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Picture this: 8 quick tips to make yourself a better photographer

There’s no shortage of photography tips floating around the internet, be it in text or video form. But sometimes there’s a collection of tips that succinctly share worthwhile advice that’s well worth sharing.

The latest video from photographer Troy Nikolic does just that. Aptly titled “8 Simple Tips for Being a Better Photographer,” the video walks through a handful of helpful tips for stepping up your photo game and keeping your work consistent.

For those who can’t watch the video (let’s be honest, you’re probably reading this at work), we’ve rounded up and paraphrased the tips below. As always, these are tips and basic guidelines; there are exceptions to all rules in photography, these included.

  1. Don’t over-process your images — Adding too much saturation or too much contrast can make the image appear fake and overall unappealing; simplicity goes a long way.
  2. Straighten your photos — Use horizons and other lines in images as guidelines for keeping everything upright. Most photo editing software nowadays includes automated straightening tools, which makes doing this easier than ever.
  3. Hold your camera still — Keep your camera close to your body and securely hold it with two hands. This will help a great deal in situations where you’re shooting at slower shutter speeds.
  4. Use even lighting — Even lighting, especially in portraits, helps to keep the subject as the focus of the image without distracting over-or-underexposed elements in the foreground or background.
  5. Focus on composition — Learn the “rule of thirds” and get outside your comfort zone. Crouch down, stand up on a chair, frame your subject inside a window or object to add an interesting element and context.
  6. Understand the limits of your equipment — At some point in your photo work, you’ll come across a certain lighting situation that proves to be a challenge. Knowing how far you can push your camera can help you make the most of a cruddy situation.
  7. Learn the exposure triangle — Also called the “trinity,” this is the combination of ISO, aperture, and shutter speed, all of which come together to determine the overall exposure and aesthetic of your image. Learning how these three elements work together will ensure you’ll know what settings to use in any situation.
  8. Study — You can’t get better at photography without learning. Study technical details, study the work of other photographers, and put it into practice to improve your own work. In the words of Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist. Take bits and pieces of inspiration from artists of all disciplines.

Write these down or bookmark this link to reference in the future. I’m six years into my photography career and each and every one of these tips still ring a bell in my head and help me to reconsider where I’m falling short as a photographer.

You can keep up with Nikolic’s videos by subscribing to his YouTube channel.