5 Tips on How to Take Great Photos

What is the secret to taking great photos? A great camera and a great lens? Or just great talent behind the camera?

Over my six years of travel and working on my photography skills, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks that can help you take great photos on vacation – whether you own a smartphone or a top of the line DSLR camera.

1. A Beautiful Setting

It's not hard to take a beautiful photo when the setting is this extraordinary. Location: Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia

It’s not hard to take a beautiful photo when the setting is this extraordinary. Location: Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia

I’m not sure who said it first, but if you want to take beautiful photos you need to put yourself in front of a beautiful scene. Sometimes it’s as simple as taking a road trip to seek out stunning destinations.

2.Timing

The northern lights don't appear all the time so I had to be patient when waiting for them to dance across the sky. It can take minutes to weeks to wait for the precise shot you want to capture.

The northern lights don’t appear all the time so I had to be patient when waiting for them to dance across the sky. It can take minutes to weeks to wait for the precise shot you want to capture.

You can’t always control timing, sometimes it’s just pure luck. However, if you know the shot you want to get you can plan for it. You may need to sit somewhere for minutes or hours waiting for the right lighting or the right moment, but no one ever said getting a great photo was as easy as clicking a button – it often takes work and effort.

Hot Tip: The golden hour is considered the hour after sunrise or before sunset in which the lighting is soft and beautiful. An upside to winter in Canada is short days. It makes it easy to catch the great lighting at both sunrise and sunset when the sun is lower on the horizon (as compared to summertime).

3. Composition

The Rule of Thirds is a photography rule stating an image is more aesthetically pleasing if split into nine equal parts. The subject of the image should be in the cross over of at least one of the grids.

The Rule of Thirds is a photography rule stating an image is more aesthetically pleasing if split into nine equal parts. The subject of the image should be in the cross over of at least one of the grids.

Knowing a few photography rules like the rule of thirds, symmetry, leading lines and framing will help you compose the perfect shot. Take a minute to look around your setting and see what you can use to make your photo more interesting.

4. Motion

The motion of the fisherman navigating out through the waves in the traditional woven bamboo basket boats adds to the image

The motion of water splashing around the fisherman navigating out through the waves in the traditional Vietnamese woven bamboo basket boat adds a creative edge to the image.

Motion makes photographs look more interesting. The wing-beat of a bird can be frozen in time or blurred and likewise with a waterfall. Movement of a person walking, their clothing, hair or even placement of hands can make the difference in a photo that stands out.

5. Choosing angles

A view from above made this image of a woman walking down the Fairy Stream in Veitnam that much more beautiful.

A view from above made this image of a woman walking down the Fairy Stream in Vietnam that much more striking and leads your eye down the path she is walking.

Experimenting with different angles to shoot your subject can make the difference in a good photo or a great photo. Try different perspectives and locations – get high, get low, in front or behind an object. Try and be creative and source out new spots other photographers haven’t thought of before.

Although these are tips to taking great photos, it’s important to remember to enjoy the moment as well. With social media it’s tempting to spend a lot of time to get the perfect photo to share online, but make sure you enjoy the moment before capturing it.

2 thoughts on “5 Tips on How to Take Great Photos

Share your Thoughts: