Photography is a great way to capture a moment with friends, family and anything else in between. You don’t have to be the best at taking a photograph for it to mean something, but it is a major confidence boost when the photo looks good. You don’t need a degree in photography, photojournalism or commercial photography to take pictures. Nothing has to be perfect, and nothing has to look great for a photo to be great, but it doesn’t hurt when it is nicely composed. Here are five simple tips to take your photos from good to great:

Lighting is key 

The key to any good photo is the lighting. If it's too dark, the picture will turn out grainy, and it will be hard to tell what the photo is of. If a photo is too bright, the picture is called overexposed -- making faces and other features of the photo mostly white. A good time to take photos is either at sunrise or sunset. These times, when it is not cloudy, provide amazing light known as “golden light.” This light puts your subject in a natural yellow and orange light, which can make anyone or anything shine. 

Rule of Thirds

Split a picture in three, and where does the subject lie? If it is in middle third, make sure there is a purpose to the subject being in the middle. If the subject is on the right or left third, it makes it more interesting if there is another part of the photo: maybe something in the background or an interesting scene behind them. Rule of thirds allows an amateur photographer to achieve a contributing background with a dominant foreground without even realizing it, which can make for a very interesting photograph with a lot to look at. 

Feel the feelings

Looking at a photograph typically makes someone feel something even if it is in awe of the scene or the talent. Every photograph should make someone feel something. This can be achieved by capturing an emotion or a moment among one person or multiple. If the photo is just a bunch of people walking on the street, there is not much to feel, but if the photograph were to single out one person among those people walking on the street, it could make you feel whatever that person is feeling. In order to feel something when looking at a photograph, it is important to capture a moment or emotion.

Know what matters

Using a camera to take photos is different than just quickly snapping a photo on a phone. It is important to know what matters with settings while using a camera. If you want to edit your photos on Photoshop, Lightroom or any app, it is better to shoot in raw. These photos will be bigger and take up more space, but shooting in raw allows for more editing in post production. Other important settings include ISO, shutter speed and aperture. These settings give more control over how the photo turns out. They all have to work together, so they need to be balanced accordingly. It is easy to look up charts on camera settings that are a good base structure to understanding a camera. 

Have fun

This tip is widely looked over. The most important tip when taking photos is to have fun. It sounds rather cliche, but it is true. If a photographer is not enjoying the time when they are taking photos, then the lack of passion and excitement can show in the photos. It is important to have fun and have a passion and desire to take a photo. Photo professors always say, “We can teach technical, but we can’t teach creativity,” which can be greatly influenced by whether or not the photographer is having an enjoyable time taking a photo.

Photos are a great way to capture any moment that means something. Nothing about a photo has to be perfect, but it is nice when the photo turns out good. With these tips, beginner photographers can control their cameras and create photos that they are proud of.  

@KelseyBoeing 

kb794916@ohio.edu