3 Photography Tips To Create Amazing Photos

Don Orkoskey | April 17, 2022
Pro photographer Don Orkoskey creating amazing pictures

The following 3 tips will help you create amazing photos no matter what type of camera you're using or what else you know about photography.


In the last 15 years of teaching photography classes near Pittsburgh I've learned a lot about what boosts my students photography skills and abilities. I've compiled the following list of the top 3 tips that will help you create more impressive photos more quickly.

Why These Tips

People need to feel good about what they're learning to continue which is why these tips are the most effective that I've found over the last 15 years of teaching photography classes near Pittsburgh.

3 Photography Tips To Create Amazing Photos.

Here then are my top 3 Photography Tips To Create Amazing Photos. Let me know what you think of them by dropping me a message via my contact page.

1. Bright Subjects and Dark Backgrounds

Bright Subjects on Dark Backgrounds Make Amazing Photos A bright subject against a dark background draws the eyes to your subject. While backlit photos can be stunning they're also really hard to get right. Try to look for ways to place your subject against a darker background. It doesn't matter if you're taking photos of flowers or people. Having your subject appear brighter will make sure people looking at your photos are looking at your subject and not the background.

When you place your well lit subject against a dark background they seem to pop out of it creating a 3D effect. If they are a lot brighter than the background and you adjust your exposure to capture them correctly causing the background to go far darker than how you're seeing it the effect is magnified. The extreme of that is called "low-key" lighting. The example photo is a great example of this. The dancer in the photo is standing in a bright light and the background has fallen into black.

How To Do This

The trick to doing this is to move your subject to a place where, when you look through the camera, you see darker areas behind them. If you can't move your subject (say it's a flower planted in the ground) then move yourself so that what is behind that subject is darker.

One way you can do this even if your photographing flowers on a bright sunny day is to aim the camera so that the background is the deep shadows of a stand of trees behind the flower(s). If you can't do that then try to isolate one flower by itself and use the shade of the flowers and leaves around it.

2. Look All Around Your Frame

Close up of a mushroom framed all around with grass Even pro photographers sometimes forget to look all around their camera frame. Sometimes our subject is moving, sometimes we're moving, or other things are happening that make us feel rushed. Looking all around your frame gives you the chance to see if you're including stuff in the photo that shouldn't be there or maybe need to backup or zoom out a bit to include a bit more in your photo for context.

It's easy to get zeroed-in on our subject and forget to see if someone or something else is in the frame that shouldn't be there. This is how photobombing used to be so easy - the photographer was too focused on the subject and didn't look all around the frame to make sure it was clear.

How To Do This

The way to do this is to be patient. Don't rush yourself or let yourself feel rushed by anyone else. This isn't easy to do unless you're thinking about it but it's very important to making sure you've framed your photo how you want. Slowing down, looking at the top left corner, let your eye read what's inside the frame from left to right, top to bottom. Doing this you'll begin to notice more things you'd otherwise missed, poor framing where the horizon line looks wonky, people walking through in the distance, and lots of other small distractions that you'd otherwise miss. Seeing these things before you take the photo means you can keep everyone looking at the subject of your photos and not at all of these distractions.

3. Timing Is Everything

Precise Timing Photography

Learning how to anticipate and how to see what is about to happen before it does will allow you to create magical photos. Modern cameras have really fast burst rates, including our phones, which fire off a burst of photos all at once. Burst mode is great but knowing when to start taking that burst will help you immensely on your journey to create amazing photos.

Watch what is happening around the scene, outside of the frame of your camera. Is a bee about to land or take off from the flower, is a bird about to take off from the branch it's on, or is the pitcher about to release the baseball? No matter what you're photographing understanding how to read and anticipate what is likely to happen next will give you the opportunity to create amazing photos full of dynamic action. This is true no matter what type of camera you have.

How To Do This

This is less a photography skill and more of a life skill. That means you can practice it even when you don't have your camera. Watch when people are walking towards each other, anticipate when they'll reach the point in their proximity that would make for the best photo. When will they reach a place where the background is darker than they are, when will they enter a point where you could frame them in a really great way so that viewers only paid attention to them. If you're into birds or bird photography watch birds to see what they do before they take off. Do they poop (a surprisingly accurate way to tell with some birds), do they turn to face the wind, or do they crouch in a telltale way that you can use to photograph them later?

Apply These 3 Tips

Apply these 3 tips the next time you pick up your camera and compare your results to before you applied them. Did you see a big improvement? Where you able to use these 3 tips to create amazing photos? Let me know by dropping me a line through my contact form.

Learn More About Photography

Learn more about photography by signing up for one of my photography classes near Pittsburgh or taking private photography classes. If you're not in Pittsburgh and are interested in virtual photography classes please let me know. I regularly ran virtual classes throughout the past several years and am happy to keep doing them, especially if you're unable to find photography classes in your area.

If you found this article helpful check out my tips for amazing flower photography and my 10 nature photography tips.

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