. Patience is a Virtue

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Good things come to those who wait.  Wait for the perfect lighting.  Wait for the subject to move slightly to the left.  Wait for the bird to fly away.  Wait for the pinnacle moment.  Regardless of why you are waiting, patience is paramount to getting the best shot and it’s always worth it. 
 
Check out these links to catch the whole series.

 
As always don’t analyze just try it out. Next week I’ll add 10 more tips.  In the meantime, Keep Clicking!
 
Amar Ramesh is an emerging photographer from Redmond WA, USA.  Photography, to him is a passion with infinite opportunities and he loves to share the lessons and tips that he learned with others.  Please visit his Facebook Page for more.  He is also in Flickr|Twitter|Portfolio.

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  • Great tips! Thanks for posting. And, fantastic shots, too!

  • I’ve really been enjoying this series. Your photography is lovely, and your tips area solid.

    I’m glad that you included “Failure is an Option”. The only way to avoid failure is by not trying at all. It reminded me of the saying “Fail Harder”. Fail harder because you tried harder and your successes will be than much sweeter. Kinda sounds like a fortune cookie. That’s probably why I like it!

  • Scott

    Great article with great reminders. I think one of the most overlooked, because it’s not easy, is “Down on your knees”. A lower perspective is very often overlooked.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/4762696289/

  • Scott

    and one more well appreciated tip, the slightest bit of action adds a new dynamic to a photo.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/4875729393/

  • Thanks for the good tips.

  • Killian

    I had to giggle a little at the last one. It’s become a running joke in my family that they can take a snapshot, but that they will then wait for me to get mine. For example, I was shooting a wide angle shot of a church in Charleston, SC this weekend. I was across the street, and had to wait until there were NO cars, NO people, in the shot.

    I joke about the “dratted tourists” (yes, I am very aware of the irony there!) mucking up my shot, and will kiddingly heave big sighs when a car “dares” to drive through MY frame. =)

    It’s worth it, though, as I got some great shots this weekend, just being patient and waiting for that few second window when there is nothing in the shot but the object I want.

  • Thanks! These are great tips for a beginner like me who wants to move onto the next step!

  • oliverignacio

    I like #7.. LOL

  • sumalya basu

    excellent tips…thank you vey much…its been really helpful

  • Panning is something I have to catch up with. Great photo of the Servelo biker.

    The #7 is really a hit!

    Thanks!

  • I luv the panning photo, is there a tutorial on panning, id luv to try this technique
    , great 10 tips this round, always good advice on here

    mike

  • maurice

    WHY DONT YOU INCLUDE WHAT SHUTTER SPEEDS WERE USE FOR THE IMAGES.

  • I also had to laugh at the “patience is a virtue” tip. Photography is the only thing I seem to have patience for. You really do need it. Sometimes things happen as quickly as you can blink your eye, but more often it takes endless time and patience. Two photos of mine come to mind…my shot of a salmon jumping out of the ocean, and a great horned owlet spreading his wings. To catch the salmon jumping it meant sitting on the beach in freezing weather with my finger on the shutter for hours. For the owlet, I had my camera aimed at the treetop for hours before the owlet did something interesting…my neck sure hurt at the end of the day!
    [eimg link=’http://www.flickr.com/photos/peggycollins/3950828518/’ title=’Salmon Jumping in the Ocean’ url=’http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2552/3950828518_9c90d950d6.jpg’]

    Cheers, Peggy

  • yogesh bhat

    please explain little more about panning,,

  • Tiffany

    My very first post [eimg url=’http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs213.snc4/38969_149963021684197_110982905582209_490031_7156781_n.jpg’ title=’38969_149963021684197_110982905582209_490031_7156781_n.jpg’]

  • 4. Avoid Cliches…..I think “How can I make this image different to everyone else?” I see tonnes of images of greyhounds on the finish blocks….so I decided to talk to the course president and trackside (skytv) to gain access to the track…..and got this…

  • “As always don’t analyze just try it out.”

    That made me laugh. Here’s 10 tips, the series already has 30 tips, and next week I’ll give you10 more tips, but oh no ‘don’t analyze!’ Chuckle!

  • p

    thanks for the good tips… I’d love to learn more about panning

  • I’m a newbie photographer and this post will be a great guide for me to take better pictures eventhough I’m just using a Canon Powershot A480 digital camera. I think it’s not the camera that matters in taking good pictures, but it’s how the man behind the camera shot pictures.

  • Love this post. I specially enjoyed the one about avoiding cliches. At times, when I’m photographing planes landing or taking off, I feel like all I’m doing is photographing cliches.

  • Justo Joseph

    In Shot #7, how do people manage to take such shots… ?
    The water droplets will not hit the lense ?

    Last day I was taking photos in a B’day party… suddenly a guy took out a spray (a soap foam kind of thing) and started spreadign all over… i could only run away from that site.. nothing else to do…I love my lense more than the b;’day party..

    Please tell me how to take in such photos. Pls mail me @ justinnen@gmail.com

  • Great Article; many thanks.

  • AKC

    Hi Ramesh!
    Really practical and dow to earth tips.
    By the way what gear do you use?

  • gio odtuhan

    i think theres no such thing as photography rule to strictly follow.as long as you satisfied first you as a shooter because otherwise you won’t have the guts to show what you’ve got.

  • Always a great read. Thanks Eric

  • Neo

    Your Tips have been very helpful. If you check photos on my website, I used Sony HX1 camera and Sony H10.

    Thank you Darren.

  • Heba

    Your tips are so helpful and really easy to understand.
    Thank you.

Some Older Comments

  • Neo August 25, 2010 05:27 pm

    Your Tips have been very helpful. If you check photos on my website, I used Sony HX1 camera and Sony H10.

