Our top tips on how to take better photos

Arm raised in sky holding Canon camera in sunlight

If you’re wondering how to get into photography, you’ve come to the right place. For beginners, learning photography tips will help you understand the workings behind capturing an image, and what’s required to achieve flawless shots.

This article covers everything you need to know about taking photographs. Simply read on to discover how much lighting plays a part, as well as how to capture professional frames on cameras and phones.

How to get better at photography

As a beginner, photography and taking great shots involves practice and research. You’ll pick it up once you get started, you just need to know what tricks to use for your first attempts to capture fantastic images.

First, good lighting is crucial

Photograph of wide blue lake surrounded by mossy hills

One of the most important photography tips for beginners is to consider lighting before (and during) taking your shots. Our top tip on how to take better pictures is to not rely solely on editing tools to improve the lighting of your pictures. Get your lighting right for when you capture your snaps, and tweak afterwards if needed. Otherwise, the picture quality can be considerably reduced, resulting in low-quality images.

Think carefully about the setting where you’ll be taking your photos. If your plan is to shoot outdoors - perhaps you’re hoping to create landscape prints to hang in your home at a later date - ensure there is a good amount of light in the scene. Selecting which angle you shoot from is important, too. This decision usually rests on which angle invites the most light and produces fewer shadows, which can interfere with your photograph.

How to take better pictures on your phone

Two hands holding up iPhone to take photograph of greenery

 

Taking professional photographs is more accessible now than ever because the camera facilities on smartphones are so advanced. This means a high-spec camera isn’t always required, which can be much easier (and cheaper). There are many methods to help capture professional-looking photographs, but what are they?

Clean your phone’s camera lens 

This is such a simple tip but a highly effective one. It’s likely you’ve taken a brilliant picture in the past, only to find that the camera lens has affected the image you’ve taken. Smudged finger marks and dust on the lens can blur your pictures, so purchase a lens or dry microfiber cloth to clean it with.

If you intend to use your phone camera for all of your photography shots, we advise buying a lens protector. This eliminates the cleaning process altogether and ensures sharp, clear images are captured each time.

Find natural light before adding it yourself

Adding light to your images, such as using a selfie light (a light-up ring that attaches to your mobile’s self-facing camera), may seem like a clever idea, but it’s not always the best one. As much as the added light can help in some darker environments, it’s always best to search for natural light before adding tools to brighten your images.

Don’t use digital zoom settings

When taking a picture of a skyline from a rooftop, you might consider using the zoom function on your phone’s camera to focus on the scenery. As much as this seems like it creates better images, it will do the opposite. Zooming in before taking an image actually reduces the image quality, as the digital zoom function produces cropped, resized shots. This results in blurred, grainy photographs because of the photo’s overall resolution, which reduces when cropped. Instead, it’s better to zoom or crop later on, in the editing process.

Use a tripod to take steady shots

Capturing picture-perfect photographs is much easier when you have tools to prevent hand-blur. This refers to the shaky, blurred effect your images can have if your hand isn’t steady enough while taking a photo. Sometimes it can be tricky to keep a steady hand, but setting up a tripod eliminates this problem and guarantees sharp shots.

Utilise the phone camera’s ‘grid’ settings

Lining up the subjects in your photograph(s) can be tricky, which is why your phone offers a ‘grid’ setting that you can utilise. Everything you want to capture in your frame will feature within the grid, which makes it easier to ensure particular objects and elements of the shot are in the exact place you want them to be.

If you’re an Android user, simply do the following:

  • Go to: Settings > Apps > Camera
  • Tap the ‘Grid Lines’ option
  • Select either the square overlay (which is great for uploading pictures to Instagram), or the rule-of-thirds overlay.

If you own an iPhone, go to:

  • Settings > Camera
  • Next, enable ‘Grid’ to add a grid overlay to the camera
  • Open your camera

 

Once you’ve enabled the grid lines, make sure you keep your frame parallel with any horizontal and vertical lines. It’s as simple as that to compose the image for your photograph(s).

How to take better photos on your camera

Man in cap taking photograph on black camera of sunset

When you’re a beginner, photography and taking the best shots on a camera isn’t always second nature, but it soon will be. Once you’ve purchased a camera (if you don’t already own one), there are different ways to produce professional-looking photographs, but what are they?

Use higher shutter speeds

 

If you’re wondering how to take good photos on a camera, taking note of your setting is important but this doesn’t guarantee a great shot. What does is shooting photographs at faster shutter speeds, of 1/125 seconds or faster.

A fast shutter speed halts the motion in the picture you’re taking. It also affects how much light enters the frame overall because it controls how long the camera shutter opens for. Because you can get motion blur from moving subjects or camera shake if the shutter speed is too slow, we’d recommend using a shutter speed of 1/200th-1/250th of a second for everyday photography. This will achieve sharper pictures overall and you can say goodbye to motion blur.

Invest in lighting equipment

Pink backdrop with yellow chair and light reflectors

Purchasing a light reflector allows you to manipulate the light in your frames when shooting indoors, especially if your equipment features five light reflectors. Those that feature five reflectors can include different coloured covers.

Five-in-one reflectors feature covers will include silver (for bright light), black (to remove light), and white (for softer light), for example. These are available online and cost around £10-£45 from retail stores. This handy lighting equipment is affordable and is a great investment; it helps you take professional photographs quickly and easily on your camera.

Add photographs to your interiors

Four V&A inspired John French photography prints hung on white wall

 

Now you know how to take good photos, it’s time to take photographs like never before! In the meantime, peruse our range of brilliant photography prints to hang in your home.

You can introduce our reproduced V&A John French photography pieces to your dressing room, bedroom or as a stylish addition to your hallway artwork. If you prefer landscape photography to fashion, we have a selection of Guy Aubertin prints that will suit your every preference. Then simply add any pictures you take besides the photos you’ve displayed on your walls.

For more useful information on creating and discovering art, visit our blog and read through our insightful articles.