Five Tips to Being a Better Photographer in 2010

filed under: Miscellaneous on January 1, 2010

I say that tongue in cheek, as I do not consider myself a great photographer, or even a good one half the time.  But I love photography, and love learning new things that help me to be better.

I am even taking a PhotographerMAMA class with the world famous Rialee Photography.  It begins in 6 days, 2 hours, and 45 minutes.  Not that I am counting down the seconds or anything.  

I am so exctied to learn more about f-stops and aperture and the rule of thirds.

But for now, I would like to share with you a few tips that have gotten me from wretched to somewhat  acceptable

1. Turn off your flash. 

You have heard this a million times.  Now this time, do it.  Go get your camera and find the setting that has the little lightening bolt and turn it off. 


The first picture is with a flash and the second is without.  Now, I should have chosen a different location because there was enough light to diffuse the flash a bit here, but for the most part you can see how ‘washed out’ or over-exposed Parkers face is. 

I try to avoid washed out.  Thats why I avoid mirrors when possible.

2.  Look at pictures you love.  Then ask yourself, what do I love about it? (seriously)


(I am using my own pictures simply because there are copyrights on most of the pictures I adore)

I love this picture of Parker.  But what do I love about it?

His eyes are the focus.

The background is blurry.

The lighting is good.

So now when I am taking pictures I try to remember these things.


3. Zoom In. 

Get close. 

(any guesses as to what she is eating?)

Here is a regular old picture. 


Here is the same picture after I zoomed in on (cropped) what I really find interesting.  Which one do you prefer?


This also leads to tip 3.5… cropping.  Even if you cant always zoom in as close as you like, try cropping your picture to have only the main subject in it.  Most free editing programs allow you the option of cropping. 


4. Keep shooting. 

Just keep clicking away.  Most of us are shooting digital.  This wonderful invention allows you the option of just snapping away at your hearts content. 

You can go back and review pictures on your camera and delete as many as you want or you can download to your computer and sort them there.

I often take 100 pictures and only like 10 of them.


I had to shoot all
of these before I got one I really liked.



5. What is your perspective? 

I know that sounds cheesy, but try and keep it in your mind as you are taking pictures.  Ask yourself, “How can I make this picture different or more interesting?  What is MY perspective?”

Challenge yourself a bit.

I often find myself doing the same old shot with my kids.  Line them up in front of something and make them smile.

Instead, try a different  point of view. 

Lay on the floor and shot from below.  Have them look at you and smile, then move 5 feet to the left.  They are still looking straight ahead, but you now have a side view.  Zoom in on one persons face.  Ask them to look at each other. 


Try one or all of these and let me know if it makes a difference.

I know I hope to be able to report back to you in approximately 8 days, 2 hours, and 15 minutes that I am a changed woman. 

Oh, and that I take better pictures too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  • Cop Mama says:

    Wow, great tips! Those pictures are amazing. Well, I guess it helps that your kiddos are totally adorable!
    Good luck with your class. Sounds like you are really looking forward to it.

  • Renee says:

    I agree on all counts!
    Lucky you getting to take a class! Awesome!

  • ElizaBeth says:

    Thanks for all the tips… I’m writing them down…

  • Jenay says:

    Great tips Amanda! Have a great time at the workshop.

  • Tina Fisher says:

    Great tips…..I just have to figure out on my camera how to shoot in A mode with a low ap number and how to get the flash off b/c sometimes it wants to use the flash. So I think I have to go into manual settings and get it exactly the way I want. My next project….unless of course you might know a quick short cut for me???
    Maybe in 8 days?
    Have a great time in your class…take lots of notes for all of us bloggers!

  • He & Me + 3 says:

    I think your photos are just great and these tips are fabulous. Can’t wait to hear all that you learn at your course. How fun for you.
    Happy New Year my BBFF!

  • He & Me + 3 says:

    I think your photos are just great and these tips are fabulous. Can’t wait to hear all that you learn at your course. How fun for you.
    Happy New Year my BBFF!

  • Michelle says:

    I think you all ready take wonderful photographs, so I can’t wait to see your photo’s after your course!
    Thanks for the awesome tips! I have issues with turning my flash off though. Most of my pictures are taken in door and they just turn out yellow or blurry. Any idea’s on how to make that stop? I suppose a DSLR would help! ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’m so excited for you. Have fun learning all about your camera and taking awesome photographs.