    Thank you Darren.

  • Eric Bouler August 21, 2010 01:01 pm

    Always a great read. Thanks Eric

  • gio odtuhan August 20, 2010 07:33 pm

    i think theres no such thing as photography rule to strictly follow.as long as you satisfied first you as a shooter because otherwise you won't have the guts to show what you've got.

  • AKC August 15, 2010 06:27 pm

    Hi Ramesh!
    Really practical and dow to earth tips.
    By the way what gear do you use?

  • DaveLissa August 15, 2010 03:26 am

    Great Article; many thanks.

  • Justo Joseph August 13, 2010 02:39 pm

    In Shot #7, how do people manage to take such shots... ?
    The water droplets will not hit the lense ?

    Last day I was taking photos in a B'day party... suddenly a guy took out a spray (a soap foam kind of thing) and started spreadign all over... i could only run away from that site.. nothing else to do...I love my lense more than the b;'day party..

    Please tell me how to take in such photos. Pls mail me @ justinnen@gmail.com

  • Rafael Marquez August 13, 2010 01:22 pm

    Love this post. I specially enjoyed the one about avoiding cliches. At times, when I'm photographing planes landing or taking off, I feel like all I'm doing is photographing cliches.

  • Eleazar August 13, 2010 12:35 pm

    I'm a newbie photographer and this post will be a great guide for me to take better pictures eventhough I'm just using a Canon Powershot A480 digital camera. I think it's not the camera that matters in taking good pictures, but it's how the man behind the camera shot pictures.

  • p August 13, 2010 12:15 pm

    thanks for the good tips... I'd love to learn more about panning

  • Jim-san August 13, 2010 11:09 am

    "As always don’t analyze just try it out."

    That made me laugh. Here's 10 tips, the series already has 30 tips, and next week I'll give you10 more tips, but oh no 'don't analyze!' Chuckle!

  • Eddie Griffiths August 13, 2010 04:22 am

    4. Avoid Cliches.....I think "How can I make this image different to everyone else?" I see tonnes of images of greyhounds on the finish blocks....so I decided to talk to the course president and trackside (skytv) to gain access to the track.....and got this...

  • Tiffany August 13, 2010 04:03 am

    My very first post [eimg url='http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs213.snc4/38969_149963021684197_110982905582209_490031_7156781_n.jpg' title='38969_149963021684197_110982905582209_490031_7156781_n.jpg']

  • yogesh bhat August 13, 2010 03:53 am

    please explain little more about panning,,

  • Peggy Collins August 13, 2010 03:13 am

    I also had to laugh at the "patience is a virtue" tip. Photography is the only thing I seem to have patience for. You really do need it. Sometimes things happen as quickly as you can blink your eye, but more often it takes endless time and patience. Two photos of mine come to mind...my shot of a salmon jumping out of the ocean, and a great horned owlet spreading his wings. To catch the salmon jumping it meant sitting on the beach in freezing weather with my finger on the shutter for hours. For the owlet, I had my camera aimed at the treetop for hours before the owlet did something interesting...my neck sure hurt at the end of the day!
    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/peggycollins/3950828518/' title='Salmon Jumping in the Ocean' url='http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2552/3950828518_9c90d950d6.jpg']

    Cheers, Peggy

  • maurice August 13, 2010 03:00 am

    WHY DONT YOU INCLUDE WHAT SHUTTER SPEEDS WERE USE FOR THE IMAGES.

  • mike graham August 13, 2010 02:03 am

    I luv the panning photo, is there a tutorial on panning, id luv to try this technique
    , great 10 tips this round, always good advice on here

    mike

  • Erik August 13, 2010 02:01 am

    Panning is something I have to catch up with. Great photo of the Servelo biker.

    The #7 is really a hit!

    Thanks!

  • sumalya basu August 12, 2010 10:52 pm

    excellent tips...thank you vey much...its been really helpful

  • oliverignacio August 10, 2010 02:00 pm

    I like #7.. LOL

  • Nichole August 10, 2010 12:04 pm

    Thanks! These are great tips for a beginner like me who wants to move onto the next step!

  • Killian August 10, 2010 04:31 am

    I had to giggle a little at the last one. It's become a running joke in my family that they can take a snapshot, but that they will then wait for me to get mine. For example, I was shooting a wide angle shot of a church in Charleston, SC this weekend. I was across the street, and had to wait until there were NO cars, NO people, in the shot.

    I joke about the "dratted tourists" (yes, I am very aware of the irony there!) mucking up my shot, and will kiddingly heave big sighs when a car "dares" to drive through MY frame. =)

    It's worth it, though, as I got some great shots this weekend, just being patient and waiting for that few second window when there is nothing in the shot but the object I want.

  • themisfit August 10, 2010 04:29 am

    Thanks for the good tips.

  • Scott August 10, 2010 03:13 am

    and one more well appreciated tip, the slightest bit of action adds a new dynamic to a photo.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/4875729393/

  • Scott August 10, 2010 02:55 am

    Great article with great reminders. I think one of the most overlooked, because it's not easy, is "Down on your knees". A lower perspective is very often overlooked.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/4762696289/

  • Kat Landreth August 10, 2010 02:02 am

    I've really been enjoying this series. Your photography is lovely, and your tips area solid.

    I'm glad that you included "Failure is an Option". The only way to avoid failure is by not trying at all. It reminded me of the saying "Fail Harder". Fail harder because you tried harder and your successes will be than much sweeter. Kinda sounds like a fortune cookie. That's probably why I like it!

  • Steve August 10, 2010 01:52 am

    Great tips! Thanks for posting. And, fantastic shots, too!

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