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5 Insanely Simple Tips for Instantly Becoming a Better Photographer

5 Insanely Simple Tips for Instantly Becoming a Better Photographer

Photography is an art form that takes decades to perfect. While you can’t expect to transition from amateur to seasoned professional within a few weeks, you can hack your way to the top by heeding the advice of others and perfecting some of the following five tips and techniques.

1. Shoot at Golden Hour

As you know, there are certain times of day when natural light is more conducive to high quality photography. While people will argue over which time is best, most would agree that the hour before sunset and the hour after sunrise are the best. This is often referred to as the “Golden Hour.”

“Just before sunset the sun is very low in the sky. This produces more directional light because of the low angle,” says photographer Lauren Lim. “Basically, it adds more dimension to the scene! Shadows are longer (and softer) than during the day, and things just look more interesting and dynamic.”

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Whenever possible, shoot during the Golden Hour and play around with front lighting, backlighting, and different angles. Each setup will produce very unique results.

2. Use Shadows to Your Advantage

Whether you’re shooting during Golden Hour or in the middle of the day, shadows can always be used to your advantage. Make sure you’re paying attention to your environment to ensure you’re making the most of these details.

“Shadow plays an important role in creating drama in your portraits,” says Waseem Abbas of Envira Gallery. “Whether you shoot in sunlight or artificial light, you can use shadows to maximize the volume in results of your photography.”

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Before shooting, look around and take note of where the light source is located and how it’s hitting various objects in the room. Based on this information, move around and take some shots at different angles. Review the results and proceed to work with the best ones.

3. Obey the Rule of Thirds

Are you familiar with the Rule of Thirds? This rule is one of the fundamental principles of proper photographic composition and requires the photographer to look through the lens and divide the scene into three rows and three columns.

When taking a picture, the photographer is supposed to frame the subject of the photo along one of the intersection points. This satisfies the theory that the human eye naturally gravitates towards these spots (rather than the very center of the image).

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4. Shoot With a Roll of Film

While digital cameras are great, they can also be a crutch. In extreme cases, amateur photographers can greatly stunt their growth by learning on a digital camera. The solution? Try shooting with a roll of film every now and then.

When shooting with a roll of film, you typically only get 24 or 36 exposures. This forces you to slow down and think about every shot you take. As a result you’re more conscious of what you’re photographing, how you’re composing the shot, and the purpose of the shot. Over time this will teach you to be a better photographer.

5. Buy Used Equipment

Photography is certainly a creative pursuit that requires talent and experience, but there’s also something to be said for having the right equipment. Sometimes upgrading from outdated equipment to newer alternatives can be enough to transform your results.

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The issue is that any new equipment is going to be expensive, so here’s a tip: buy used! You can find photography equipment, supplies, and accessories online, in consignment shops, and even at garage sales. Keep an eye out and snag these affordable buys.

Become a Pro Today

Not everyone can become a talented professional photographer but you won’t know until you try! Work on improving your skill set day by day and you’ll quickly enjoy the benefits of your progress.

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Anna Johansson

Anna is a freelance writer, researcher, and business consultant.

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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