5 Easy Ways to Take Better Photos

By: Taylor Slifko, Senior APSU

As a communication major, I know the struggle of being expected to write, edit, and photograph on tight deadline. As a photographer, I can offer some advice for when your boss throws a Canon Rebel on your desk to take photos at that thing you’ve never covered before.

Step 1: Find the light.

When you get to the location, look to see where the light is coming from. Pay close attention to these areas because the more light you have to work with, the better the photos. If you are outdoors, look at where the light is most even. Harsh sunlight tends to cast shadows that can become distracting in photos. When working indoors, stay close to windows, lamps, etc. Once you find the best source of light, get in-between the subjects and the light source.findthelight

Step 2: Get closer… closer… closer.

Going up to strangers and pointing a lens in their face can be a little intimidating at first. You’ll find most people these days love getting their photo made. When you get close, you start to see the subject’s emotion and anticipate their actions. This simple step lets you capture intimate, real moments that the viewer can connect with.

So don’t be shy, introduce yourself and know that it’s going to be awkward no matter what you do. Once you become comfortable in the environment, the subjects will also relax and open up.girltakingphoto

Step 3: Try a different point of view.

The most mundane viewpoint is at eye level. Because everyone already sees life at eye level, making photos at this viewpoint is boring. As a photographer, it’s your job to give people a different perspective they wouldn’t normally see. You can achieve this by getting low to the ground, shooting through objects, getting above subjects, or any unique angle.

Fall colors can be found all throughout campus on Friday, Nov. 20, 2015. (Taylor Slifko, APSU)

Step 4: Simplify!

A great way to take better photos is to simplify what’s in your frame. Anything that distracts from the subject, and does not contribute to the narrative can go. Avoid trashcans, photo-bombers, someone randomly eating a corndog, etc. By removing these from frame, the story is able to come through more effectively.

Step 5: Observe.

Lots of things are happening; you’re worried about light, subjects, and viewpoints. It’s easy to get caught up in the camera chaos and forget about the narrative of the photos. When you feel this happen, put the camera down for a few minutes and observe.  What is everyone doing? Who is interesting to me? Where can I get a corndog? Answer those questions, and focus back up on those elements of the story.

Austin Peay State University student Katlyn Van Winkle shoots for a Photo 1 class with a 35mm film camera on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. (Taylor Slifko, APSU)


Do all of these things and you will take better photos than your hipsterist hipster friend on Instagram.


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