Photography in a Snap

Tips for Improving Your Photos


  • Focus on the most important part of your subject matter
  • Try to create an abstract composition
  • The more light you have, the better
  • Fill your frame
  • Try a unique angle
  • Use available materials for background (if they’re out-of-focus, all you will see is colour, anyway)
  • Try a shallow depth of field
  • If you don’t have a macro lens or extension tubes, get as close as possible, or use a zoom lens


  • The best light is in the early morning and early evening
  • Every detail counts
  • Create depth by using a foreground detail
  • Choose a point of interest, such as a tree or a silhouette
  • Shoot in “bad” weather (just be sure to protect your gear!)
  • Pay attention to the sky
  • Use a wide angle lens
  • Make sure the horizon is straight (unless you are deliberately skewing it)


  • Be still; use a tripod or stable surface
  • Depth of field is especially important here
  • Bring a flashlight or use select lighting
  • Try to capture motion in low-light situations
  • Scenes with some light (streetlights, sunsets…) will be easier to capture
  • Use a wide aperture setting

Still Life

  • Simplicity is key
  • Plan carefully
  • Tell a story or convey a mood
  • Pay attention to every detail
  • Control your lighting
  • Use everyday objects from around the house or find them in yard sales
  • Photograph items that have meaning to you
  • Combine unexpected items
  • Experiment with different compositions
  • Try time-lapse photos


  • Know your subject and its habits
  • Hide behind something
  • Use a long lens
  • Pay attention to the light
  • Get down to eye level and focus on the eyes
  • Isolate by zooming or include the subject’s natural environment
  • Leave things as you found them
  • Practice on your pets


  • Focus on the eyes
  • Try a unique angle
  • Use candid shots in a creative way
  • Lighting is crucial; notice where the shadows fall, especially on faces
  • Unless it is intentional, be careful not to crop part of a person’s head off
  • Pay attention to what will appear at the edges of the photo
  • B&W is great for portraits


  • Freeze action by using a fast shutter speed (you’ll need plenty of light)
  • Blur motion by using a slow shutter speed (lower light)
  • Pan the action by following it with your camera
  • Think about your point of view:  It matters where you stand
  • Focus ahead of the action
  • Press the shutter a moment before the action occurs
  • Be aware of the background
  • Timing is everything!

Creative Tips for Better Photography

  • Keep it simple:  Less is more!
  • Get as close as you can
  • Pay attention to the foreground and the background
  • Try new angles
  • Think before you shoot!
  • Practice seeing photo possibilities everywhere you go
  • Good light is essential
  • Capture the unexpected
  • Never leave home without your camera

Free PDF of SNAP Your Finger Tips!  Perfect for carry-along tips when you’re out with your camera, or for use in teaching photography.

SNAP Your Finger Tips PDF

Photography lessons:

Composition Lesson

Composition Part II

*All images and documents are copyright Dawn Blanchard.


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