Tips on taking better photos

Tips on taking better photos

This is not a technical in depth specification going into focal lengths and ISO’s.

This is more about where to position your camera to get different views of the items you are photographing.

Think about the whole aspect of the picture you are taking. What’s in the background and also in the foreground as well as the image plane (the item you are focusing on). Make sure there are no poles sticking out of peoples heads, wonky horizons (if you are taking a scenic shot). If you are taking a photo with a busy background – try to simply it by moving yourself or if possible move the subject to a slightly different position.


Think about your composition. Adding a bit of dynamism into your photo will make it more interesting. If you look at the six pictures here you will see that we have used items to drawn your eyes into the photo, like the gondola in the foreground of the Venice shot, the wooden fence in the lake shot, the road in the New York shot, and the rocks in the sea shot. We’ve also used different perspectives to get interesting shots like the roof shot of the Sacre Coeur or the underside of the Forum arch.

Experiment with shutter speeds to get light trails or blurs – like the New York shot.

If you don’t have a tripod with you (we don’t usually take one on holiday), use a wall, bench or the floor to give your camera a solid surface to sit on.

Take as many photos as you can.

There’s nothing worse than getting home and realising that the photos you’ve taken are have something wrong with them. Also think about the time of day you need to get the best photo. The image we took from the Empire State Building at sunset was amazing but I wish we have been stood on top of the Rockefeller Center instead so we could get the Empire State Building in the shot. We did try to get to the top of the Rockefeller at sunset but by the time we got through their queuing system the sun had already set.

Gondola and Rialto Bridge
Lake District
Sacre Coeur
NYC - City street at night
Empire State Building
Eiffel Tower

Tall Buildings or Objects

If you are taking a photograph of a tall building – like a bell tower or a skyscraper; stand near to the building and look straight up the building to get a foreshortened perspective like this Empire State Building photo. Or turn your camera slightly diagonally to get the building in your shot like the photo taken of San Gimignano towers. Other examples are the Obelisk in Rome and the Eiffel Tower which was taken using a shoulder to steady the camera. You could even use this principle for photographing people.

Creating unusual viewpoints

Look through other objects to get a different point of view and add some interest to your shot.

The two photos taken in New York show a view of the Empire State Building in the distance taken from the top of the Rockefeller Centre, the viewfinder helps frame the view. The night photo of the Rockefeller building is shot through fairy lights that adorn the trees around the Rockefeller Center,

The Musee d’orsay clock was interesting as the Louvre could be seen through the glass dial. It was something we stumbled across while visiting the cafe area.

The Brooklyn Bridge shot was taken while having a rest on the bridge, we just looked back to the Manhattan skyline and saw this interesting shot of the bridge cables in the foreground.

The Prague canal shot was taken under a bridge which nicely frames the shot.

The mumbles pier looked like it has seen better days, most people would try and make sure the distressed part was not in the frame but we think it added texture as another element to the story of the photo.

Empire State Building
World Trade Centre
Prague canal
Rockefeller Centre
Musee D'Orsay
Chrysler Building at night
Empire State Building
NYC - City street at night

Night shots

Night time photos are difficult to take and if you are not using a compact camera on auto or the night setting, you really need to experiment with your camera to understand what setting are suitable. Take as many photos as you need to get the right shot, you can always delete them. You might need a remote shutter release unit so you don’t touch the camera during long exposures.

Times Square
Santa Justa Lift at night
La Torre e Iglesia de Santa Catalina at night
New York at night

Have a bit of fun with your photos.

If they don’t work – delete them. These two images were just for fun, the one of Naples was taken from the plane as we took off, and the Statue of Liberty looked like a trinket on top of the viewfinder.

Statue of Liberty

Sean Duggan gives some great hints and tips on how to take better landscape photos on his website.


All images are copyright of PBKphotos