Photography Tips- 4 key points for better pictures

Photography tips are something I’m often asked to share. I’m always quite shocked when friends and colleges show me their stills pictures. Some are quite shy of showing their images for fear of my criticism and others are happy to share an image with the intent it was taken, to record and share a moment as they saw it.

I say shocked for several reasons. Firstly that anyone should be shy of showing their images. I’ve trained for 30 plus years to perfect my eye to taking a picture, yes I may well be able to see an image better than the man in the street but then I should be able to or I’ve wasted those 30 plus years! So my photography tips are based on many thausands more picture taking chances than most people get.

Would I criticize someone’s images? The simple answer is no unless I was asked directly for photography tips to improve their skills. So what photography tips do I think are the most important for the man in the street to improve their images? Here is a list of 4 of the most important aspects to remember in my opinion.


  • Framing, when Joe Public take a picture the excitement of the situation concentrates their mind on their main subject, to the cost of all else generally. End result is that picture of little Johnny playing on the rug comes back as a very little Johnny and a lot of rug and background. So check all four corners of the frame to see if the main subject is filling the frame. If not zoom in or get physically closer.
photography tips
Try to fill the frame with your subject


  • Is the subject you want to record strongly backlit? Are they standing in   front of a window or out on a balcony with the bright sun and sea behind? If so turn on your flash to fill the main subject in with a bit or frontal light. Otherwise you are going to have a lovely silhouette of your main subject. Cameras like to average out the exposure to a constant grey to make their readings. If you have predominantly a backlit subject like a window or bright seascape the person in the foreground in a room or on a balcony is most likely to be too dark unless subject to all the same light as the background scene.
photography tips
Without flash
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With flash


  • Taking views that look stunning to the naked eye always seem to be a disappointment when you look back at the pictures? Normally this is because of nothing to scale the view. Add a point of interest in the near foreground. This could be a person, a tree, animal, anything to give the view perspective. Placing this point of interest on a crossing line of the thirds of the image will also add interest rather than square in the middle.
photography tips
Foreground detail near the intersection of thirds


  • Busy pictures can be distracting from the main subject. If possible if taking a portrait or subject of interest try to isolate it from it’s background either with a shallow focus so the background is blurred or moving to a different angle where the background is less busy. To blur a background either select the fastest shutter speed you can or use a longer telephoto lens. By selecting the fastest shutter speed you can, will make the camera use the biggest aperture it has, which results in a shallower depth of field.
photography tips
Blurring the background isolates the subject


I hope these photography tips help you with your pictures. If you have specific questions relating to any of the abovephotography tips please drop me an email with your questions and I’ll do my best to answer. If you want inspiration on good portraiture look here, the Canadian photographer Karsh is one of my favourite artists in this area. If landscapes are your preference take a look at the work of Ansel Adams   he is regarded as the farther of landscape photography.

Brian Russell.

Copyright Oct 2015