No matter if you still shoot in automatic mode or already in manual mode. Apply these 5 tips, and you will notice an immediate difference in your photos. Ready? Let’s get started with my 5 quick tips for instantly better photos:
#1: Make the most of the golden hour
Light is an essential factor – wrong: it is the most important factor – in photography. One of the most popular and beautiful moments to take fantastic photos is the Golden Hour. The Golden Hour is the time after sunrise and before sunset. The light is exceptionally soft and warm, and it makes your subject shine in a beautiful golden tone. Try it out today or tomorrow and discover the difference.
#2: Divide your image by rule of thirds
The rule of thirds is probably one of the best known and yet most efficient rules in photography for adding interest to a picture.
Here’s how it works: Draw two horizontal and two vertical lines within your frame, so that you end up with 9 equal boxes. Many cameras offer the option to display this grid in the live-view mode.
Once you have the grid, place your subject along the lines or on one of the 4 intersections. If you do not have a grid that you can display, imagine it. By placing your subject on one of the lines, your photography looks much more balanced than if the subject was sitting in the middle.
I bet you can’t wait to take your next photo using the rule of thirds.
#3: Pay attention to the cropping
With pictures, we tell stories. Sometimes the story is clear in a photograph, and sometimes we leave it to the viewer of the image to make up his or her own story.
By cropping the photo, the photographer determines which story he or she wants to tell. By changing the frame, a photo can tell different stories. So be careful how you frame your photograph.
Do you notice the difference? It is the same image but it tells two stories. Which one is yours?
Make a wise choice.
#4: Watch the background
Has it ever happened to you that you took a photo, you really loved it and then, when you looked closely at it on the computer, you noticed that a white car, a hand or a branch was distracting in the background? Background bombing is the name of the game.
It happens. But the more you pay attention to what is happening in the background, the less often it happens. Note that a clean background does not distract from the subject.
#5 Select the focus point manually
When I make my course participants* switch from automatic to manual focus point selection, and they take their first photos, it is a real game-changer for them.
Every camera offers its proud owners the possibility to select the focus point automatically. This doesn’t sound bad, but in reality, this is the worst choice you can possibly take. Why? Because the camera selects one or more spots that it focuses on. These are usually the areas with the highest contrast or the closest point from the camera. In the rarest of cases – mostly coincidences – the spot that you want to be in focus is focused.
Therefore, set the focus area to manual (not to be mixed up with the Manual Focus – MF) and position the focus point on the spot you want to be in focus. Even if you are still shooting in auto mode, you should change this right now.
This is what happens if you let the camera decide where to focus.
Two exact images, same settings: Look which focus points the camera chooses (marked in orange)…
Did you like these quick tips for instantly better photos? Have you tried using them? Let me know what you’ve experienced.