five really easy ways to improve your photos

You don’t have to get a fancy new camera in order to take better photos!  Check out my five really, really ridiculously easy ways to improve your photos… using ANY camera!

 

1.  Make sure your horizon line is straight.

Tips from a professional photographer: Five quick & easy ways to improve your photos... without upgrading your camera!

[taken with iPhone 5S]

Sometimes it’s intentionally done, but typically an off kilter photo can be distracting.  Your eye is drawn to the tilted line instead of the emotion or subject you’re trying to feature.  My tip for ensuring a straight horizon?  Use the built-in grid function on your camera to line up your shot [see below].  On an iPhone this can be turned on in Settings/Photos & Camera/Grid.

Tips from a professional photographer: Five quick & easy ways to improve your photos... without upgrading your camera!

 

2.  Capture ‘catch lights’ in your subject’s eyes.

Tips from a professional photographer: Five quick & easy ways to improve your photos... without upgrading your camera!

[taken with iPhone 5S]

This little secret will instantly & dramatically improve your photos!  “Catch lights” are the tiny reflections of light in your subject’s eyes that give them a sparkle.  Capturing these highlights adds personality and energy to your photo.  The photos above were taken in the same place, with the same distance from the window, on the same blanket- I rotated the subject until I could see the window reflecting in her eyes.  Follow the catch lights… they always lead you to the best & most flattering lighting.

 

3.  Don’t center your horizon/subject.

Tips from a professional photographer: Five quick & easy ways to improve your photos... without upgrading your camera!
[taken with iPhone 5S]

The ‘rule of thirds’ is my favorite composition technique.  An off-centered photo is more visually interesting than an image that’s perfectly centered.  Dividing your image into thirds and placing your subject in the ‘sweet spot’ along one of those ‘thirds’ will make it more eye catching.  Just remember:  when taking a landscape photo, don’t place your horizon in the middle.  Plus, that grid you activated for Tip #1 is perfectly designed for the rule of thirds!

 

4.  Watch your crop.

Tips from a professional photographer: Five quick & easy ways to improve your photos... without upgrading your camera!

[taken with Canon 5DMarkiii]

Two easy things to remember when cropping:  crop in the middle of limbs, not at joints.  When you crop at the joints, limbs can look amputated or abnormally long, which draws attention away from the face.  And keep the hairline intact.  When you crop off the hairline, it extends the forehead or makes the subject look bald.  If you’re going for a really close crop, be sure to crop right above the eyebrows so that the forehead doesn’t turn into a fivehead.

Tips from a professional photographer: Five quick & easy ways to improve your photos... without upgrading your camera!

[taken with Canon 5DMarkiii]

 

5.  Turn OFF your automatic flash.

Tips from a professional photographer: Five quick & easy ways to improve your photos... without upgrading your camera!

[taken with iPhone 5S]

Ugh, auto flash.  No.  Never.  Yes, there are certainly times when flash is necessary but they are few and far between.  And in those moments, you can always CHOOSE to turn your flash on.  So, turn the auto flash off.  That is all.

 

Want more photo tips?  Check out my five simple ways to take better photos of your kids & my iPhoneography tricks!

SaveSave

⭐️ PHOTOS STRESSING YOU OUT?

Learn my TOP THREE TIPS for taming your camera roll in this FREE 10 minute video.

five really easy ways to improve your photos

You don’t have to get a fancy new camera in order to take better photos!  Check out my five really, really ridiculously easy ways to improve your photos… using ANY camera!

 

1.  Make sure your horizon line is straight.

Tips from a professional photographer: Five quick & easy ways to improve your photos... without upgrading your camera!

[taken with iPhone 5S]

Sometimes it’s intentionally done, but typically an off kilter photo can be distracting.  Your eye is drawn to the tilted line instead of the emotion or subject you’re trying to feature.  My tip for ensuring a straight horizon?  Use the built-in grid function on your camera to line up your shot [see below].  On an iPhone this can be turned on in Settings/Photos & Camera/Grid.

Tips from a professional photographer: Five quick & easy ways to improve your photos... without upgrading your camera!

 

2.  Capture ‘catch lights’ in your subject’s eyes.

Tips from a professional photographer: Five quick & easy ways to improve your photos... without upgrading your camera!

[taken with iPhone 5S]

This little secret will instantly & dramatically improve your photos!  “Catch lights” are the tiny reflections of light in your subject’s eyes that give them a sparkle.  Capturing these highlights adds personality and energy to your photo.  The photos above were taken in the same place, with the same distance from the window, on the same blanket- I rotated the subject until I could see the window reflecting in her eyes.  Follow the catch lights… they always lead you to the best & most flattering lighting.

 

3.  Don’t center your horizon/subject.

Tips from a professional photographer: Five quick & easy ways to improve your photos... without upgrading your camera!
[taken with iPhone 5S]

The ‘rule of thirds’ is my favorite composition technique.  An off-centered photo is more visually interesting than an image that’s perfectly centered.  Dividing your image into thirds and placing your subject in the ‘sweet spot’ along one of those ‘thirds’ will make it more eye catching.  Just remember:  when taking a landscape photo, don’t place your horizon in the middle.  Plus, that grid you activated for Tip #1 is perfectly designed for the rule of thirds!

 

4.  Watch your crop.

Tips from a professional photographer: Five quick & easy ways to improve your photos... without upgrading your camera!

[taken with Canon 5DMarkiii]

Two easy things to remember when cropping:  crop in the middle of limbs, not at joints.  When you crop at the joints, limbs can look amputated or abnormally long, which draws attention away from the face.  And keep the hairline intact.  When you crop off the hairline, it extends the forehead or makes the subject look bald.  If you’re going for a really close crop, be sure to crop right above the eyebrows so that the forehead doesn’t turn into a fivehead.

Tips from a professional photographer: Five quick & easy ways to improve your photos... without upgrading your camera!

[taken with Canon 5DMarkiii]

 

5.  Turn OFF your automatic flash.

Tips from a professional photographer: Five quick & easy ways to improve your photos... without upgrading your camera!

[taken with iPhone 5S]

Ugh, auto flash.  No.  Never.  Yes, there are certainly times when flash is necessary but they are few and far between.  And in those moments, you can always CHOOSE to turn your flash on.  So, turn the auto flash off.  That is all.

 

Want more photo tips?  Check out my five simple ways to take better photos of your kids & my iPhoneography tricks!

SaveSave

HI, I’M MISS FREDDY.

 

Actually, my name is Casey. As a newborn I resembled Fred Flintstone so my parents nicknamed me Freddy and it stuck. I am a professional photo organizer (yes, that's a thing!) who helps people all over the world make sense of their photo mess through organizing services and self-paced online courses.

 

I want to help you ENJOY your photos again!

 

[read more about me ]