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10 Beginner Tips for Creating Beautiful Images Without an Expensive Camera

Beautiful-Images-Without-an-Expensive-Camera

I can’t take beautiful pictures because I have a basic entry-level camera.

My pictures are not looking great, it’s time that I should upgrade to the higher version of the camera.

My images aren’t looking excellent, ummm! I think it is because my camera is not full frame, does not have a high dynamic range and high ISO capability.

I am not getting beautiful images with my DSLR, I should upgrade to Mirrorless camera.

Does this sound familiar to you? Are these types of thoughts stopping you from making great pictures?

Well, I have good news for you.

I am going to show you the exact photography techniques that I use to create beautiful images without an expensive camera.

And the best part is…

These proven techniques work great with any type of camera, such as entry-level DSLR, Mirrorless, and so on.

You can start using these techniques to create beautiful images right away.

Let’s get started.

Here are 10 tips for creating beautiful images without an expensive camera

  1. Rule of thirds
  2. Golden Spiral
  3. Color wheel – choosing opposite colors
  4. Including the foreground object
  5. Patterns
  6. Symmetry
  7. Leading lines
  8. Negative space
  9. Rule of odds
  10. Including the frame

1. Rule of thirds

Let’s start with one of the fundamental ‘rules’ in photography – the Rule of Thirds.

Refer to the image below.

Image: Rule of Thirds – Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher

Rule of Thirds – Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher

 

In this image, the Kingfisher is the main object; hence, I have placed the Kingfisher at the line of intersection.

Divide the frame into nine parts by using two horizontal and vertical lines. Horizontal and vertical lines intersect at four points.

When you are composing the picture, position the main object on a point where horizontal and vertical lines intersect.

If there is a secondary object in an image, try to compose the secondary object where the line intersects.

Note – In your camera, turn the Grid option on. This will enable the Grid display while you photograph your image.

Rule of Thirds will improve your composition significantly and will significantly impact the visual appeal of your image.

2. Golden spiral

The golden spiral (or Golden ratio, Fibonacci spiral or ratio) is a composition technique based on the Fibonacci series. It has been in use from ancient times in arts, sculptures, and architecture. The golden spiral technique is useful in creating beautiful and pleasing compositions in photography, as well.

Check out the below Spiral (Golden Spiral)

Image: Golden Spiral – Crab on the tree

Golden Spiral – Crab on the tree

The main object here is the crab. Hence, I have positioned the crab where the spiral converges.

Place the main object at the smallest rectangle/square. Place the secondary supporting object along with the other rectangles. Try to place the other objects on the spiral curve. The Golden Spiral composition technique will be useful for you to create eye-pleasing compositions.

3. Color wheel

Check out the basic color wheel.

Image: Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

For example – red and green or violet and yellow are opposing colors.

One of the best ways to pop up the color in your image is to look for objects with opposing colors. Also, include objects with contrasting colors.

When you include the two opposing colors in an image, the image will look beautiful. This technique you can try with common objects as well. Instead of making an image of everyday objects as it is, photograph the common objects against an opposite-colored background or surroundings.

Here is an image of Red Munia.

Image: Color Wheel – Red Munia bird against green grass

Color Wheel – Red Munia bird against green grass

I had an option to photograph the Red Munia against yellowish-white flowers, blue water of the lake, and green grass. I changed my position to photograph the Red Munia against the green grass.

Here is one more example.

Beautiful-Images-Without-an-Expensive-Camera

Color Wheel – Corynandra flower with yellow and violet color.

 

This is a close-up image of a flower.

At the center of the flower, the color is yellow, whereas the surroundings (stamens) are of violet color. Yellow and violet are the opposite colors on the color wheel. Learn more about color in our Mastering Color Series.

4. Include the foreground object

Beautiful-Images-Without-an-Expensive-Camera

Foreground object – Waterfall and the rocks.

 

Apart from the main object and background, the foreground is an essential part of the image too. Adding a foreground object will give depth to your picture – especially landscape and cityscape images.

In general, most of the images in which we click have the main object and background as a part of an image. Include the object in the foreground. It will add depth to the picture.

An image is two-dimensional. Adding an interesting foreground object will make the image feel more three-dimensional because of the depth.

In the image of a waterfall, I have included rocks in the foreground. Foreground rocks add depth to the picture. Without a foreground object, the waterfall image would have been appeared flat.

5. Patterns

Beautiful-Images-Without-an-Expensive-Camera

An image showing patterns in the rice field.

Image: Patterns of the Utricularia flowers

Patterns of the Utricularia flowers

 

In the first image, I photographed the paddy field during the rainy season. Instead of taking a general view of the rice field, I focussed on the repeating pattern of the rice field.

