how to take better photographs

I once knew a guy who took the worst photos I've ever seen in my life - and he did it as a profession. He would spend thousands on equipment without knowing a single thing about how to actually capture good images, and his work suffered badly for it. Considering he'd quit his job to do it full-time, his family expected him to actually be able to make an income from it - and yet, most of his work would be unpaid and unwanted, and most importantly, goddam awful. Whilst good equipment is great, being able to take photos people actually want to spend time looking at is so much better - and so, I've pulled together some ways in which you can make your photos more unique and, more importantly, not absolute crap like that photographer.

Plan your timings
Soft colours and different tones often result in some of the best photographs, and I find that if you want to add a small contrast to your photos then shooting either really early in the morning or in the evening can render some of the best lighting - also, there's less likely to be tourists swarming about every corner in the twilight hours.

Yesterday, I flew back from Adeje, and looking back at my photographs some of my favourites have been ones where the mountains are framed with trees, or where door frames obstruct the focus. Mess around with the foreground and background and add depth to your images.

Use a tripod
Especially during long exposure or dark shots, using a tripod is one of the most important things to make your photographs less shaky and more focused. You could take the best photo in the world, but if it's blurred when you look back at it then you'll be hella mad at yourself.

VR and IS
Speaking of shaky images, if you have to take tricky photos handheld, it's definitely useful to learn about VR (Vibration Reduction) and IS (Image Stabilisation), options that most good cameras should have on the body.

Focus on a subject
A photo of, say, a beach, may be great, but adding diversity to an image to enhance the look of it can definitely work in your favour. If a surfer suddenly jumps to the ocean, or a kid's clown is sat entertaining on the sand, getting them in the shot can both make it more interesting and have something to draw your eye to.

Get on the ground
Different angles can be used to shape up images. If you're walking down an old street full of cobbles, getting down low to get in the whole scene would help enhance the image, along with if you were to get close to action such as ocean waves or lavender fields.

Use sh*t weather to your advantage
Don't be put off by bad weather conditions, as you often find that they could add an atmosphere to a photo. I went to the Lake District and the stormy skies overhead looked so much better than if it were clear and blue, and are definitely more intriguing than a lot of the shots I shot there in the sun.

Always be prepared, don't leave the house without your camera
You miss out on 100% of shots you don't take - and it's kinda hard to shoot when your camera is in the back of the car.

Ask the locals for good spots
After all, they have probably lived there for years and scoped out some pretty good locations. Whilst guide books and research can hint at some good locations, actually going out and getting lost will give you so much more variety than your average tourist.

Shoot in front of the tourist
Looking back at photos I took years back, I'm so mad that I took some great photos but with a tourist wielding a smart phone in the corner or a group of people jogging past when they're blocking what I'm trying to photograph. Shoot in front of the rogue tourists, instead of getting them in view. If all else fails, Photoshop is great for editing out the odd arm or crouching Englishman.

Editing is your friend!
Speaking of which, editing photographs can be useful in so many ways. Ever seen a photo of the Aurora Borealis, with the vibrant greens stretching across the sky? Yeah, they didn't really look like that. Subtly enhancing colours and themes can really make a photo pop, and will work in your favour if you're careful not to go overboard.

Shoot in RAW
One of my friend's father's is a photographer, and on a trip away with his family he taught me that shooting with JPEG and the like make it so much harder to edit at a later date, and will obstruct the quality of the overall image. Whilst it may take up more memory, shooting in RAW is a sacrifice you will be glad you made.

Learn how to use a camera
If only that photographer I mentioned at the start actually knew how to use his equipment, eh? Learning the ins and outs of your camera is one of the most important things you can do - don't just shoot on automatic!

Be Patient
Here's an example of me not following my own advice, but I really admire people who spends hours waiting to catch the perfect sunset or a bird taking flight, and I love photos like that. After all, patience is a virtue, right?

I only mentioned this because I adore POV shots! I can't remember the name of the couple that shoots all their shots with their hands holding in the shot, but they're some of my favourites and I can always tell when a photo belongs to them. Add a voice to your photos and give the viewer something to relate to.

Stalk the web and magazine for inspiration
Think Pinterest, Wanderlust mag, National Geographic's Instagram. I spend so many hours just scouring the pages of photographers I love, and I've easily learnt a thing or two from just that. At the very least, you'll end up with a massive list of places you want to go to.

Layer your images
I mentioned earlier about introducing a foreground to your images, but layering in other ways is also important. Say a mountain range, sometimes it'd so much more interesting to see four of five peaks in alignment than just one long summit. Many different layers can really enhance an image.

Get lost
Ditch the map and bugger off to some backstreet a sunscreen-slathered tourist wouldn't even dream of venturing to for more unique shots.

