Snap happy

Snap Happy - 7 simple tips for better photos

Tiree Dawson has been part of Impact's marketing team for over 11 years. She is also an award-winning professional photographer, shooting over 80 weddings each year as well as working on a number of commercial projects.

We asked her for some simple top tips to help us all improve the quality of our photos!

Learn to see in 2-D

When I look through the lens I flatten out the image I see and imagine it as a 2-D photograph rather than the actual view in front of me. This helps me to easily spot any potential distractions in the image - a plant behind someone's head, a light switch, an unsightly road sign. If possible I move myself and alter my own perspective to minimise distractions. The second option is to physically move the offending items (not always possible!) and option 3 is to move the subject to somehwere different entirely. My last option is to 'edit them out' in Photoshop - it's always best to get things right in the camera if possible!

 

Be bold with your crops

When it comes to editing, it seems to me that people are often quick to experiment with filters, but forget about the power of cropping an image. Experiment with different compositions - there's always an undo button!

 

Light is vital

I am always thinking about light when I take photos. I'm obessed with it. Whether you are shooting in natural light, shade, or indoors, consider what light forces are at play, and how they are affecting the subject you are shooting. If they are casting it in an unflattering way, then don't be lazy or shy...MOVE! With a bit of effort many subjects can be moved fairly easily to somewhere that has better light and the results will speak for themselves. If you are serious about photography I would advise investing in a reflector - they are cheap, lightweight and easy to use, and help illuminate your subjects beautifully. You can also use a large piece of white card or polystyrene to reflect light well.

Don't fear empty space

Don't make it your default to fill your image with the subject. Some of my favourite images have a whole lot of nothing in them!

Become a critic

Make time to look carefully at images that catch your eye. Analyse what it is that makes them pleasing. Is it the composition? Has the artist/photographer chosen their colours carefully? Have they made unusual use of light, or purposefully broken any rules? How have they connected emotionally with the subject? Remember what you notice and experiment with similar techniques in your own work. Pinterest is a great way to gather images that inspire you.

Change your perspective

Don’t always go for the obvious angle. What would it look like if you shot the scene from directly above? What if you get close to the ground and shoot upwards? Chances are you’ll get a much more original, striking shot.

The best camera you have is the one you have with you

Whether you choose to carry all your best kit around with you, or you need to rely on a smart phone, make sure you have something available to grab each moment. The more you use your camera the more you’ll start to instinctively look for the next photo to take. You’ll soon start seeing beauty that others are quick to miss.

To view more of Tiree's work please click here.