How to take a good picture: a simple guide
Image is everything. Taking a good photo doesn't need to be complicated.
Image is everything.
According to MDG Advertising:
67% of consumers say that the quality of a product image is “very important” in selecting and purchasing a product
Content featuring compelling images averages 94% more total views than content without images.
Taking quality photos for your company or brand doesn't need to be complicated.
Over the past few years I've fallen in love with photography. And anyone who knows me will tell you that when I love something I get obsessed about researching it.
But here's the thing ... you can dramatically improve the quality of your photos following just a few simple steps. Let's go.
Guess what? If you've got a modern phone then you're probably good to go.
DSLR's are good if you want to dive deeper into photography, but if you just want some decent photos for your social media, events page or website then your phone is probably more than good enough.
The only thing you should do is check your settings and make sure you're taking your photos in the highest possible quality.
The best way to absolutely destroy a photo is to make it blurry. And I'm not talking about the purposeful artistic kind.
There's a few things you can do to make sure this doesn't happen:
- Make an effort to hold the camera still. Before, during and after taking the photo - just to be safe.
- Make sure you're focussed on the right thing. Most phones let you tap on the screen to focus on the person or object you're taking a picture of.
- Make sure there's enough light. Sometimes, if it's dark, it means that to take a sharp picture you would need to hold the camera impossibly still for long period of time. Better instead to just make sure there's sufficient ambient light.
''Photographers' will tell you there's a lot more to it than this. But if you're just taking photos on your phone, or on the 'auto' settings, this is really all there is to it.
Ok so here's the big secret. Here's the big golden nugget of information you should take away from this blog post.
Lighting is everything.
Everything. It is absolutely everything. In my opinion it is probably one of the most important things you can think about when taking a picture.
Not convinced? Here's a picture of when the light outside turns naturally incredible. Golden hour.
Golden hour is the hour of time either before sunset or after sunrise.
It's probably one of the most simple 'hacks' to taking a better outdoor photo. Just take it during golden hour.
It works inside too. Here's another photo I took on my iPhone during golden hour:
It makes such a difference having the morning light come flooding into the room.
The worst light is usually harsh direct sunlight. Think sunny days when there's not a cloud in the sky.
Direct sunlight causes harsh shadows and is unflattering on your subjects face. (All the squinting!).
If you need to take a picture of someone on days like this, either get them in the shade or at least a pair of sunglasses on!
Composition is really just a fancy word for how you frame your photo and how you position all the elements within it.
Good composition makes a photo just 'feel' right. It's a funny one that's hard to put your finger on.
A simple technique to get composition right is called the rule of thirds. It's a grid that you see, or imagine on top of your photos. It looks like this:
The idea is that you place your subject along the lines, or at the point where they meet.
Most phones have the ability to turn this grid on to help your composition.
Another, very simple, technique is just to keep the thing you're taking a photo of dead centre.
Keeping it simple
Taking good photos really doesn't have to get any more complicated than this. Of course, you can go way deeper down the rabbit whole, but these core concepts are all you need to take good photographs.
It ultimately comes down to the fact that you're thinking about your shot. You're applying that half, one, maybe two extra seconds and thinking about what you're doing rather than mindlessly shooting blindly.