7 Tips on How To Take Better Photos

I'm not an expert in the world of photography. I still have a lot of learning to do but here are a few things I know that may help you take better photos whether it be for Instagram, your website/blog or heck, even for Facebook! In this digital era, it is important that we put out GOOD pictures, if not the BEST! 

Photo taken by: Jorge Suarez

Photo taken by: Jorge Suarez

1. INVEST IN A GOOD CAMERA

It is very true that you don't need an expensive camera to be able to take great pictures, but you still however, do need a GOOD quality camera and sometimes, you just have to go that extra mile and invest to get better results. It doesn't necessarily mean you have to own a DSLR! In this digital age, more and more brands come out with good quality cameras without taking a huge chunk of your money. Just know what you'll need it for then you can move on from there.

Example: I need a camera for blogging and most of the time, I just use my iPhone 5s for photos because I find that I get decent blog photos out of it. I don't find the need to bring out my huge DSLR to take a photo of my makeup haul; but if I want more depth of field or if I want to show more details in my photos, that's when I'll use the DSLR. 

2. KNOW YOUR SETTINGS

Whether you're using a DSLR, a smart phone, a point-and-shoot, or even a Fujifilm Instax, it's very important to know your shooting settings! Did the photo come out over-exposed? Adjust your ISO or your aperture. Did your photo come out too blue or too warm? Adjust the white balance of your camera. Are you indoor or outdoor? Are you shooting a moving subject? Make sure you have the correct settings for every photo you take. It doesn't hurt to experiment though.

Example: I like the look of warm photos so sometimes, I adjust my white balance to CLOUDY to have that creamy effect. 

Correct WB Setting

Correct WB Setting

Cloudy WB Setting

Cloudy WB Setting

But, when all else fails, there's no shame in using AUTO on everything. HAHA.

3. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE PROPER LIGHTING

Lighting is one of the most important things you need to remember when taking a photo. Light will be your best friend on photo shoots! To achieve the best results for a portrait, make sure your subject is well-lit and keep in mind that harsh lighting is not flattering! Know what works for the purpose of your photo. When you're shooting outdoors, you will encounter different light settings so know how to work with it.

Example: Is the sun making your subject squint? Make them turn their backs to the sun! Contrary to the *it's against the light!* saying, doing this will not only help your subjects to actually look at the camera, but also, this will give your subjects even skin tones! Shadows can make or break a photograph.

these photos were taken on the same day with same light and camera settings
Facing the light

Facing the light

Against the light

Against the light

Your lighting creates different moods so know what you want for your photo and use the light to your advantage!

4. PRACTICE ON YOUR COMPOSITION

Although there are general rules, there is no right or wrong way in photo composition. It's all about experimenting and making sure you are able to capture the subject in YOUR best way possible. Just keep practicing. Does it look better from a bird's eye point of view? Do you want your subject to look taller? Do you like putting your subject in the center? It's all about showing your audience YOUR perspective!

Here's a link to help you with your composition: 10 Rules of Photo Composition 

5. POST-PROCESSING IS IMPORTANT

I'm not asking you to photoshop the crap out of your pictures. All I'm saying is, our photos need a little tweaking here and there, not that they're NOT already great! I just honestly think that post-processing makes pictures look more put-together, cleaner, and just more legit. We can't get left behind! Always strive for BETTER!

Example: See how my skin tones look more even in the second photo, my teeth look whiter and well, my eyes are brighter, haha! (Photos taken by: Jorge Suarez)

raw

raw

Processed in lightroom 5 with vsco film 1

Processed in lightroom 5 with vsco film 1

Post-processing is important, but remember, over-editing isn't good! I've learned my lesson! I used to (ab)use Afterlight and Mextures to add textures and filters to my photos and OMG, they look so terrible to me now! I thought it was so awesome before. HAHA. And people, please do not abuse the blur feature on Instagram unless it can really add depth to your photos! If it blurs out the main focus of the photo, then what's the point of the photo?! Blurring the edges of your iPhone picture doesn't make it look like it was taken with a DSLR! Trust me, I used to do that too!

6. KEEP YOURSELF INSPIRED

There are so many ways to keep yourself inspired nowadays. For me, Instagram is one of my main sources of inspiration. It's where I discover different styles from different photographers; from the way they compose their pictures to the style of their editing. We should always try to keep learning new techniques, and different ways on how to take better pictures. Having constant inspiration can really help you in creating your own style that is pleasing to any eye!

7. KEEP SHOOTING

The only way we can get better at anything is if we keep doing it! If you want better photos, keep shooting! Keep taking pictures. Don't let anyone discourage you! Keep shooting, that's how you move forward!

I hope you learned a thing or two in this post. What camera do you use? Do you have a technique that works for you that I should know about? Let me know!