My love of photography comes from my mom. When I was young, she decided to start improving her photography skills so that she could have good photos of us children. She read books and tutorials, and now years later, she is an amazing photographer with her own photography business! When she saw my interest in photography, she taught me a few things. My first ‘nice’ camera was a Canon Rebel XT that my parents helped me buy as a birthday gift. Now I have a Canon 5D. Perks of having a photographer mom- she’ll give you her old (but still nice and in great condition!) camera when she gets a new one. 😉
All these photos in this post are just with my iPhone… but the same rules apply whether you have a fancy camera or just a phone. So here are a few simple tips to transform your photos from ordinary to outstanding.
- Lighting Good lighting can easily make or break a photo. Find a location with plenty of natural light, and try a few different angles to see what looks best! See the difference between these two photos below.
Another common misconception is that if the lighting isn’t good, just make it black and white! That will fix it, right? Wrong! In order to have a good black and white you need to start with good lighting. Here are three photos of the same thing.
On the left, the curtain directly behind my piano was open. The other curtain, on the left of the piano, was closed. In the second photo, I opened both curtains. In the third photo, I opened the curtain on the left and closed the curtain behind the piano. I used the same black and white filter on these photos, yet they all look different. This is the importance of lighting!
- Composition Have you ever heard of the Rule of Thirds? It’s a simple guideline for composition. Here’s an article that explains it in depth. The basic principle is that a photo has six imaginary lines going through it- 3 horizontal and 3 vertical. These lines and their intersections help you decide where your focal point is, and how to compose a photo that is visually pleasing.
- Posing and Subject Matter In order to compose your photo well, you need to have the right elements. Feel free to move things around and pose as you wish to achieve that perfect shot!
You can see that on the left, there are a few items on that shelf that aren’t supposed to be there. I’ve been moving a few things around in our house so it’s not totally pinterest-worthy or instagram-worthy at the moment. That just means I need to move things around to get a good photo.
With the bunny and bird, I thought that it needed something else to make the photo more interesting. This cake stand was perfect! Not only did it help with the lighting, its simple elegance adds a unique element.
- Background Clear your background. Lots of clutter distracts from the photo.
Having a simple background allows you to focus on the photo and the candle here. I love taking photos on my kitchen table because the white wall and the natural pine are simple and neutral.
- Editing I use the Instagram app to edit my iPhone photos. With my Canon 5D, I use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. With Instagram, I usually just make a few tweaks to the brightness, contrast, warmth, and sometimes the saturation and sharpness. Then I’ll add a filter that I like, BUT never at 100% (except for the black and white filters). Figure out what works for your photo. In this one, I used Gingham at 40%.
Here’s another before and after. Just play around with the filters and editing on Instagram and you’ll figure out what works well, and what your favorite filters or styles are.
Thanks for reading, guys! Do you enjoy photography? What’s your favorite thing to take photos of? I used to love nature photography, but now I enjoy taking photos of my home decor as well!