Nowadays, smart phones and reasonably priced professional cameras allow even the most amateur photographers to feel like pros. And while we’re all guilty of clogging our devices with thousands of photos, the quality of those snaps isn’t necessarily top-notch. The good news is, improving our average photography skills is pretty simple.
You aren’t going to stop snapping pictures of your kids, your meals or vacation sunsets any time soon, so you might as well beef up your skills. Keeping these basic tips in mind will not only bring out your loved ones’ inner models, but will leave you with your own personal gallery of professional-looking photos that any photographer would be proud of.
Here’s how to make your so-so photos look more professional
OFF-CENTREWe have a natural tendency to centre our main subjects, but it can be much more visually stimulating when you shoot off-centre using the rule of thirds. It's all about leading the eye throughout the whole photo – not just staying stuck in the middle.flickr/Bret Vogel
DON'T THINK, JUST SHOOTSometimes, less is more. But when in doubt, click, click, click. The digital age gives us the gift of taking more photos than necessary, so use it. Rather than overthinking a shot, start snapping and sort through the photos later. You never know what perfect moment you'll capture!Lindsay Ireland
NATURAL LIGHTTake advantage! Outdoors is usually best, on a bright but overcast day. If taking photos indoors, open the blinds and soak up every bit of natural light possible.Lindsay Ireland
GET SUPER CLOSELike, obnoxiously close. Pristine snowflakes on your fingertip or little hands scooping up mud might seem unforgettable in the moment, but it's those magical details that will get fuzzy as the years go by. Trust us - you'll appreciate having them documented.Lindsay Ireland
FAR OUT, DUDEWhile a crisp close-up can be epic, sometimes standing back and capturing a whole scene is pretty special too. These shots focus less on one main subject and more on capturing the overall feeling of a place in time.Lindsay Ireland
HAVE NO SHAMENeed a million-dollar smile from your kid? (Think framed photo for Grandma's birthday present.) Do anything to get it. Cluck like a chicken, sing the Paw Patrol theme song or perform ballet with a stuffed turtle. Your dignity is a worthwhile price to pay.flickr/guzdhe
GET SERIOUSBrilliant smiles aren't always best – or natural. You'll end up capturing a person's true spirit by photographing them in a comfortable state. While concentrating or while lost in thought, for example.flickr/JP Appleton
CAPTURE THE EVERYDAYWalking past the same things every day doesn't make them less special. Imagine looking through someone else's eyes every now and then, and make a point to capture the ordinary. You don't need new and exciting subject matter to make a photo fabulous!Lindsay Ireland
EXPERIMENT WITH ANGLESIt might feel awkward, but getting down low and shooting from the ground up can completely change the look and feel of a photo. Turn your camera on an angle or try standing on a bench and shooting downward. The options are limitless!Lindsay Ireland
USE YOUR SURROUNDINGSDon't shy away from the environment you find yourself in. From graffiti-covered walls to a crumbling staircase behind a building, sometimes your surroundings are as interesting as the intended subject matter.flickr/rey carl yntig
COLOUR, BABY!It might seem obvious, but colour is your friend! Look for colours that contrast harshly, or coordinated tones that flow together in harmony. Each style adds a completely different but equally interesting feel to your photo.Lindsay Ireland
APPS, FOR THE WINAt the end of the day, we're still only amateur photographers. Luckily, photo editing apps allow us to manipulate even the plainest of photos into artsy masterpieces. Add filters using Instagram's built-in editing tools or play with contrast and focus using a free app like Snapseed.Lindsay Ireland