6 Tips for Taking Awesome Photos

This blog post is part of our  April DEEP DIVE into Photography sponsored by Professor Josh, which is the second unit in our DEEP DIVE: Learn, Create, Win! Presented by Your Southern Ford Dealers. This is a free 6-month program focusing on content creation because 2018 is the Year of the Creator!  


6 Tips for Taking Awesome Photos


Taking photos is easy. But taking great photos is hard and takes know-how, experience, and lots of practice. So, we've compiled a list to help get you started on your journey to greatness.

1. Balance Your Shot by Using a Grid

According to the "rule of thirds," you should imagine breaking down your photo into thirds horizontally and vertically as if dived by a grid. Most budding photographers learn to balance the composition of their photo by placing the main subject where the lines intersect.

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Fortunately, you don't have to imagine a grid, but you can instead set your smartphone to actually show you one. 


Tip to Do:

  • iPhone: Go to "Settings," choose "Photos & Camera," and switch "Grid" on.
  • Samsung Galaxy: Launch the camera app, go to "Settings," scroll down and switch the "grid lines" option to "on."

2. Focus on Your Subject

Some of the best photos are relatively simple, featuring just a single subject. Make sure the lighting is adequate and be sure you haven't crowded the photo, meaning the viewer has to search to find the focus of the picture.

Negative space, the parts surrounding your subject, can be used to really highlight the subject in interesting ways.

Tip To Do:

On your iphone, touch the screen to adjust and set the focus.

3. Pay attention to Lighting

There are different types of lighting for photos, ranging from the position of the lighting to the light filters. The subject you are trying to capture can look vastly different based on your lighting.

Front Lighting

This is when the light is set directly in front of your subject and is great for showing detail. This is also the simplest to shoot.

Side Lighting

This is when the lighting source is set to the side of the subject and it can create interesting shadows and depth to your photo.

Back Lighting 

As you would guess, back lighting is when the lighting source is behind the subject, but beware - this can be tricky to use! For example, if you place a subject in front of a brightly lit window, you might end up with just a silhouette. But, if you adjust using manual modes, you can create a spectacular photo that has all sorts of shadows and even a halo effect.

Hard Light

Hard light is a bright enough light that creates deep, dark shadows. Hard light will increase the contrast between your lightest lights and your darkest darks in the photo. You'll find hard light with a bright flash or outdoors in direct sun.

Soft Light

Meanwhile soft lighting produces softer shadows and more even coloring across your picture. You'll find soft light indoors next to a natural light source like a window or outdoors in the shade.

Tip To Do:

Consider experimenting with the different light. Shoot the same subject several different ways and see just how the different light changes your shot. It is only by experimenting that you can truly learn what will work best to create the shot you want.

4. Consider a Tripod

Many people don't consider using a tripod with their smartphone cameras, but they can greatly increase the quality of your photos. Your human hands simply cannot be as still as a tripod, and that little bit of movement can make a big difference. 


You will probably have to buy an adapter to mount your smartphone on the tripod, but fortunately there are plenty of options in a wide price range.


5. Get Close

There's a reason traditional cameras have zoom lenses-- getting close can greatly improve a shot! The only problem? It's difficult to zoom on a smartphone and the adaptable lenses for smartphone still leave a lot to desire. (But they are getting better all the time!)


The other point of getting up close to your subject is to provide a different perspective on your shots. You can create some interesting pictures by shooting from different angles.

6. Learn to Edit

Our final tip for Photography 101 (just the basics of a good shot) is to learn to edit your photo to polish the shot. There are lots of affordable editing programs and or apps that provide near-professional level editing power for you to touch up or stylize your photos. From Snapseed to Adobe's Photoshop, there are lots of YouTube tutorials to help you become a master retoucher of your pics.

Click here to see all of our events this month of photography.

And special thanks to Ford & Your Southern Ford Dealers for making the DEEP DIVE: Learn, Create, Win! program possible!