Photography tips for amateurs

You don’t need years of training and a fancy camera to take great shots, all you need is a little smart thinking.

Brush up on your photography skills and try out a few of our top tips to start taking better pictures right away – even with just a smartphone!

Understand the basics of composition

The composition of your photograph is the way that all of the elements are arranged within the frame.  Every time you pick up your camera or smartphone and take a shot, you are consciously (or unconsciously!) choosing your composition – and some compositions are more pleasing to the eye than others.

The best way to pick good compositions is to remember the rule of thirds. Imagine that your frame is broken into nine equal squares then try and align your photo so that the major elements run along the lines these squares make. That way, rather than always putting your subject dead centre, you can find more imaginative ways to frame your shot.

Pay attention to the light (and the flash)

Your camera will try and work hard to help you get the right kind of lighting in your shot but sometimes, you’re better off taking the matter into your own hands. If you’re shooting in low lighting, your camera or smartphone might automatically add a flash – but this can remove the nuances you’re trying to capture.

Conversely, if you’re taking a picture of a monument in the day light, your camera will probably turn your flash off but by using it, you might be able to include some great details.

Be prepared to manually turn your flash on and off and experiment with which options works best in different lights.

Watch out for standing too close to your subject when you’re using a flash too, or you might end up bleaching out features.

Use a tripod or selfie stick and steady your shot

If lots of your photos are coming out as a bit of a blur, it might be time to invest in a tripod or selfie stick.

From large tripods great for landscape shots to pocket-sized versions you can pop down on any flat surface, there’s an option for every photographer. This will help you keep your camera level and help you produce a smoother result.

It’s also worth checking whether your digital camera has a ‘steady hands’ mode. This helps to compensate for any shaking your hands might be doing, allowing you to concentrate on taking your pictures rather than worrying about tremors.

The best way to improve your photography skills is to simply get a lot of practice and happily, in the days of digital cameras, you can view the results quickly and easily without having to pay to print all of them!

What are your top photography tips? 

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Rachel - Silversurfers Assistant Editor

Hello there! I’m Rachel and I’m the Assistant Editor for Silversurfers. I work behind the scenes to bring interesting, informative and entertaining subject matter to the Silversurfers community. I hope you enjoy the features we have shared with you. Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with us, we love to hear from you!

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20th Feb 2019
Thanks for voting!
I bought my camera a couple of years ago and haven`t really used it much can some one please explain what the terms RAW and jpeg mean Also if I split a photo into three are we talking about top to bottom or side to side? Any tips would be appreciated thanks,
Thanks for voting!
thank you Rachel as I suffer from shaking due to a mild form of Parkinsons these tips are a great help to me.
6th Feb 2017
Thanks for voting!
I couldn't possibly comment on any tips! I am new to this love. Practice certainly one of the most important. My subjects don't stand still for long, ponies move off, the dog wants to walk etc. I see so many older people taking photographs, I often wonder if they are a Silversurfers!
20th Feb 2016
Thanks for voting!
Hi is there someone out there who can
Give me some advice on setting up
A Tom Tom bandit action camera on
An iPad-pro tablet
I have spent a lot of time on YouTube and
Google ' hence a little bit of advice would be appreciated
21st Jan 2015
Thanks for voting!
have noticed that most photograpy magazines,
have got pages about raw images. what is wrong with a

high quality jaypeg.
12th Feb 2015
Thanks for voting!
A good photograph is a good photograph be it JPEG or Camera RAW format but if you want to make post camera adjustments RAW is far more forgiving, JPEG modifies the picture taken and compresses it to save space and there are always going to be losses due to the algorithm used for compression whereas a RAW file is unprocessed data and relies on the photographer to do post-production using photoshop or other application to create the mood, colour balance, sharpening and contrast as the photographer wants it to be seen, it is mainly down to flexibility, also some commercial purchasers of images prefer RAW for the same reasons.
19th Jun 2015
Thanks for voting!
If you're just taking snaps:
to print with no alteration, to put on the internet etc. then jpegs are fine.
The problems potentially start because jpegs are what's called a "lossie" file, which means every time you copy them from the original jpeg to (e.g.) a cd, then from that cd to another cd/computer etc., you lose information/detail in that image.
With a RAW file you can make a copy, then copy the copy etc without losing any information/detail.
Ideally it's best to shoot in RAW, do any alterations/manipulations etc, then make a jpeg...before you print/upload etc...this way you can always go back to the original RAW file as your "master" image.
Stephen Hollin
10th Jan 2015
Thanks for voting!
Lets have a competition !
Thanks for voting!
This is something we have been thinking about lately Stephen. I will see what we can organise 😉
11th Dec 2014
Thanks for voting!
I feel that most amateur photographers simply take their photos too quickly. If they spent more time looking for the best angle and background their shots would improve so much more.

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