The second image is of the Utricularia flower, whose flowers bloom during monsoon season. I have photographed the flower from the top. There colors and shape of the flower is repeating in the pattern.

Patterns are a repetition of objects, shapes, or colors. While you are photographing outdoors, you will always find patterns.

There are two effective ways to shoot patterns

1. Photograph a uniform pattern of the objects or shapes

  • Flowers of similar shape and color
  • Historical monuments
  • Farmlands
  • Raindrops
  • People with similar uniform and position
  • Festival images
  • Wildlife moving in the herd such as Zebra, Elephant, Deers and birds

2. Photograph a uniform pattern along with the object which is breaking that pattern

  • Flowers with similar shape and colors along with the flower of different color or cactus
  • Wildlife moving in a herd with one or another different animal or animal moving in the opposite direction

Photographing a similar pattern adds uniformity to the image, whereas, an object breaking a uniform pattern makes the image dynamic.

6. Symmetry

Image: Symmetry of the Hornbills.

Symmetry of the Hornbills.

 

This image is of Malabar Pied Hornbills during the bunting season. Shown here is a male and female hornbill. I was observing the hornbills for some time before taking a photo. As soon as their beaks lined up and both of them appeared in symmetry, I pressed the shutter.

Symmetrical composition is a beautiful way to photograph an object. You can photograph symmetrical objects, reflections in the water, or symmetrical position of the object.

For symmetrical composition, you can choose the main object to be at the center. Keeping the line of symmetry at the center of the frame will make the image symmetries well-balanced.

7. Leading lines

Composition with the main object and leading lines makes for a powerful image. While photographing the main object, use a line that is directing towards it. The leading lines can be streets, compound walls, floors, stairs, trees, or any objects which form a leading line towards your main object.

Image: Leading Lines – Man walking on the road.

Leading Lines – Man walking on the road.

 

In this image, the main subject is a lonely man walking. The leading lines I have used are flowers and the road. This type of composition will have your attention as these leading lines will point your eyes towards the lonely man.

8. Negative space

Beautiful-Images-Without-an-Expensive-Camera

An example of negative Space – Sunbird

Beautiful-Images-Without-an-Expensive-Camera

Negative Space – Sitana Lizard running

 

In the first image, there is empty space in which the sunbird is looking. With the second image, there is space in the direction of the movement of the lizard.

In your images, look where the main object is moving and leave some space in that area. Alternatively, leave some space in the direction they are looking toward. This space is called negative space. Composing with negative space can make for very effective compositions.

You can apply negative space to a wide variety of images too. You can use it for portraits, wildlife, birds, automobiles, cityscapes, etc.

9. Rule of odds

Image: Rule of Odds – Three Chinkaras

Rule of Odds – Three Chinkaras

 

While you compose an image, try to include an odd number of elements in the frame. An odd number of objects can be three, five or seven, etc. With an odd number of objects, the image becomes harmonized and balanced.

On the other hand, an even quantity of objects can add a sense of comparison.

It is not a rule. Still, we perceive images with an odd number of objects as balanced as compared to that of an even number of objects.

In this image of Chinkara, instead of photographing from eye level, I shot the image from a low level. This helped to get the foreground in the picture. Three Chinkaras were moving around. I waited for some time until three of them looked in the same direction. I pressed the shutter as soon as three of them appeared.

With three Chinkaras (an odd number of objects), the image looks balanced.

10. Including the frame

Beautiful-Images-Without-an-Expensive-Camera

Frame – Spotted Deer in the forest.

 

The frame around the main subject adds depth to the image, driving the viewer’s attention towards it. The main object, along with a frame, gives perspective to the picture.

When you photograph an object, compose a frame in the foreground. Include the frame entirely or partially. Both techniques work well. Some of the frames which you can include are tree branches, forest, windows, car windows, architectural buildings, and flowers.

This deer showed up during the beautiful misty morning in the forest. With sunlight in the background, I tried to include forests in the foreground as a partial frame.

A subtle forest frame in the foreground and partially bright sunlight in the background brings this image alive!

Now it’s your turn

I hope these photography techniques will help you to create beautiful images without an expensive camera. Of course, some of these photography “rules” can be broken.

Now I would like to hear from you.

Which of the techniques are you going to try first? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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Shreyas Yadav
Shreyas Yadav

is an engineer, wildlife photographer, and nature photographer from India. He is also a writer and lifelong adventure explorer. Through his writings, he teaches about digital post-processing and nature photography. He shares field techniques about nature photography, post-processing, and wildlife photo stories on his website.