TIPS AND TRICKS.
In this guide you will find a few tips to start you on your photography journey. Most of the tips
are applicable to people with any camera, even phone cameras. There are a couple of pages that are
for more advanced photographers with SLR cameras (p.17). Start using one tip at a time and then begin
to put them together. You will find your photography skills advancing with practise.
Over time you won’t even have to think about the tips and “rules”.
If you have trouble with any of the tips or activities, please feel free to join my private Facebook
learning group and I will help you out if I can. You will find a link to the group on the last page.
o Page 3: Composition basics
o Page 7: The rule of thirds
o Page 10: The room-to-move tip
o Page 12: Catch lights
o Page 14: How to – Silhouettes
o Page 16: Backing up photos
o Page 19: The golden hours
o Page 25: Post-processing
o Pages 28-34: Phone photography
2BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY
What is composition? Basically it’s the way that the elements in your
photograph are positioned in relation to each other and to the
camera. Everything from light, lens choice and aperture choice to
where you position yourself to take the photo, comes into play when
you are considering how to compose your photograph. The aim of
composition is to use the elements available to you to create an
interesting photograph or to tell the story that you want to convey.
You can first start practising different compositions simply by moving
yourself around the subject that you are photographing. Take lots of
photos and review them to see which one creates the mood that you
like most. Do this every time you are taking a photo of something.
Over time you will become better at knowing which angle and
position you want to shoot from, before you even take the
3BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY
COMPOSITION EXAMPLE – CHANGING YOUR
ANGLE OF SHOOTING TO TELL A DIFFERENT
Photographed at the subject’s level.
Same position of subjects but taken seconds
later from directly above. It changed the
whole look of the photograph but I only had
to move positions.
4BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY
Try framing your subject using natural
elements (the leaves in this example).
Centre placement of your subject doesn’t
always have to be boring. Use “leading lines”
to lead the viewer’s eyes to the subject.
5BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY
Check your backgrounds before you shoot.
Keep the background free from clutter and
Simplify the scene. Think about what your
point of interest in the shot is before you
6BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY
RULE OF THIRDS
This is probably one of the most well known “rules” for photography
composition. As with any of the “rules” though, they can always be broken
once you know how to use them. The rule of thirds aims to create an
interesting and well balanced photograph.
Break your image down into thirds vertically and horizontally. Draw
imaginary lines and you will have 9 sections (see pics on the next page). The
idea is to place your subject matter, or a point of interest within a
photograph, at any of the 4 intersecting crosses or along the lines.
“Studies have shown that when viewing images, people’s eyes usually go to
one of the intersection points most naturally rather than the centre of the
shot – using the rule of thirds works with this natural way of viewing an
image rather than working against it.” – Digital Photography School.
7BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY
RULE OF THIRDS
8BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY
RULE OF THIRDS
When shooting landscapes this is a
really effective rule that you can
follow. Keep either the sky or the
landscape in two thirds of the photo
and vice versa. If you have a lot of
landscape photos and you have
never tried this before, go back to
them and crop them so that they fit
the rule. You will be surprised how
a simple crop of a photo can make it
look drastically better. While we are
on landscapes, keep your horizons
straight! A slightly tilted horizon
drives me nuts and it doesn’t look
9BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY
ROOM TO MOVE
Use this little tip in conjunction with the
rule of thirds. It works really well. Place
your subject in the frame so that they have
somewhere to go or they are “looking into”
the frame. In effect you are creating
visually good negative space.
In the example here, the little boy is
obviously walking towards something. In
the top frame we see that he is going
somewhere and he has “room to move”
within the photograph. In the bottom one I
have cropped it differently to show you
how it looks if he is placed on the other
side of the frame. The empty space is now
behind him and he is walking out of the
frame. “Generally” it is best to follow this
rule but again it can definitely be broken
when done properly.
10BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY
ROOM TO MOVE EXAMPLES
11BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY
Catch lights are the little sparkle of light in your subject’s eyes. They
are a reflection of whatever your light source is at the time. In the
photograph here you can see the rectangular shape of the window
that we were sitting in front of. Catch lights are important to make
your subject’s eyes shine and sparkle. Without them the person can
have very dull, “dead” looking eyes.
12BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY
I have a great exercise that you can do, right now,
wherever you are, to help visualise what I am talking
Grab the person closest to you and tell them to stand
up. Look into their eyes. What do they look like? Are they
sparkling? Can you see the catch-lights? Take note of
where you are standing in respect to where your main
source of light is coming from. e.g the sun, window light or
an inside light.
Now, ask the person to slowly turn around on the spot,
360 degrees. Follow them around standing in front of
them and watching their eyes. Watch how the reflections in
their eyes change as they turn. Take note of where they
are in relation to that light source as they turn. As your
subject turns so that their face is in shadow, you will see
their eyes darken and you may even see the catch light
Notice the different directions that make your subject’s
eyes sparkle. You can then begin to notice this when you
are taking photos of your children. 13BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY
HOW TO -
To create a silhouette photo, basically you need a
bright background and you expose for the
background instead of the subject. If you are using
a point and shoot camera you can do this as well.
You can even do it with a phone. It’s really easy.
Here’s the breakdown. Position your subjects
where you want them and make sure they aren’t
bunched up. You want to see their outlines. With
kids, you can get them to dance or make funny
Point your camera to the sky behind the subject
and half press the shutter. The camera will then
meter the image based on the sky. So it will make
the sky look pretty and your subjects will be in
shadow. While you are still half-pressing,
recompose your shot to where you want it (move
the camera back to have the subject in view) and
complete pressing to take the photo.
14BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY
HOW TO - SILHOUETTES
On an iPhone you just need to place
your finger on the background/sky
area and hold down for a few
seconds so that it locks the
exposure there. Then you can
recompose the shot and take it.
Tip: The area behind the subject
should be fairly clear and free of
trees, buildings or other objects.
You can’t get a silhouette of a
person if a building or tree
silhouette is already going to be
blocking their shape.
15BEGINNER PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS AND TRICKS BY KATE VERONICA PHOTOGRAPHY
BACKING UP YOUR PHOTOS
A very boring but important piece of information to note here. One
day your computer WILL crash and you will lose the lot. It happens
ALL THE TIME. You need to take a bit of time and create back-ups of
your precious photographs. Follow the 321 rule here…
3: Back up your photos (and important files) to at lease 3 different
2: Back them up to at least 2 different media types. E.g. DVD,
external hard drive, USB, online cloud storage.
1: Keep 1 copy of everything offsite at a different location in case of
fire or storm damage