Hone basic photography skills
Think about the Rule of Thirds, utilising light, etc. Angles and editing is all great, but some prior knowledge to what people find most aesthetically pleasing is also good. I took a photography class for two years, and whilst I will probably never use a lot of what I learnt, it's good to understand how it all works.

Change the perspective and experiment!
Finally, experiment! That's the best. Does the focus reflect off a mirror? Is there a hole in the wall that overlooks the subject? Some vine leaves snake into the shot? Go wild, photography is one of the most fun forms of art, and changing things around and messing about is what makes it so great. If you can't enjoy doing it, what's the point? Even if you're like the crap photographer I mentioned earlier and your images are super grim, so long as you've enjoyed it, its been worth it. Although, don't expect others to praise you on it.


  1. Great tips

  2. It is sad but true - the most expensive camera equipment does not make one a photographer. There is a skill to it!!! I could go on a rant for hours about this subject matter. But I won't :) You have so many great tips, Amy. Definitely start by learning about the camera you using, and play around with the setting. Your friend's dad's advice about shooting RAW is another good one. Practice does make it better! Your images are stunning. Thank you for sharing.


  3. wow!! fantastic tips and photos
    New post up in my Lifestyle Blog !

  4. Hey there, hope you're having an awesome week!

    Did you took all of these pictures?! Let me tell you that they are beyond AMAZING and look like images that could appear on a travel/photography magazine!

    I really need to improve my photo skills, promise to practice all these tips on my upcoming trip out of the city and I agree with you: to play and to experiment is the most important part not only of photography but also in illustration, music, visual arts, etc. Also shooting in RAW is another important thing you said, the bad thing about it is the space a RAW picture occupies in the hard drive, but despite that it is a great way to improve or even save a photography!

    Have a nice week and thanks for the inspiration :D

  5. Recently I have read an article over a subject of pictures and how does experience and skill affect it. 5 amateurs were given the best cameras ever and 5 photographers were given the worst equipment possible. Not surprisingly for me the professionals made so much better pictures, that you couldnt even see the difference in equipment... Great article :)

  6. Awesome photography, dear! Love every bit of it! xoxo

  7. These are great tips! I love taking pictures and finding new ways to take better ones makes me feel happy inside. And you're definitely right, perfect camera equipment won't leave you with good pictures unless you can use it. These are all beautiful pictures, by the way!

  8. these are super great tips! I cant believe someone was wanting to be a photographer without knowing how to use a camera properly that is awe striking to me!
    Love the post
    Isabelle xx

  9. I see you are really a pro and your tips are highly appreciated! Hopefully they will make my pictures better now :)
    With love from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

  10. It's so important to KNOW your camera and it's capabilities. It takes practicing and understanding many different components. This was a great post! It touched on so many important areas. Great job!

  11. That's terrible to quit a job to do something else and be awful at it. :( But love your tips!

  12. This is so helpful! I'll have to bookmark it because Ben and I are really trying to up our photography skills. There's just so much to think about! But practice definitely helps.
    Thanks for the awesome tips!

    Susie |

  13. Wonderful tips! I started shooting in raw last year and I'm never going back! The quality is too good!

  14. Great post! I want to get a camera, because I plan on traveling a lot more, and even in my job, I see some neat things that would make good photos.

    What camera do you use? Did you take all these shots posted? they're amazing!

    1. Jana, thank you! I use a Nikon D5300 with the basic 18-55mm lens, and yes I did :)

  15. Yass thank you :) I have started to just take photos with my phone (I buy my phones with the most important feature being the camera in the selection process), but I do want to get back into taking manual photographs soon... I've taken photography classes, but at this point, it's been so long that I need a refresher just to even set up anything! For how much I love taking photos, I sure like taking the lazy route! (Using a camera phone.)
    I definitely struggle with the framing of the scene. I don't want to take a photo of the same thing that 103984092850934 other people have taken (especially at tourist locations)... I want it to be an original, and something I took that stands out from the rest. Because if it's just "the same composition" as everyone else's, there's always someone who's a lot better at it than I am...
    Going to try to pick up the camera more in 2018 :)

  16. These are great tips! I personally adore IS because I have naturally shaky hands so this is a feature I prefer in lenses (though it's a rarity these days). I find myself butchering my photos more during the editing process. I've just started using Lightroom and having trouble getting used to it from Photoshop. And it's obvious because my photos have suffered as I've attempted to tweak here and there.


  17. I love good photography and I hope to get a professional camera 📷 soonest for my blog

    Glowyshoes's blog

  18. These are some really good tips. My camera died on me and I still haven't replace it so for now I'm making do with a cellphone camera and a yoga tablet- these two are ok but they can't replace a proper cam. I do agree that one needs to know about photo equipment- and taking good photos is no walk in a park. Sometimes we get lucky, but most of time it is about working for it and carrying our cam everywhere!

    I do agree that bad weather often makes for amazing camera shots.

