Want To Take Better Photographs?
Today I’m sharing my tips and tricks on how to take better photographs. I’m no photo expert, but I’ll share what I’ve learned. By the way, all the photos in this post were taken by my iPhone.
I’ve had several people request a post on how to take better photos. This has been a self-teaching thing for me. I normally shoot with a DSLR camera which means it’s a digital camera I can switch the lenses out on and manually set up the shot. On my home decor posts I never shoot anything in “auto”. I might write a post in the future about how to take better pictures with a DSLR camera, but for now I wanted to give you my basic tips you can use even with your iPhone.
Tip 1: Use Editing Software/Apps
I’m not an expert on the best apps to use to edit your photos. I don’t know that one is really better than any other. Even using the editing options on your phone will take your picture up a notch. The photo on the left is “straight out of camera” (SOC) and the photo on the right is the same picture with some minor edits done to it.
Big difference right? Almost every camera has a hard time capturing white correctly. Most of the time photos will come out looking too yellow, even when photographing people. You can correct this by “cooling” down the photo in the photo edit app or software. In the above photo I cooled the tone down bit by taking out some of the yellow. Then, I corrected the white balance again using the apps suggestion. It’s really just the tap of a few buttons and the photo magically appears like a real photographer took it. I use Lightroom for editing photos and usually am pretty happy letting the app choose the correct white balance. Finally, I went in and clarified the photo a little making it look more crisp.
Tip 2: Natural Light is your BFF most of the time
Whenever I am photographing anything home decor I use the natural light available to me. I don’t turn on the overhead lights at all because they tend to cast a hue on the photograph and add shadows that make it really hard to correct later. There’s a problem with this though…what if you are photographing something that doesn’t have much light? Like a dark part of your house?
Again, use the natural light you do have. Here is an example.
This photo was taken in the darkest part of my house…there are no windows in my dining room. Here is what it looked like when I took the photo.
Because I didn’t turn on any overhead lights, I can go in and edit this photo while maintaining the colors in the photo. With overhead lighting, I would have lost some of the color variation.
Not too bad for the darkest part of my home with an iPhone. Besides using natural light, it is important to know where your light is coming from. If you try to take a picture with a bright window in the background or the sunshine hitting your subject in the back, you’ll be left with a shadow over your subject. Case in point.
Neither of the following photos were edited at all. They are both SOC.
This first photo was taken shooting toward the window which caused a shadow to fall on my subject (this works with people too).
The second one was taken using the light of the window without shooting directly into it. I prefer this type of shot set-up. I think it gives interest to a picture to play with darker and lighter in one image.
Tip 3: Get Close and Personal
We all like to see the pulled back version of a room just to get an idea of what it looks like in relation to other pieces. Take that shot…but then get personal with the details. We naturally look for interesting…we want a photo to captivate us. Look what a little cropping can do. This is my little Luke when he was a wee babe. The first photo is cute…for sure. But the second captures him for me just with a little cropping.
Tip 4: Experiment with Point of View
This is just a fancy way of suggesting you shoot your subject from different angles. A straight on shot can be powerful for a vignette, while an angled shot can be just right. I even experiment with shooting at eye level, tummy level, and even knee level pointing up toward my subject. Sometimes just that little bit of change can make a real difference in your ability to take a better photo.
These are my four best tips for how to take a better photo. If you really want to make your phone work for you, check out the awesome videos the nice people at Apple put online. I learned some new things including that I need to trade in my iPhone6s for a newer model with all the bells and whistles.
Have an awesome day my friends! I’ll see you back here on Thursday for a sweet makeover. You’ll never believe how this thrifted urn turned out. I can’t wait to show you!