5 top tips for taking better photos by Kirsten Norton

5 top tips for taking better photos

Here are a few of my tried and tested tips for improving the quality of your photos.

1. De-clutter

De-clutter a room or scene before photographing. With interior photography, make sure there are no empty cups or bottles standing around, pieces of clothing left on furniture or newspapers and leaflets cluttering the surfaces. You don’t want that stray coffee cup to ruin an otherwise perfect shot.

Downton Abbey made headlines when a bottle appeared in the background of a promotional photo – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-28825576

With landscape photography, remove litter and any other objects, which may detract from the final image. Unwanted objects can be retouched from photographs using photo-editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop, but this can be time consuming, even for a professional.

2. Frame your image

Take time to check what’s in the frame before taking your image. Half a person, a misplaced arm or leg will detract from the main focus of your shot. The same goes for most other objects as well, such as cars, buildings and furniture.

When shooting people, in particular, be aware of the background. Make sure they’re not standing in front of a post or doorframe. A post protruding from the top of your head is not very flattering! A good tip is to use a tripod, as it gives you time to consider your framing and the opportunity to make changes to your subject matter before taking the photo.

3. Attention to detail

It’s often the small things that distinguish an ok photograph from an amazing photograph. The devil, as they say, is in the detail. After you have de-cluttered and framed your image, take time to check the detail.

Are all the chairs the same distance from the table? Is your subject’s necklace hanging straight? What about their hair? If something isn’t right – change it!

4. Lighting

Landscape and a lot of portrait photography rely on natural daylight. Consider the time of day you are photographing. The best time is often early morning or afternoon, when the light tends to be softer. Midday sunlight can result in unwanted, dark shadows. Window light is great for natural portrait photography and an overcast day can also prove very beneficial.

With interior photography, make sure all the lights are switched on. Use a long exposure and no flash to get lovely, glowing light effects.

5. Focus and depth of field

Make sure the intended part of your image is in focus. With portraiture, it’s best to move your subject away from the background to get a nice depth of field. Doing so will also make it easier for an automatic camera to focus on the subject, and not the background.

With interior photography you may want the whole scene in focus and minimal depth of field. This is best achieved using a tripod and long exposure setting on your camera.

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