7 Essential Photography Tips (That Will Make You Look Like a Pro)

7 Essential Photography Tips (That Will Make You Look Like a Pro)

Perhaps this series of tips and tutorials should be called “things I wish I had been told when I was starting out”!

Improving your skills in photography, styling and design should start with these 7 essential photography tips. They lay the foundation for good image making and they will make your images look more professional.

Become familiar with these 7 essential photography tips, and make a point of looking at, being inspired by and learning from the pros who have mastered them. I’ve included examples from my favourite content creators, photographers and stylists over on Instagram.


No. 1 Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds refers to dividing a picture into thirds, horizontally and vertically. The most important elements of your composition should be placed along the left or right vertical thirds and/or the top and bottom horizontal thirds. Your ‘power points’ are where your lines intersect and where the visual magic can happen.

@juliawiszowata example of rule of thirds

@juliawiszowata example of rule of thirds

Rule-of-thirds-explained.gif

No. 2 Symmetry

Symmetry is achieved when elements are arranged in the same way on both sides of an axis. Symmetry adds a natural balance to a design that is very pleasing to the eye and very easy to achieve in your own imagery. Usually, you’ll find the point of interest is placed in the centre of a picture.

@anniset example of symmetry

@anniset example of symmetry

No. 3 Asymmetry

Asymmetry is achieved when elements balance due to the contrast in their placement. A simple example would be a large square placed on one side of an axis balanced by a small circle on the other side.

@drcuerda example of asymmetry

@drcuerda example of asymmetry

No. 4 USE OF COLOUR

Less is always more with colour. By using a limited colour palette, for example no more than 3 colours or using a variety of tones from only 1 colour, you’ll make images that are really visually satisfying. It’s also worth noting, that if you want to create a consistent Instagram feed, use the same colour palette in all of your images.

@teresacfreitas uses a lovely pastel colour palette.

@teresacfreitas uses a lovely pastel colour palette.

@erinsummer_ great use of colour

@erinsummer_ great use of colour

No. 5. NEGATIVE SPACE

This is my particular favourite composition design rule. Negative space is all about the empty spaces around and between objects. It can be used to create minimal or highly creative images.

@georgiestclair creative use of negative space

@georgiestclair creative use of negative space

@creativekipi colourful example of negative space

@creativekipi colourful example of negative space

No. 6. ODD NUMBERS

Unless you are creating symmetry, use odd numbers in your composition. Odd numbers of objects create visual interest. My favourites are 1, 3 and 5. For example, 1 person, 3 pots, 5 (of the same) flowers etc.

@tanitam_design example of using odd numbers in styling

@tanitam_design example of using odd numbers in styling

@c_colli example of using odd numbers in photograph

@c_colli example of using odd numbers in photograph

No. 7. LEADING LINES/DIAGONALS

Leading lines add depth and perspective to an image. They help lead your viewers eye to the main subject matter. They can be literal lines such as pathways, railings, lines of trees or a row of objects. Or invisible diagonal lines, where objects line up with an invisible diagonal line, that leads to the main subject matter of your image.

@hannahargyle example of literal leading lines in photography

@hannahargyle example of literal leading lines in photography

@marthabrookldn example of invisible leading lines/diagonals in styling and photography

@marthabrookldn example of invisible leading lines/diagonals in styling and photography

There’s no secret to these 7 essential photography tips. They will lay the foundation for all of your photography and image making moving forward. When you get really proficient you can have fun breaking them!


What is your favourite visual rule? Let me know or if you have any questions about these 7 essential photography tips, do let me know.

If you would like to learn more about photography and styling for social media, join us at one of our workshops in Brighton.

Source images all found on Instagram. See the image caption for the artist and follow their beautiful accounts for inspiration!


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7 essential photography tips that will make you look like a pro