Everyone wants to take better pictures. However, most of us aren’t willing to put in the long hours of practice and self guided study that it takes to become a professional photographer. Luckily, there are a few things that beginners can do to improve. Rachel Gulotta and Daniel Inskeep of Mango Street Lab review some simple steps anyone can take to become a better photographer:
1. Keep a level horizon.
We’re naturally attracted to symmetry. Because of this, an uneven horizon can be extremely off-putting. Luckily, you can fix horizon lines instantaneously in post.
2. Be mindful of your focal point.
It may sound obvious, but it’s important to focus on…well, the details you want your viewer to focus on. With portraiture, the eyes usually make a good focal point.
3. Avoid cutting off limbs at the joint.
It’s simply bad composition and makes your subjects look awkward.
4. Think about your composition.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t deviate from the rule of thirds. Think about interesting ways you might be able to lead your viewer’s eye through an image.
5. Don’t go overboard in post.
Conversely, don’t under edit your photographs. Both come off as amateur.
6. Stay away from tungsten lighting.
Nine times out of 10, natural daylight is going to provide a more flattering, better lit image.
7. Learn the ins and outs of your lighting gear.
Even if you don’t enjoy using natural light, it’s important to understand how lighting from a certain angle or distance can affect the look of a subject.
8. Consider what you’d like to communicate.
A photograph with purpose is almost always a strong photograph.
9. Do your best to bring out emotion.
When starting out, don’t rely on crazy makeup, hair, or props to create an eye catching photo. Instead, interact with models and try to communicate feelings through expression and body language.
10. Don’t copy your idols.
Having inspiration to work with is great, but at the end of the day, you’re your own person. Strive to do something different.
Though some of these may seem like no brainers, each piece of advice can be boiled down to one universal sentiment: be mindful of what you’re doing. Pay attention to details, and never stop looking for ways of strengthening a shot. If you stay true to your taste and keep an open, active mind, you’ll surely see improvements in the images you make.
“Photography is an art, so there are, of course, exceptions to the rules. However, we do believe that if you heed our advice, you will instantly up your photography game.”
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