how to take good photos
Many struggle their best to take aesthetic photos during their time aboard. However, influencers make it look easy. Source: AFP

Travel influencers show us a world that is so vastly different from what we experience. The reason? Their impressive photo-taking skills.

Whether it’s getting that perfect photo showing off their outfits in front of a majestic waterfall or capturing the most breathtaking view of the Alps, there are skills that come into play when we talk about how to take good photos.

First things first: you don’t need to be a professional photographer or an influencer to take good photos of yourself and others; you simply need to equip yourself with the right tools. 

From the equipment to the editing apps you use, these tools are key in producing the best photo possible. 

Professionals recommend cameras that capture quality images and offer manual settings to enable creative options, such as DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, point-and-shoot cameras, and film cameras. 

However, they are not always the most economical option, so we can settle for the next best choice: our phones. While many argue that the latest iPhone Pro Max is ideal for taking high-quality photos, any phone with a camera works. 

Camera aside, post-editing is essential in any photographer’s workflow.

This process involves retouching, adjusting colours and lighting, removing unwanted objects, adding special effects or filters and editing and enhancing photos, resulting in a polished, professional-looking final photo.

You can easily access these processes with apps using your phone. Some notable ones are:

  • VSCO 
  • Lightroom
  • Foodie
  • MeituPic
  • Dazz Cam

Now, let’s get into the specifics of how to take good photos.

how to take good photos

Like the golden ratio, the rule of thirds is essential in capturing good photos as it creates balance and aesthetic compositions. Source: AFP

How to take good photos of yourself or of other people:

1. Perfect your composition 

The rule of thirds — a rule preached by photographers, influencers, and content creators alike.

Similar to the golden ratio, the rule is a composition guideline that suggests placing your subject in the left or right third of your image instead of in the center.

Imagine dividing the frame into three equal parts: top, middle, and bottom, or left, middle, and right. The subject should be at the intersection of the third line on your photo or at least close to it. Abiding by this rule helps balance pictures, adding to that aesthetic look you’re seeking. 

And if you have trouble figuring out the lines of the rule, don’t worry. The best part about modern cameras and smartphones is that they have a built-in grid gesture to help you apply the rule of thirds. iPhone users can easily set up the grid by going to Settings, selecting Camera, and enabling the “Grid” option under Composition.

@davidsuhHow to never run out of poses: the 7 Posing Points♬ Never run out of poses – David Suh

2. Angles and poses

Using varied angles and poses makes your photos appear more dynamic. If you constantly use the same angles and poses, your photos might not look very interesting. So, change them up to give life to your photos. 

Incorporating different angles into your photos is easier than you think. Start by tilting your chin, head, and body in various positions to see what works best for the shot. Alternatively, you can experiment by moving the camera and exploring high, low, and side angles.

It’s as simple as the A, B, and C’s. Don’t be afraid to play around and find the most flattering angles for your features.

The difficulty of poses can vary as posing in public can be intimidating due to the fear of judgement from others. The intimidation can make it challenging to feel confident and relaxed, which is essential for a good photo. If you’re shy but want to spice up your photos, we know someone who can help you master the best poses. 

David Suh, TikTok star and photographer, has taken TikTok by storm with his tutorials on engaging your posing game. He has videos on how to be photogenic, the couple posing guide, three poses for your inner baddie, and how not to pose at the beach for hot girl summer.

how to take good photos

The golden hour is the best form of lighting for photography. Source: AFP

3. Proper lighting

Lighting is one of the first factors that comes to mind when discussing how to take good photos. 

It determines not only the brightness or darkness of your pictures but also the mood, tone, and atmosphere. It can make or break your photos, whether you’re taking selfies or pictures of others, which means you should always consider how lighting works when you’re taking photos. 

Natural lighting, such as the golden hour, is often the best. This period occurs shortly after sunrise or before sunset, providing a soft, warm, flattering light for most subjects. In the same vein, harsh sunlight can make your photos look severe.

“Afternoon sun is often the strongest, most direct light — therefore also features the harshest shadows and most unflattering colours,” writes a commenter on Quora. “The shadow will typically fall below your subject, where it’s of little value to your composition.”

Overhead lighting, like fluorescent lighting, also causes unwanted shadows on faces, especially under the eyes and noses. When indoors, switch the overhead lighting off and use lamps instead. If that’s unavoidable, use your flash. 

Hence why, you would see influencers or photographers using lighting equipment when taking photos, like camera flashes and hand-held compact LED lights for phones. Being in control of the lighting, even artificial, makes photos picturesque. 

how to take good photosChanging your angles by trying different levels, creating depth, and showcasing scale can level up your photos. Source: AFP

How to take good photos of the view: 

1. Change up your angles 

Changing your angles when taking landscape photos can mean many things, but it usually boils down to these three principles: avoid keeping everything at eye level, create depth, and showcase scale. 

Shooting eye-level photos is common, but this can result in bland, typical shots. You can move your camera and explore with different heights and angles.

For example, when you’re by a lake, try bringing your camera down low, close to the water, to capture both the landscape and its reflection. This perspective can add a unique element to your photos.

Creating depth can help tell a story. While many would use the wide-angle lens to capture the entire landscape, this approach can sometimes overlook the final details of the scenery.

Instead, try zooming in on specific elements, such as trees in the background or waves crashing against rocks at the base of the cliff. Focusing on these details can create a more intimate photo.

Showcasing the scale of the landscape can be tricky, but this simple technique can help convey its beauty.

To capture the size of a mountain, for instance, place a human subject next to it in the frame and adjust the zoom on your phone or camera. This comparison helps show the vastness of the landscape in contrast to the human. 

how to take good photos

The time of day can affect how your photos turn out. Source: AFP

2. Choosing the time of day

This tip ties back to the importance of proper lighting; the time of day can significantly influence the mood and tone of your photos.

Since sunlight is your primary lighting source, choosing the appropriate time of day is essential for capturing a good photo. For instance, imagine photographing a cliffside with stunning dark blue waves crashing against it.

The best time for this shot would be during the day, with daylight illuminating the cliffs. You can get a clear shot of the rocks and waves below without the scene appearing too dark. 

Now consider a mountainside. Photographers typically prefer to capture the scene during golden hour, sunrise, and sunset. These times provide softer, more flattering light than the harsh midday sun, which creates unwanted shadows and contrasts. 

how to take good photos

Tripods will be a lifesaving tool during your travels abroad. Source: AFP

3. Invest in a tripod

Many believe that simply holding their phone or camera is enough when taking photos of landscapes. However, if you observe influencers or photographer, you can often see them using a tripod during their shoots.

A tripod is necessary for camera users familiar with adjusting their shutter speeds and ISO when taking photos in low-light conditions. Using one helps minimise shaking and prevent photos from becoming blurry when using slower shutter speeds. Even though smartphones now come with night mode, they still require the device to remain still to capture the perfect picture. 

Additionally, you won’t always have flat surfaces to prop your camera or phone on. Ensure the tripod you’re getting is solid and stable — it should support your camera or phone even when it’s windy.