I get loads of questions from readers every week about how to improve their photography. Because I’m not a “photographer”, I can’t give you too much advice around technical skill, but when I need to know how to shoot the night sky, or how to change a specific setting on my camera, I use one of the thousands of helpful tutorials online. I do have some tips though, that have helped me take my personal and blog photography to a more professional level. Here are my tips for taking your photography to the next level (including a secret weapon: Lightroom Presets)
Taking Your Photography to the Next Level
- Shoot more than one picture. Give yourself some options. Sometimes the light can change in a second, or the person you’re photographing moves from posing to smiling their natural smile. These are the moments you really want to capture. If you’re getting someone (like a friend or your boyfriend) to take a picture of you, ask them to just keep taking, while you move around, turn your face, touch your hair etc. Don’t be shy! I normally hand my camera over and say “shoot ten images with about half a second between each one”. I’ll almost always find a useable option.
- Try using a real camera. Cellphone photos can be really spectacular, but if you really want to start experimenting with photography, it’s worth investing and getting yourself a real camera. I started shooting on a Canon 700D, then moved on to a Fujifilm X-T10, which is what I use now. Shooting in RAW means that your camera is taking in all the info available, instead of using its own settings to determine colour, light etc and create a JPEG image. This will allow you to do a lot more with your images when you’re editing them later.
- Shoot during golden hour. This is the one hour after sunrise and before sunset when the light is soft and everything looks most beautiful. Obviously, you can’t limit yourself to shooting only during these hours, but if you’re trying to learn more about portraits or even landscape photography, this is the most beautiful light to shoot in.
- Straighten your horizons. This is the easiest way to make your images more pleasing to look at. Try to keep the horizon as straight as possible when you’re shooting, or straighten it during editing. Keep in mind that the vertical and horizontal lines of your images should frame your subject. If you’re shooting a person and they are looking towards the right, there should be more space in the direction they are looking in. Just remembering those two rules will have your images looking more beautiful already!
- Edit your images. This is the one step that people often skip, and it’s the one secret weapon that modern technology has gifted us with. If I’m on the run, I’ll edit my pictures on Lightroom on my phone. But if I want to really make them great, I use Lightroom on my desktop. Your pictures could always use a little love, whether that means cropping, changing the brightness, or editing out a person in the background.
Taking Your Photography to the Next Level: Lightroom Presets
If you’re new to Lightroom, don’t feel overwhelmed. Think of it as learning a new art form – it takes time. Spend a couple of hours watching YouTube tutorials to learn the basics and get to grips with a few editing techniques. This platform is huge and there are so many things you can do to make your photos even more beautiful, but the quickest and easiest way to do that, is with presets.
Lightroom presets are like filters that you can add to your images to create a different look. The best thing about them is that anyone can create, save and share the presets that you love, so your images can have a cohesive look and feel. I use the Lightroom presets made by my friend Kiersten (aka @theblondeabroad) for almost all my pictures. Check out @tbapresets on Instagram to see more. My friend Carlinn (aka @campsbaygirl) has her own Lightroom presets too!
The TBA presets are compatible with RAW or JPEG images, which means you can even edit the images you take on your phone. They’re also fully customisable, so you can adjust the effects to really enhance your images.
Lightroom Presets Before & Afters
There’s no denying that photography takes time, practice, a good eye and good equipment. But a little editing never hurt. If you’re already interested in photography, I’d definitely recommend taking your photography to the next level with Lightroom presets. Carlinn’s Campsbaygirl preset packs start from as low as $4!