  • janis says:

    Thanks for all your tutoring! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Have a great time at your class – can’t wait to hear all about it!

  • Bethany says:

    I think you’re pretty great already. I would love to know what lens you used on the second photo. I’m looking into getting the 50mm 1.8 prime lens for my XSi. I’m just not sure yet.
    The other issue I’m having is when I turn off my flash I either get yellowy (is that a word) or greyish pictures. And yes, I do adjust the white balance. I’m just not sure what to do with it all.
    It’s great to see what you’re doing even if you aren’t a pro in your own eyes. I’m a huge tip reader and love to get wisdom from others.
    May your classes be fun and your pictures be bright. Or something corny like that. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Londa says:

    Thanks for the amazing tips–I needed those and I think I can follow them! This class is going to be so exciting–keep sharing! I might turn out a good pic yet with my little Nikon point and shoot! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Happy New Year!!!

  • Kari says:

    Thanks for the tips! Like you, I’m working hard at improving my photography skills… not that it is hard work… I LOVE taking pictures!!! Can’t wait to hear what you learn at your class.

  • Quing says:

    Great tips you got here, Amanda! ๐Ÿ˜€ Hope I can come up with my own list of tips soon! ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy New Year!!!

  • Jessica says:

    Was she eating one of your petit fors? Thanks for these tips – my photography skills are seriously lacking.

  • gianna says:

    okay, so i’ve decide that when i have my baby (march 24thish), i need you to bring me some of your delicious looking cookies to North Memorial Hospital (yeah, that’s right. i don’t think i can wait until i’m at home! :)) and when you are there, will you take some pictures of our new baby? please? please? i don’t know what i can do in return, but do some thinking and maybe i can return some kind of favor. sorta.
    does this sound okay to you?

  • Dea says:

    Very good tips! I love all the photos! I cant wait to read about the photography class!

  • Amanda says:

    I love it! Thanks for the tips. BTW, I love your pictures. ๐Ÿ™‚ Please share what you learn.

  • Ruth says:

    I crop everything all the time. But one more tip to that is if you plan on developing them crop within a boundary. For example if you are planning on developing the pic as a 4×6 or a 5×7 set your crop to those boundaries, otherwise when you get your pictures back they will not look the way you intended to.
    Have fun at your class. I’ve actually been thinking a lot about doing that too, but I just don’t have the time right now. So hopefully any new tips you float our way will come in handy :0)

  • Jamie says:

    Thanks for the tips. What kind of camera do you have? I’m a horrible photographer…I’m convinced it is my camera that is bad and not the one who is taking the pictures though ๐Ÿ™‚
    Enjoy your class!

  • Jamie @ Six Bricks High says:

    Thanks for the tips. What kind of camera do you have? I’m a horrible photographer…I’m convinced it is my camera that is bad and not the one who is taking the pictures though ๐Ÿ™‚
    Enjoy your class!

  • janmary, n ireland says:

    Great tips – cant wait to see how the course goes – if only Ireland was not quite so far away from “the Loft”!!

  • Amanda Rettke says:

    I would be honored!!  IF we are in town… my sisters birthday is that weekend… so if I am within 60 miles of you I will make it!! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Baby is SOOOO soon!

  • olivia says:

    GREAT tips. if more people take these simple suggestions, there’d be alot let ho-hum photos out there. very well explained. thanks for helping to make the world full of better photos! i always thought taking interesting and well thought out pics was obvious but then i see some ho-hum ones (friends pics or certain blogs) and realized, i must mostly surround myself with those that REALLY know how to get good shots and i’ve been lucky to just learn from looking.
    look i can comment!! i typed in your url instead of getting her via the google reader link. guess that’s the trick! yay!!!!

  • InspiredDreamer says:

    Those are some great shots, you’re already well on your way to being a great photographer!
    I look forward to seeing what you come up with after your class!
    Have an Extraordinary Day!

  • Pineapple Princess says:

    Great tips! I am now a full believer in the natural light thing. It can really change a picture from good to great. You are so right!
    You are SO lucky to be taking that class. Teach us all you learn! ๐Ÿ™‚