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  • Writer's pictureKita the Explorer

Beginner’s Guide to Taking Photos

Updated: Mar 5

Me standing in a winery with an orange floral dress

You just came back from the best vacation ever where you took photos to share with your friends and family. Well you get ready to make your first post on Instagram and the photo is TERRIBLE! Well...I won’t let that happen again! Today, I’m going to break down these four tips to help you take the best photos on the go:

  1. Pay attention to lighting

  2. Notice your surroundings

  3. Get the right angle

  4. Do more than a selfie

Keep reading to learn more!

Pay Attention to Lighting

Lighting can make or break your photo! Pay attention to where the sun is shining or where the light is falling from inside a building. If you use the lighting as a way to brighten up your photo, it could make a big difference.

You will want the light shining from behind the camera towards your subject. This allows for the subject to have brightness without using the flash or being shadowed out. Notice the examples of the two photos below that I recently took of myself (myself being the subject).

The first photo the camera is pointing towards the sun causing me to become a shadow. But in the second photo, the sun is behind the camera shining through onto me as the subject. Which one of these photos do you prefer? I will take the second one any day!

Me walking through vineyards

Me posing in the vineyards

Notice Your Surroundings

Sometimes your background isn’t avoidable but the simple movement of the subject could make your photo completely different!

  • For instance, you want to make sure a pole isn’t sticking up out of the top of the subject’s head. This may look like the subject is growing something out of their body.

  • Also, you would want to make sure the subject isn’t blocking the background. For example, you are taking a picture in front of the Eiffel Tower but your body is blocking most of it. This might cause people to wonder what exactly is behind you.

  • Lastly, you will need to pay attention to the colors of the background. You wouldn’t want the colors to clash with the subject or blend together. This could hurt the viewers eyes or make it hard for the viewer to see the subject.

For example, in the first photo below, it appears this lady has antlers growing out of her head. But in moving her slightly to the left or myself (as the photographer) slightly to the right, we now know there is a tree behind her and she isn’t growing antlers. It’s the little things that help!

Client smiling on a bench

Lady smiling on bench without a tree behind her

Get the Right Angle

Angles and positioning can really change how your photo appears. You can take photos from above, below, to the side, far away, up close, and so many other ways which provide a different perspective. And some angles can be more flattering than others. Some angles may change the size of the subject’s body, it may provide unnecessary shadows while others may show deformities you just don’t want people to notice.

Therefore, you may have to take a few shots at different angles when you are out and about just in case one is better than the other.

For example, when visiting the Moulin Rouge last year, I asked one person to take a photo of a friend and I but just in case I asked someone else to take a second photo of me. In the first photo below, yes we are flattering but the Moulin Rouge doesn’t look the best in the background. This is because the person took the photo at the same level as the subjects.

But in the next photo, with the second person’s perspective I was able to get a more flattering look with both myself and the background as this person took the photo from down below. It’s all about perspective!

Me standing in front of the Moulin Rouge in Paris

Me standing in front of the Moulin Rouge in Paris

Do More Than A Selfie

Selfies are excellent in multiple situations. But selfies tend to cut a lot of the background out of the photo if you aren’t careful. Selfies also tend to have a certain angle to the photo. So never be afraid of not taking one! Here are a few ways you can get a photo that is not considered a selfie:

  1. If you are out with other people, ask one of them to take your photo. But obviously this will not work if you all want a photo together.

  2. If you notice someone else taking photos in the same place, ask if they could take a photo of you and in return you can take a photo of them.

  3. Get a tripod or prop your phone or camera on something while recording a video. You can then go back and grab a screenshot of the pose you wanted later. I did that in the photos of myself at the beginning of this article.

  4. Lastly, grab yourself a remote trigger for your camera where you can press the button remotely when no one else is able to do so just like I did in this photo shown below.

Me in a reading nook

Now you are ready to level up your photography game and never have disappointing photos again. Start practicing today to have the best captured memories for years to come.

Kita the Explorer


Unknown member
Sep 15, 2021

Great photography tips, especially on lighting.

Kita the Explorer
Kita the Explorer
Oct 27, 2021
Replying to

I’m glad you like the tips!

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