Thanks to smart phones, photography is an accessible past time for almost everyone these days. Unfortunately, just because the technology is available it doesn’t mean we know how to use it well and it’s a common occurrence to come back from a holiday with hundreds of new photos but only a few worth keeping. Read these tips on how to take photos that are interesting, flattering, well balanced and likely to get you an increased number of likes on social media.
Get the right light
It’s no secret that good light can make or break a photo but it can be hard to know where and when to find it. If you’re shooting outdoors, the best time to take pictures is early morning and late afternoon when the light is soft. Take your phone on your pre-breakfast jog or bring it along to sunset drinks and snap away: you might be surprised by how great you and your travelling companions look. If you’re taking photos indoors, try to avoid taking any where the light is directly behind the camera. With some clever angling or temporary redecorating, you’ll discover a light source beside or behind your subject makes for the most flattering photos.
Make the most of interesting backgrounds
Inner city laneway art, colourful cottage doors, historic archways and intricate staircases make incredible backdrops for photos of your favourite people (yourself included). If you’re after a photo without humans, look for symmetry and patterns in what’s around you, whether it be intricate mosaic tiling or a cabinet of perfectly placed baked goods. It also pays to be mindful of things in the frame that shouldn’t be, whether it be an overflowing garbage bin or a photobombing five-year-old.
Use the rule of thirds
Those gridlines that appear on your screen when you open the camera on your phone have a purpose: helping you with placement. They break the image into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, allowing you to line up your subject or point of interest accordingly. The general rule is to position your focal point along these lines or in the intersections to create an image with more energy and interest than one where the subject is centred. This is a particularly useful technique when taking photos of beautiful landscapes where the horizon is in view. Line it up with one of the horizontal grid lines, move the lens so the impressive tree/rock formation/beam of sunlight runs close to one of the vertical lines and snap away.
While posed photos have their place, candid snaps are often more interesting, emotive and – surprisingly – flattering. You’re also more likely to enjoy looking back on them. With this in mind, take some sneaky pictures of your travel companions and even (if appropriate) that interesting local going about their day. The latter usually only works well if you find yourself in a destination whose culture and way of life is far removed from your own, so keep that in mind before you start getting carried away.
Make friends with editing
Thanks to recent advances in technology, even the least tech savvy among us can edit their photos quickly and easily to great effect. Whether you choose to do this through your phone’s inbuilt functions, social apps like Instagram or slightly more technical add-ons like Afterlight, all you need is one tap on a different filter to really bring your picture to life.