How to Take Great Photographs

Anyone can snap a blurry picture of a friend standing in front of a tourist attraction, but with just a little more effort, you can take great shots.


Up next in Photography Tips & Techniques (41 videos)

Capture your subject in the best light with these photography tips that cover everything from nature and still-life photography to fashion photography.

You Will Need

  • A camera
  • A flash (optional)


  1. Step 1

    Shoot level with subject

    Shoot level with your subject. Being too far above or below can make your shot impersonal and less interesting.

  2. Step 2

    Avoid busy backgrounds

    Keep your subject away from complicated, detailed and distracting backgrounds, even those found naturally.

  3. Watch out for objects that could look like they're connected to your subject, like a tree that appears to grow from their head!

  4. Step 3

    Move in close

    Don't be afraid to move in close. You're looking for the most interesting angle, so consider whether you want to shoot a field of flowers, a single flower, or a tight shot of a single petal.

  5. Step 4

    Shoot vertical

    Take some vertical shots. It's natural to shoot horizontally, but that's exactly why verticals can be so striking.

  6. Step 5

    Lock focus on subject

    When using an auto-focus camera, lock the focus on your subject and then re-frame the shot however you want. That way, your subject will always be in sharp detail.

  7. Step 6

    Move subject away from middle

    Move the subject away from the middle. Use the rule of thirds, mentally dividing the viewing area into three vertical sections, and then keep your subjects in the left or right sections.

  8. For landscape photos, divide the viewing area into thirds horizontally, and keep the horizon in the top or bottom section.

  9. Step 7

    Frame your photo

    Consider framing your photo with something in the foreground, like an overhanging tree branch, especially if the subject is in the distance.

  10. Step 8

    Watch light

    Watch the light and keep your subject out of the extremes—both shadows and harsh, bright light.

  11. Natural light is always preferable, but if you're indoors or it's cloudy, use a flash to keep your subjects well lit.

  12. Step 9

    Direct subject

    Tell your subjects where to move, and where to stand. They'll like the photo more if they look good, so don't be afraid to boss them around.

  13. Step 10

    Take lots of pictures

    Take lots of pictures. In today's digital age, there's no reason to not fill up your memory card.

  14. Step 11

    Don't check after every shot

    Don't stop after every shot to check the digital image. Not only does it drain your battery, but it distracts you from your subject. Just trust your talents and keep shooting.

  15. The first picture ever taken was in the 1820s in Paris by inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce.