How To Not Take Trash Photos: 12 Tips From Professional Photographers

How To Not Take Trash Photos: 12 Tips From Professional Photographers
Image: Getty

With increasingly impressive cameras being built into our phones, it’s interesting to think about how we perceive photos in 2018. We’re all photographers, to an extent.

But what about those who want to take it a little more seriously, grow their skill set or work towards photography as a career — but aren’t sure where to start? Obviously there’s a lot more to it than pressing a button and throwing a filter on, so I chatted to some professional photographers to mine them for their best tips to help get you started.

Lauren Bath

Lauren is a travel photographer who was also Australia’s first professional Instagrammer, making her a pioneer in the Australian influencer landscape. She shoots a myriad of subjects, including landscapes, wildlife, people, cities and everything in between.

In addition to having a large and impressive client list, Lauren also works as a social media consultant for major industry bodies,

What are your 3 top tips for new photographers?

1. Learn how to work your camera! I know that it seems obvious, but I have always been a big believer of knowing your camera inside and out, whether it’s a smart phone camera or a high-end digital camera. Knowing its capabilities will free up time to work on your creative.

2. Practice a LOT! I love the expression “The more I practice the luckier I get” because it is so true! With digital photography being the new normal there’s no excuse not to practice.

3. Be vigilant about backing up your work. The sooner you set systems in place, the sooner you won’t have to worry about losing your work. I use the Western Digital My Passport Wireless SSD to back up all of my RAW images and I always keep two full sets on different devices.

What is your go-to camera and lens setup?

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and probably the 12-40 f2.8 pro lens.

What was your first camera?

Nikon D7000, but before that it was an iPhone 4.

You can see more of Lauren’s work over on her Instagram.

Michael Coyne

Image: Michael Coyne

Michael is a documentary photographer, author and keynote Speaker who covers international social issues. His work has appeared in publications across the world such as Time, National Geographic, New York Times, Smithsonian, Vogue and Sports Illustrated.

What are your 3 top tips for new photographers?

1. Know and understand your camera equipment before you start taking photographs. If you don’t you will spend more time worrying about the camera than shooting images.

2. When photographing people, focus on their eyes. It’s the area of the face we look at when talking to people, and it’s the eyes we first look at in a people photograph.

3. When photographing an event, arrive early and stay late. A lot of the best pictures happen before the event begins or after the show is over.

What is your go-to camera and lens setup?

My current favourite camera is the Fujifilm XPro-2 which I use with an 18mm lens.

What was your first camera?

The first real camera I owned was a Nikon F film camera.

You can see more of Michael’s work over on his Instagram.

Andrew Hall

Image: Andrew Hall

Andrew is a Sydney-based photographer who specialises in motorsport, portraiture and landscapes. His website beautifully summarises how he, and many photographers truly feel about the art.

“In a world populated by computer-manipulated hybrid imagery, it’s important not to lose sight of what makes photography truly singular, magical and timeless.

To me, now, more than ever, photography is about the moment; capturing and preserving forever the purity of that instant, whether it’s a fraction of a second or a two minute exposure. This new direction is as old as the hills. It begins with an idea. Then it’s a combination of beauty, authenticity and harmony, with that wonderful element of chance thrown in for good measure.

Blink and you’ll miss it.”

What are your 3 top tips for new photographers?

1. Familiarise yourself with the basic photographic compositional rules (Rule of Thirds etc), understand why they work and use them – but don’t be afraid to break them!

2. Keep it simple. Don’t over complicate the setup or overthink portraiture poses. Less is often more!

3. Join a camera club. It’s a great opportunity to learn from others. Share ideas and be introduced to other photographic genres that you may not have attempted before.

What is your go-to camera and lens setup?

Fujifilm X100F

What was your first camera?

The first SLR camera was a Ricoh XR7 in 1982

You can see more of Andrew’s work over on his Instagram.

Rob Mulally

Rob is a freelancer photographer and content creator from Sydney. Ever since buying a camera and quitting his job he has been successfully working on social media projects and campaigns.

Rob started in his photography career on his phone, so his tips are geared towards budding mobile photographers out there. He believes that learning on your phone is a good first step before deciding if you really need a camera.

“I learned so much on my phone and the ease and accessibility helped me learn at a rapid pace, I didn’t have any excuses like time/laptop etc as I could edit while waiting for a meeting or bus.”

Editor’s Note: I met Rob on a trip to India with Ford last year. He took a cool photo of me:

What are your 3 top tips for new photographers?

1. Get down low! Go Crazy! Mirrors. Windows. Reflection puddles — all these things you can put your phone near to help get some crazy perspectives. Sometimes a unique angle at sunset or sunrise is all you need to get an interesting image.

Silhouettes can also be a great way to compose images — especially against against a beautiful sky. On phones you won’t have some of the Dynamic Range of bigger cameras (the dark and bright parts in one shot). Don’t fight this. Work with it and you will learn about composition and even the human form if you ask someone to stand in a shot for you. I still use that knowledge now with a camera.

2. Edit and crop. Learning to edit on your phone (especially using a tool like Adobe Lightroom Mobile) means you’re learning all the names/slides/tools that you can use on your laptop later. Every photo you edit and crop will make you notice what you can improve next time.

3. If you have a phone like the Galaxy s9+ you can go into pro mode and take control of the shots, that can help you get more accurate timing and exposure control.

What is your go-to camera and lens setup?

I have two cameras — Sony A7Riii and Lumix G9

You can see more of Rob’s work over on his Instragram or check out his video Should I buy A Camera?

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