5 Photography Hacks to Take Your Photos from Womp to Wow

Photography QuoteMany people tend to think that in order to achieve stellar photos you have to have a top-of-the-line camera, a hoard of expensive lenses and suitcase full of amazing accessories. Though those items certainly help, they ultimately mean nothing if you don’t know how to work with them. Sometimes this also translates into simply working with what you have.

So you don’t have a thousand dollar camera? So what?! That’s totally fine. Maybe you have just a stock lens, an old hand-me-down camera or perhaps what’s called a “point and shoot.” Guess what? That’s just fine, too!

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What’s important is knowing the proper settings of what you have on hand (be it an old Sony Cyber-Shot or grandma’s old film Canon), it’s knowing the rules of composition, lighting, ISO and other details that will make your photos better. Below, I have compiled five photography hacks that will help you achieve better photos — no matter what kind of camera you have.

Follow the rule of thirds

Rule of thirds applies to the composition of an image. So what exactly is it? The rule of thirds refers to photo dissection. Take two vertical lines and two horizontal lines and divide your photo up into nine equal squares.

Rule of Thirds Example

The goal in using the rule of thirds is to place your subject, or the focal point, along a vertical or horizontal line and a point of intersection. This creates a classic composition that is easy on the eyes — and it’s easy to achieve no matter what.

Take photos at the right time of day

If there is one thing that will make or break a photo it’s lighting — but not every photographer has fancy lighting equipment to create the perfect effect. Instead, shoot outside. The best times to shoot photos? In the morning or the evening. Try to avoid midday as much as possible because the direct light can be harsh on your subject. If it’s unavoidable, try shooting your subject in the shade.

Evening Light Photography

Hold still

Yes, this seems like a no-brainer, but nobody can hold perfectly still when composing a photo — we all shake. So how do we fix this? A tripod most certainly helps, but they aren’t always practical (who wants to haul one of those everywhere? Not me!).

Your best bet is to use your surroundings to brace yourself or use your body. If you’re near a wall, fence or another sturdy surface, lean against it to balance yourself. If not, brace your elbows against your chest, or, if you’re laying down, rest your camera lens on your fist. Get creative with using your body in different positions and finding a stable way to hold your camera. The difference will surprise you!

Photos With and Without a Tripod

Get to know your camera

Each camera brand has a different set-up, and figuring out what all those buttons and knobs do can be daunting. But becoming familiar with your camera will allow for quick, on-the-fly adjustments. Nothing will force you into missing a great moment like looking down at your camera menu trying to remember where the ISO menu is. Your camera manual is a great starting point for getting a lay of the land, but the more time you spend with your camera, the better you’ll understand it.

Practice, practice, practice!

No one takes their camera out for the first time and captures Ansel Adams–quality photos. It takes practice. Practice applying the rule of thirds, practice shooting in different lighting, practice bracing your camera and practice with your settings — that’s the best photography hack there is.

Don’t know what to shoot for practice? There’s no rule as to what makes a good subject — anything around you will help you learn! But for a little inspiration, join in Crafty’s Photo a Day Challenge!

Get started shooting!


Learn how to get the most from your camera, for photographs that help you build a body of work you’re proud to share and display.Get My FREE Guide »

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