5 Tips to Instantly Up Your Photo Game

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Taking photos – good ones anyway – can be a tough gig.

That’s why there’s so many tutorials, tips, and tricks out there that seek to help beginners find their way and start taking better photos sooner rather than later.

This is one such tutorial!

In the video above, Peter McKinnon offers up five pro tips for creating photos that have much more visual appeal.

Check it out, and as you listen to Peter’s tips, you can follow along in the play-by-play of each tip below.

Work the Angles

angles1YouTube Screenshot/Peter McKinnon 

If you work the angles rather than just pulling out your camera, you’ll find that you’re able to create images that have far more to say.

When you fire off shots willy-nilly from whatever the easiest angle might be, you’ll likely get boring photos.

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That’s especially true if you just shoot from your eye level every single time.

Instead, take about 10 seconds to really think about how you can make the subject look better.

angles2YouTube Screenshot/Peter McKinnon 

That might mean taking a high perspective and looking down on it or taking a low perspective and looking up at it.

That might also mean taking photos from waist level so you’re at the same perspective of the subject.

Even moving left or right can make all the difference!

Shoot Through Something

shootthrough1YouTube Screenshot/Peter McKinnon 

Another quick and easy tip for taking better photos is to shoot through something.

Doing so adds depth and dimension to the shot while also giving it an unusual and unique look with foreground elements that are beautifully out of focus.

You can also use the foreground object as a frame within a frame, which can help direct the viewer’s eye more efficiently toward the primary subject.

shootthrough2YouTube Screenshot/Peter McKinnon 

And it’s not like you have to shoot through something especially fantastic, either.

Use a house plant, the handle of your favorite mug, or even your fingers (as was done in the screenshot above) to create an interesting and dynamic look.

Learn More:

  • Photography Composition Tip: Using a Frame Within a Frame

Think Opposite

thinkopposite1YouTube Screenshot/Peter McKinnon 

When you head out to take photos, the chances are that if you go to a popular spot that you’re going to be fighting other photographers for the best position to get a photo of the subject.

The problem with doing that is twofold: first, you have to jockey for position to get the shot, and second, once you’re in position, you’re composing a photo that looks like every other photo ever taken of that subject!

Instead of doing what everyone else does, think opposite…

thinkopposite2YouTube Screenshot/Peter McKinnon 

Like working the angles, try moving around to find new and interesting vantage points for taking photos.

You can even take a photo backwards, upside down or from the opposite side of the subject as everyone else is shooting.


lighting1YouTube Screenshot/Peter McKinnon 

Of all things, your images need to have good lighting.

And lighting your images doesn’t have to be some sort of scary process with a ton of lighting gear.

In fact, all you need is the sun!

lighting2YouTube Screenshot/Peter McKinnon 

Now, shooting under direct sunlight is usually a no-no because it creates high-contrast images with harsh shadows.

But you can mitigate that by taking photos under the shade of a tree or in the shadow of a building.

Speaking of buildings, just go inside and use the natural light coming in through a window as your light source.


Granted, these strategies are primarily used for portraiture…

But if you prefer to shoot landscapes, cityscapes or travel photos, wait until Golden Hour to take your images.

The soft, golden light will look great and so will your photos!

Learn More:

  • 5 Creative Ways to Use Golden Hour Lighting


framing1YouTube Screenshot/Peter McKinnon 

A final tip for upping your photography game is to focus on framing – how you present the subject within the image.

This has to do with the subject’s positioning in the shot, but it also has to do with the supporting details in the image that make it a more interesting photo to view.

framing2YouTube Screenshot/Peter McKinnon 

For example, if you’re taking a photo of a deck of cards, the deck of cards on its own would be boring.

But as you can see in the screenshot above, by adding a few elements to the corners of the photo, suddenly it’s a much more interesting thing to view.

In other words, by framing the shot to include objects that support the primary subject, you’re better equipped to tell a more interesting story about that subject in the image.

With that, you have a few simple tips for taking better photos!

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