  19. Thanks so much for all the incredibly useful tips, I definitely agree with getting low and using a tripod!
    Have a lovely day :)
    Rosanna x
    Rose's Rooftop

  20. This goes to show why your photographs are so incredible....such fabulous information Amy-Anne!!
    I really need to get a tripod and learn to use my camera better....

  21. so great post and this pictures that you added here are amazing :-)

  22. Great tips!!
    Mónica Sors

  23. Thanks for the tips! It took me and my husband forever to figure out the perfect time to take pictures for the light to be the most flattering. I always think lighting is one of the biggest battles

    Have a great week!
    Carly at A Modern Mom Blog

  24. I'd love to improve my photography and these are such great detailed tips! I love POV shots too and definitely want to start shooting in raw more often!
    Amy xx

  25. Absolutely amazing tips and photos!

  26. Expensive equipment can take a lot of research and practice to figure it out, I've found as well. I have started shooting some images in RAW and I love using Adobe Lightroom. These are all such great tips!


  27. Such great tips, thanks for sharing!! Love all your photos!!
    xx- Nina

  28. Really amazing tips, I've been trying to up my photography skills lately and I think these will really come in handy. I would love it if you posted another post about the basic photography skills you mentioned! Great post!

    Olga from Myme

  29. Your pics are really great! I use some hacks you told in your post. But not all, so I can learn a bit more ;) My dad and I love to shoot and go to photo-safaris :D

    Oh great, thanks a lot. Where are you come from that you can understand german?

    You have to be positiv that after lovesickness, because life is much better when you're happy and when you're not happy you can't find the real love ;)

  30. These are wonderful tips! I'm really big on framing shots - especially when I have my fiancé take photos of me in it... he needs help with framing xD Also, I have heard that shooting in RAW is better in the long run but I have yet to try it out to be honest.

    cabin twenty-four

  31. That story you opened with gave me a good chuckle ;p Good equipment is great but good timing and composition are even more important. These tips are wonderful because they're not only practical but doable. I'm always telling people to read their camera manuals and get completely familiar with their equipment.

  32. Excellent tips!! I have recently started to understand more about photography and my camera and I'm having so much fun experimenting! Also with editing, I can now see how some of my photos improve a lot in regards to colors and lighting! :)

    Have a great week!


    Seize your Style

  33. Wow amazing photos! Great tips!


    Linda from Beauty And Tips

  34. Loved this post! Your photogrpahy is INSANEEE

    Ellie xx

  35. What a brilliant post and so true! A friend once asked me for advice on what the best camera and lens was to buy... He went out and bought 2nd hand gear and all of a sudden he was a "pro" photographer dishing out advice too all and sundry and selling his services. Yet his photos were off colour and certainly not framed well.

  36. These are such great tips! I totally agree that it is not always about the's about how one uses the camera to create better photos! Thanks for sharing!

  37. Completely agree with you - you need more than just good gear for great photography. Fantastic tips!

    Miriam x

  38. Yup Yup Yup, all great advice! As a photographer, I agree with everything. It's a lot about just getting out there and practicing too!


  39. I don't have a camera but I am planning in getting one soon, but for now I am taking all my photos with my phone. Not the best option and I am not happy about them but I am learning every day. Buying a tripod was the best thing!


  40. These photographs are absolutely amazing!!
    And we love all the tips!
    Saving this post for later :D

  41. Great tips!
    Have a nice week!
    Gil Zetbase

  42. great tips! and i kind of feel sorry for the guy you once knew. that is really unfortunate!

  43. Loving these tips! I've been wanting take better photos especially when I go on my travels and want to write up posts. I really to invest in a new camera as well. All of the things!

    Thanks for posting, and I'll be bookmarking this post for future reference!

    The Invisible Child

  44. Thank you for sharing all of these excellent tips! I am heading into a double degree in Graphic Design and Photography later this month and very excited to learn more about photography and improve my skills.

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who call themselves photographers but do not have a lot of knowledge or skill. I took some photographs for a family members wedding (for free), and they were better quality than the paid photographer (who kept copying the angles I was taking).

    In reply to your comment:
    Please do not think that my photographs are better than yours! We are all at different stages of learning, have access to various resources and approach photography with a unique perspective. I still have A LOT to learn. I use Adobe Lightroom to edit my photographs. :D

  45. I love your photography. Thanks for sharing you're tips, they're fab. I need to put some of these in place.

    Corinne x

  46. Some really great advice in this post! Framing is one of my favourite tips here, a huge part of photography absolutely relies on decent composition. Ooh, you *know* I have a special place in my heart for editing...

    Great post Amy, so happy to see/read/hear you're enjoying photography so much! Have a lovely weekend babe :)

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice | Worldwide Giveaway: Hotel Chocolat Valentine's Heart Chocolate Box! x

  47. Thank you for these great tips. One if my goals this year is to take better quality photography.