Take Better Photos, Easily

I make typos. I don’t notice spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, missing punctuation and the use of incorrect tense. Sometimes my readers point out my mistakes and give me convenient mnemonic devices. Others are a bit ruder in their response and have trouble moving on from the spelling mistake or unnecessary comma. It’s something I never quite understood. Why are some readers so preoccupied with perfection in the written language. Can they not just read what I mean and ignore my creative use of grammar?

But then it struck me that they probably feel the same way about words as do about pictures. An article, a book, a recipe with pictures may sound tempting, but if the photography is sloppy, then it prevents me from reading the text and enjoying the piece of writing.

Unlike words, what’s a good or a bad picture is often open to discussion. However, there are some "rules" that I think most people will agree on and these are the ones I want to illustrate here.

If only for better pictures. Here are some examples, based on photos I often see on Instagram and Facebook. Everyday pictures that with very small adjustments can be made so much better. The examples here are neither styled nor otherwise hard to achieve. They were taken with an iPhone and have not been edited.

Keep Distance

"Mum, here are buns in curry."

Sorry but there is not much of anything in this picture. The only subjects that can certainly withstand close-ups are children, flowers and blueberries! Brown and yellow food do not do so well in pictures - and not at all up close. So here it is a good idea to just put a blue napkin in the background and a small herb on top ;-)

Hold the line

"Relaxing in the garden, with freshly squeezed juice"

You may be able to relax, but I'm worried that the glass will fall off the table! Try to think of how many people take crooked pictures, with the thought that something may happen in the picture. But it gives a confused and restless expression and nobody wants to turn their head to see the subject. If used properly and sparingly, then crooked images have their justification. It may be to emphasize restlessness, movement and dynamism.

Here's another classic. A skewed horizon line. It is so easy to fix it from the phone and it takes no time, often the phone's camera does it itself when you press the first of the small icons you see in the picture here.

Keep Focus

"Shopping for onion soup!"

Hmm I think this looks more like a vegetable shop! It is important that the subject of the photo takes up the most space and remove any other things that might distract from it. Onions are very decorative in themselves. Here they are simply laid out on a rustic photo background. Of course, the background could also be a wooden cutting board or a piece of linen.

Clean up

"Tadaaa here is the finished result."

Great, have you painted that ceiling? It’s great you have a new painting, but there are so many distractions in the shot. On the other hand, it can also be nice to show the subject in its natural environment. It creates a mood. But here you can cheat a little, by cleaning up in the cutting room. Away with the ceiling, curtains, sockets, cords and crooked sofa cushions. Away with them!

Composition

Make use of the guides on the camera and the phone. Keep your focus in the middle or in one of the corners where the lines intersect. This was a small quick review of everyday images, without extra embellishments and styling. Just to show how little needs to be adjusted to take better pictures. The best way to get better at photography is to do just that. Take more photos. Snap a bunch of pictures of the same subject and pick the best one. Then just give it a go in photo editing. All phones have the option to select from several filters, but how about proceeding to the next stage, where you select "Edit" and play with the focus, light and color. More on that later... and.

Happy Styling :D

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“There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.”

Ansel Adams