I have been a photographer for about four years now. I started in a program provided for teens, in which I have been participating in when I first started getting into photography. Through this ongoing journey, I have learned A LOT. I have a fancy DSLR camera, but you don't need one really with the fancy new cameras being built into phones nowadays. So, for those who want to improve their skills to step up your selfie game, to better catch the emotions behind a moment or if you are thinking of getting into photography, here is some advice to photo taking.

Rule of Thirds

You probably have no idea what I just said but I'm going to explain. Rule of thirds is basically this: Don't make your subject be dead in the center of your photo. Things that are dead center tend to be overlooked or not noticed at first glance. Unless you really intend on your subject being in the center, go ahead, but if you want a more interesting shot, try putting the subject off to the side a little. Try to imagine your picture with a grid containing 9 boxes. Have your subject on the two inner lines that are vertical. You can look up examples of rule of thirds on google, or you can pull up a grid on your phone if your phone has the settings to be able to do it. It helps a ton to make your photos more interesting, believe me. Angles are everything because they can change your picture a lot.

Don't crop out certain body parts

When taking pictures of people, try not to make any awkward crops to their body. Specifically, do not cut off their hands, their feet, their legs, or their heads, unless you are modeling clothing or want to focus on the torso. Reason being is because it not only looks weird, but you can fix it instantly by taking like two steps back, so why not take those two steps? If you are to crop out certain body parts, do it right above the knees, right above the elbows, or midway down the shin of the leg. When doing close up portraits, do it midway up the neck and you cam get away with cropping off a little bit of the top part of the head. You can also look up more examples on google as well, because google is your best friend in photography.

Face towards the sun, not away from the sun

During the day, the sun can be your best friend. When taking pictures, facing away from the sun can cause your subject to be blacked out because your camera can't sense any light on your subject other than the big, bright, burning sun. Unless you want that silhouette effect, face towards the sun. Don't look at the sun, but face in the same direction and you will be on your way. Also, best times to take pictures is in the early morning or the evening. Cloudy days are also good as well. 

Try to get some natural lighting

If you want your pictures to look as is without that weird orange light from tungsten bulbs, green light from fluorescent bulbs, etc, get some natural lighting going. Natural light is your best friend when you want your pictures to be free of weird colored lights from artificial sources. 

And as always, practice, practice, practice. You get better at taking photos the more you take them honestly. But, try to experiment and not do the same thing over and over again. You might run into some happy accidents that can help improve your photo taking skills. If you fail, it's alright. It took me two years to get good at taking photos, but even I have a long way to go yet. 

Feel free to ask me any questions, comments, or concerns about photography. I'm happy to help. Hope you found this useful, and feedback is greatly appreciated. 

Published by Ariella D. Gaitan