5 Easy-To-Follow Photography Tips (Plus FREE Feminine Stock Photos!)
Summer is here and whether you’re looking to just take some cute vacation pictures or completely step up your Instagram game, I’ve got you, girl! In my journey of dabbling in photography, I’ve picked up some basic tips and hacks to take quality, professional-looking photos that don’t require expensive equipment or hours of editing.
We’re headed to Photography 101 and covering 5 basic tips for foolproof, beautiful images that you can use, whether you have an iPhone or a fancy DSLR camera.
1. Say Goodbye to Mr. Golden Sun
When it comes to lighting, natural light is always best. The best time of day to take photos is actually early in the morning, before the sun is bright and shining. That kind of gray-white tint that the sky turns early in the morning is what you’re looking for. This ensures that the lighting is going to be even (meaning shadows will be avoided on your subject) and your editing process will be a breeze. Another easy way you can get this type of lighting is by shooting when it’s cloudy or overcast outside. If neither of these are possible, or you’re in a pinch for a great photo-op, take your photo in the shade and you’ll be shadow-free and good-to-go!
2. Opposites Attract
My rule of thumb with photos when it comes to colors, outfits, and backgrounds is that opposites attract. For example, if you pair a neutral outfit with a busier background and a busy outfit with a neutral background, you really can’t go wrong. If an outfit is busy (it has a lot of or bold colors or a punchy pattern), I recommend pairing it against, say, a white stone wall or whatever neutral background is around. If you’re in a neutral outfit, you have free reign to take the photo against that crazy, painted mural or fun brick! If you’re looking for the easiest route, neutral outfits likes whites, grays, beiges, blacks (you get the idea), are foolproof against any background and in any scene. Think of your photo as a color palette—choose colors that compliment each other. Sticking to this rule will keep your photos from looking too busy, avoid colors from clashing, and keep the focus on your subject.
3. Don’t Strike a Pose
I’ll say it once: candids, candids, candids (Okay, I guess that was three times). I’ve found that trying to intentionally pose people often leaves them looking stiff and uncomfortable. The best, most natural looking shots I’ve taken of people have been the completely unintentional ones. The trick here is to get your subject into a general posing (standing, sitting, looking back, walking, crouching, etc.) and leave the rest up to them. Have them just move slowly around in that position. They can change the direction they’re looking, twist a little, fiddle with their hair, change their facial expression— the opportunities are endless. Just remember to keep shooting and change your angles!
4. Find a Good Helper
I know there are, like, a bajillion different apps and websites for free photo editing out there and believe me, I think I’ve tried most of them. When it comes to looking for an editing app, you want one that is simple to use and covers all the bases of editing options. Here are some of my favorites:
- A Color Story: This is a free app (with in-purchase options, if you so choose) that I’ve been using for awhile now! I love how simple it is to operate, yet there are so many options of elements to edit your photo with. Bonus: you can even connect your Instagram and plan your feed with it if you want!
- Snapseed: This is a free app that is newer to me, but I have definitely been impressed with it! Again, I love the simplicity of the app, but the editing options are even more extensive than A ColorStory.
- Google Photos: Okay, I know this one might seem kind of weird, but up until recently I had only been using Google Photos to store images, create albums and share them with people. Recently, though, I found that there is a great photo editor within it! Once you click on the editing icon, on the right hand side you’ll see some filters. On the next page over, you’ll see the categories: light, contrast, and pop. If you click the down arrow underneath light and contrast, there are more editing options for you to use. This is a one-stop-shop for uploading, storing, editing and sharing your photos!
5. KISS (Keep It Simple, Silly)
I know how easy it can be to get carried away with editing until the photo looks absolutely nothing like the original, but as a general rule, less is more. If editing scares you, or you’re in a pinch, use the autocorrect filters! If you want to venture into editing, the easiest combination I can give you is to slightly up the brightness or exposure and just nudge the contrast up a little. This will lighten up your photo, giving it a studio light, professional look and also make the colors and elements in your photo look just a hint crisper. If you’re feeling like adding a filter, just remember you don’t need to use it at 100% strength. I tend to keep mine in the 40%-60% range depending on the desired look, but play around with it yourself until it looks the way you want it to!
download FREE STOCK PHOTOS
Don't leave yet, babe! I shot a handful of TOTALLY FREE stock images that you can use right now on your website or on social media. A few samples are shown below, but download the freebie to see them all!
(Credit is not required, but always appreciated of course)