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.

Product Review

Airselfie 2 may as well be a GoPro stapled to a drunk hummingbird

On paper, the Airselfie 2 is marketed as flying photographer that fits in your pocket and snaps selfies from the sky. Unfortunately it’s more like a HandiCam controlled by a swarm of intoxicated bumblebees
Gaming

'Pokémon: Let's Go' is a different kind of Pokémon game. Here's how to master it

Pokémon: Let's Go is a mashup of traditional Pokémon RPGs and Pokémon Go. Still, new mechanics will make it feel somewhat new for even seasoned trainers. To help you on your journey to Victory Road, check out these tips and tricks in our…
Mobile

How to take great photos with the Pixel 3, the best camera phone around

You’ve scored yourself a new Google Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL, and you want to take advantage of that incredible camera. We’ve got everything you need to know right here about how to snap the best photos with your Pixel 3.
Gaming

15 tips for keeping your vault-dwellers alive in ‘Fallout Shelter’

The wasteland can be an unfriendly place, if you don't know what you're doing. Here are 15 tips that will help your vault thrive in Fallout Shelter, including information on questing.
Gaming

Tips for surviving the nuclear wasteland in 'Fallout 76'

Before running into nuclear wasteland with your Pip-Boy, take a moment to consider these Fallout 76 tips. From food and water to maintaining weapons and armor, here are the things all beginners should know.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

DJI has always been the king of drones, and the new Mavics are almost perfect

After flying both the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom for over a week, we’re convinced that these are two of the best drones that DJI has ever made.
Mobile

How to choose the best MicroSD cards for your smartphone or tablet

If you need some extra storage space and your device supports it, then a MicroSD card is an obvious place to start. Here, we look at what to consider and suggest some of the best MicroSD cards for your smartphone.
Photography

Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer trades in his gear for a toy camera

Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Oden Balilty recently rose to the challenge of shooting for an entire day using nothing but a toy camera, and at the end of it even found a few reasons to praise it over his pricey DSLR.
Social Media

Instagram purges fake followers, likes, and comments generated from other apps

Instagram looking a little more authentic? You can thank machine learning. A new tool is helping Instagram spot followers, likes and comments generated from third-party apps -- and this is just the start.
Product Review

Nikkor 105mm f/1.4 may be a beast in size, but its images are absolute beauty

There’s no such thing as a perfect lens, but the Nikkor 105mm f/1.4E ED comes incredibly close. The original 105mm f/1.4 delivers exceptional quality, albeit in a bulky package.
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Photography

Deluxe D-Lux: New Leica compact camera adds quality and luxury

Essentially a rehoused Panasonic Lumix LX100 II, the D-Lux 7 adds Leica styling -- and price -- to Panasonic tech. The camera retains much from its predecessor, but brings some needed updates and refinements.