How to Improve Your Photography Skills

Nowadays, everyone has a camera, but few know how to use it.

Often, I’ll catch people snapping random pictures of everything. Later, these people will sit down to look at their photos feel overwhelmed by the amount of bad pictures they see. They won’t feel confident showing them off to others and certainly won’t have them printed and framed. As the daughter of photographer Camille Seaman, I’ve picked up some tips along the way that greatly improved my photography. I’d now like to share them with you.

Whether I’m photographing with my camera or camera phone, here are some questions I ask myself before capturing an image.

Question #1: Why am I photographing?

Before you raise your camera, ask yourself what is calling to you and drawing your attention. Is it the way the light spilling from clouds play with the colors of the ocean? Is it the emotional expression on a face? Is it the grandeur of a stately building? What ever it is, name it. Then focus on translating your interest to the photograph. If you find that nothing is calling to you, don’t take the photo.

Question #2: Where is the light?

The human eye sees differently than the camera lens. When looking at a landscape in the direction of the sun we can focus our eyes and still find beauty, while a photo of the same scene will be all shadows and light. After you have identified what is calling to you, find what direction the sun is shining. If it’s in front of you and in the direction you were planning to take the photo, don’t. If you’re doing indoor photography, be aware of the available natural light. In many instances I’ve waited a few hours for when the light is brighter in a certain spot.

Now, as you raise your camera and go to take a photo keep these simple ideas in mind.

Idea #1: in or out?

It’s important to check the corners of your image to make sure you’re not cutting anything off. Choose whether something should be in or out of the frame and photograph accordingly.

Idea #2: crop with your body

Don’t be afraid of moving your body to get a good image. Kneel down, crouch forward, etc. Move with the image.

Idea #3: Keep it simple

Clutter is not fun to look at. Photograph clean, easy for the eye to recognize shapes. When doing posed product photography (similar to images you’ll find here on my blog), make sure the room or space around you is clutter free. This often involves moving a lot of random things out of the picture or cameras line of sight but trust me, it makes a huge difference.

Most importantly, have fun!