A Hong Kong and London-based photographer who specializes in events and travel photography. Available for hire. Michelle shares her travel photography and writes about her experiences around the world in continents such as America, Asia, and Europe. Michelle is also a contributing writer to online platforms such as Third Culture, where she writes about culture idiosyncrasies and shares her best photography tips.

Top 6 Tips on How to Take Better Pictures (What EVERY Photographer Should Know!)

Check out the full article on Third Culture:

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Everyone’s a photographer. I mean, if you swipe left and blindly tap the bottom of your phone screen and take accidental double-chin selfies, you are, by definition, a photographer. So, in a digital world over-saturated with photographers, how can you stand out from the crowd?

As a Millennial who spends too much time on Instagram, and as a professional who gets hired for photography gigs, it is my pleasure to introduce my top 6 tips for how to take better pictures. These are things that I have learned from years of triumphs and mistakes, and advice that I have gotten from some of the best professionals in the industry.

This article is meant for everyone, both DSLR and iPhone/Android photographers alike, and consists of the absolute essentials that everyone should know. I hope it will take your photo taking skills the NEXT LEVEL. Good luck! 😁


1. * Focus * Without Clutter

I think it’s a waste take a photo without shallow depth of field (unless you’re photographing landscapes). This refers to the blur from out-of-focus subjects, like my friend lurking in the background of the photo below. It creates this ethereal look that we don’t normally get to experience with our mortal human eyes.

This blurring effect is so easy to get. All you have to do is choose something to focus on, then lock onto it with your DSLR or simply tap on your iPhone screen. The closer your camera is to the subject, the more beautiful the blur effect.

So don’t waste your time with trying to capture everything in a photograph. Instead, find that main point of attraction, and focus solely on that.

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2. MOVE! Shoot From a Different Angle

Next time you’re snapping a photo, think about how many people have taken the exact same photo as you. Probably a lot, especially if you’re taking travel photos.

I bet you don’t like that very much, but 90% of people probably don’t give their pictures half a thought. Elevate yourself above the rest of them by thinking about different angles. Squat down (even lie down!), find higher ground, and move around your subjects to find a more interesting point of view.



3. Understand the Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds is the most basic rule in photography. Basically, your photo is divided into 3 sections horizontally and vertically, as shown in the photo below. DSLRs and mobile phones all come with this grid feature to help users with their composition.

Now, place your subject along one (or two) of these intersection points. Bam! Instantly more professional.

This technique has been proven to make photos appear as more “natural” to viewers. This is because our eyes are naturally drawn to these intersection points, rather than the very center of the photo. Therefore, following this rule generally creates more aesthetically pleasing photos.

*Portrait tip: Try adjusting so that your subject’s eye is around the intersection point.



4. Shoot at Sunset

They don’t call it “The Golden Hour” for no reason. If Earth at Sunset were a person, it would be a girl doing duck face... it’s putting on a show for the camera.

At this hour, the sun is casting a soft, warm light on Earth, and the sky is every hue of beautiful. So go on your weather app to check when the sun sets, and make sure you’re out and about around an hour before that time.



5. Go to Beautiful Places

You may be thinking: “DUUUHHH!” But hold up, I have a point. Obviously, it’s easier to take nice pictures when you’re working with a nice-looking subject, but how do you find these places?

You could wander around and get lost in a city/nature, or just Google Search the top Instagram spots in whatever city you’re in. There’s a reason why they’re so popular! Go look at the location’s photos, take inspiration from others, then go capture your own version.😉

“It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.” — Jean-Luc Godard



6. Play with Toys

You can use objects as tools to distort your images and create eye-catching effects. Crystal balls and prisms are pretty popular these days, but other techniques such as holding a mirror or light up to your lens can achieve some pretty cool effects too!



Now go out there and start shooting photos!

Michelle Choi