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12 Secrets to Taking Beautiful Photography | Principles of Photography

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Related course: Photography for Beginners

The best photos in the world are featured in magazines, discussed on blogs, and fawned over in competitions.

Most of the time, we can also all agree that those pictures are outstanding.

The great thing is that these photos all share similar qualities. You can learn from these and use them to create your own beautiful photography.

12. Connect With Your Subject to Make Your Photos Look Authentic

A beautiful photography shot of a person standing in a cave under a beam of lightConnection is just as important in photography as it is in relationships.

You don’t have to be a portrait photographer to make the most of this step. Connection doesn’t mean communication.

You simply have to appreciate and learn more about what you’re photographing.

For example, if you plan to photograph a specific town, find out about its history. Your research might give you new ideas and strengthen the bond you have with that location.

This will be evident in your photos.

If you’re a portrait photographer, prioritise communication before and during your photoshoot.

The more comfortable your model feels with you, the easier it will be to take beautiful portraits.

11. Use Simple Backgrounds to Create Unique Compositions

Serene low angle photo of a sandy beach on a clear day - beautiful photography principles
Even though this image is simple, it stands out thanks to the light, depth of field, and location. The bright background creates a peaceful atmosphere without which this photo would look very different. Beautiful photography depends on simple tricks like this to stand out.

Beautiful photography doesn’t always feature complicated concepts and incomparable locations. You don’t need to travel far to find eye-catching subjects for your next image.

Unique compositions often feature simple backgrounds. All the attention goes to the subject. This also prevents busy compositions that are unappealing to the eye.

10. Find the Best Light to Enhance Your Story

Rows of bright purple flowers in a field at sunset - beautiful photography principlesFortunately for us photographers, light changes throughout the day. This means you can experiment with different kinds of light to find the best one(s) for your style.

In general, golden hour light is considered one of the best for all kinds of genres. You can use it to create a warm and peaceful glow in your photos.

As you can see in the photo above, this is really useful in landscape photography.

Avoid midday light unless you want to bring out the textures in your subject. Or if you plan to take photos in the shade.

9. Use Vibrance Instead of Saturation to Make Your Pictures Stand Out

Pay careful attention to your in-camera filters and editing habits.

Oftentimes, especially in landscape photography, people are tempted to oversaturate everything. While this makes for a colourful image, it also ruins the story.

Oversaturation can also make your photos look grainy. It can ruin certain colours, and turn a beautiful picture into a distracting mess.

If you want to enhance a dull part without oversaturating your entire photo, work with the vibrance tool in your editing program.

8. Spend Quality Time With Yourself to Understand Your Intentions

a woman sitting on a cliff overlooking a beautiful coastal landscape - beautiful photography principlesEven if you know a bunch of photography tricks, you need to dig deep and understand your own intentions.

This is similar to knowing a recipe by heart. If you don’t add a few spices just because they seem unimportant, your meal won’t taste as good.

Why do you like a specific photography genre? What will you do if a great idea doesn’t work out during your first photo shoot? What are your strengths and weaknesses?

These musings and plans will prepare you for your photoshoot, remove your fear of failure and maybe even give you a bunch of exciting ideas.

These are all very important ingredients in the recipe for beautiful photography.

7. Look for Patterns to Create Visually Appealing Photos

Atmospheric photo of a cello underwater - beautiful photography principlesPatterns are visually appealing. You can find them almost anywhere.

Hair, instruments, landscapes, and crowds all have unique patterns.

Try to capture as many as you can in your photos to create stunning masterpieces.

6. Separate Your Subject from Its Background to Create Harmony

A monotone portrait of a female model walking on a beach - beautiful photography principlesToo many details can blend into each other and look too crowded.

To avoid this, use a large aperture to separate your subject from its background. The aperture you use depends on your style and story.

The smaller the f-number, the blurrier your background will be.

5. Use Leading Lines to Direct the Viewer’s Eye to Your Model

Aerial photo of a red bridge - beautiful photography principlesLeading lines are often mentioned in the principles of photography and for good reason. Without them, your subject will look lost in a world full of random patterns and lines.

Look out for lines that lead to your subject. In the photo above, the Golden Gate Bridge stands out because of all the lines leading to the center of the image. The steep cliff leads to it as well.

This makes it easier to understand what the photographer is trying to say.

4. Use Simple Objects to Enhance Meaningful Ideas

A feather levitating over an outstretched hand with a beautiful landscape in the background - beautiful photography principlesBeautiful photography thrives off minimalism. Use simple objects in your photos. This includes plants, your own hands, mugs, and so on.

If you have a specific concept in mind, try to include these everyday objects in your photos.

This will help you become a more resourceful photographer who takes beautiful photos wherever they go.

3. Shoot from Unusual Angles to Improve Your Knowledge of Perspective

aerial photo of a castle submerged in mist - beautiful photography principlesAvoid standing in front of your subject all the time. Shoot from very low and high angles, shoot through objects, and so on.

Perspective will improve your style and help you make anything stand out. If you know how to work with angles, you’ll be able to take exciting photos even of the most photographed things in the world.

The castle above, which was probably photographed millions of times, stands out so much because of the unusual angle and clouds.

2. Photograph Things Outside Your Genre to Become a Pro

Atmospheric shot of a flowing waterfall on a cloudy day - beautiful photography principlesNo matter how much you love what you do, you need to learn from other photographers and their styles. This is important if you’re a beginner.

Research different photography genres and experiment with them. You’ll gain a lot of knowledge and photography tricks along the way.

Once you have a deeper knowledge of the general photography world, you’ll be able to use your newfound tricks to take meaningful photos of your own.

1. Avoid Deleting Mistakes So You Can Learn From Them

Stunning portrait of a girl tossing her auburn hair - beautiful photography principlesEven the most famous photographers in the world make mistakes. Once you feel more comfortable with your mistakes, you’ll be able to find beauty in them.

In the image above, the focus and background are perfect. However, some parts of the hair are blurry and the model’s face isn’t completely visible.

These “mistakes” make the portrait authentic and eye-catching.

Take a break from your photos if you want to delete them. A little contemplation might show you their beauty. And help you re-define what it means to take beautiful photos.

Conclusion

Even though there are many beautiful photos out there, there’s always room for more.

Educate yourself, connect with your subjects, and pour your emotions into your work. You’ll then take photos that are not only beautiful, but unforgettable.

Why no check out our posts on taking great Instagram photos or tips for shooting underwater portraits next!

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