Bookmark and Share
All images and content are property of Alexis Miller Photography. Please do not download, reproduce, or redistribute images or content in any way.

You may contact Alexis at:
phototips@alexismiller.com

Monday's (Favorite Tips) Contest!

There is so much to learn and understand about photography, from technical things like exposure and white balance, to more artistic things like light and composition.

One of my most favorite and most used "tips" is to use the rule of thirds. I love the way that it draws a viewer's attention directly to a subject's eyes when used in close-up portraits. I try to keep the eyes in the top third of the frame, and I love the results.


So, today's contest is about your favorite photography tips, tricks, or techniques. What is your favorite photography "tip?' What is the one thing that makes your images better?

To enter the contest, you must be a follower of this blog, and leave a comment on this post telling me about your favorite photography "tip." Comments must be posted today before 10:00 p.m. MST. Two winners will be randomly chosen to receive one set of Photo Reminder Cards (Simple Design).

ETA: Your comment doesn't have to be about a tip from this blog, and it doesn't have to be different that everyone else's! Just tell me what you like to remember most when you're out shooting.

Winners will be posted tomorrow morning here on the blog. Winners must contact me via email phototips@alexismiller.com within 48 hours.

84 comments:

Jessica said...

My favorite photo tip is to get on the level of your subject. I get such great pictures when I crouch down to get on my niece and nephews level!

Sarah said...

My favorite tip is to fill the frame. Getting close to my subject helps convey more emotion in my pics, and keeps all the distracting background stuff to a minimum.

Mary Lynn said...

I'm just starting to learn and get better in photography and just got a DSLR. My favorite tip is the apature and trying to focus on something and the background is blurry. I'm still working on it! I love this blog for all of it's tips! Thank you so much!

Karol Quinn Photography said...

My favorite tip is to watch your backgrounds when shooting! Even a year into learning, I still forget sometimes. Just this weekend I was doing a maternity shoot and didn't realize there were shoes on the floor behind the couple and it totally ruins what have would have been an otherwise great photo!

Tracy Tisdale Photography said...

When I first started out my favorite trick was to set my SLR on auto to see what those setting were...then I would switch it over to manual and tweak it to my taste. That is how I really started getting the confidence to go manual.

malorey279 said...

I learned to focus on the bridge of the nose of the person and the eyes would be in focus. It has helped a ton!

Tara Zornow, Southeast Michigan Photographer said...

My favorite that I have to constantly remind myself is to BACK UP! Even just one more step. I'm a chronic "in camera cropper" and it has bitten me more than once, so I am always trying to remind myself of this.

Sew Fab Martha said...

My most recent lesson/tip is to hold the camera still! Or better yet, use a tripod when you can.
(blog follower via google reader)

Donna Ecklund said...

Favorite tip--just one??? Yikes! There's so many. Here's one nobody's said so far. When shooting into the sun have a helper hold a reflector curved over you and your lens to extend your hood.

amy said...

my favorite tip from your blog is to "press the shutter halfway down to focus, and immediately when I hear the little beep, I press the shutter the rest of the way down." it helps SO much to get the crispness i desire when photographing my kids since they're almost always on the move.

Samantha Parks said...

my favorite photo tip is to move in closer. so many of my photos used to have distracting backgrounds, until i started getting much closer. now the focus is on the subject, not what's behind them!

Becca said...

My favorite tip is to take a step back and shoot loose so you'll have room to crop.

Andrea L. Kalokitis Photography said...

My favorite tip, just one? To have really good eye contact. SO much can be told through the eyes.

Jess said...

My favorite is the backlighting tip. It was really easy to follow and lighting for me is so challenging!

scrappinkay said...

I agree, there are so many tips and ideas out there to learn from. I liked reading all of these so far.

My tip would be to get close but not too close, leave yourself some cropping room but try to get the framing of the shot mostly like you want it then you can play from there

Kayce said...

Wow -- there are so many great tips I love to use. I love to get close, and fill up the entire viewfinder. I also love bright pictures. So I usually adjust toggle with the "+/-" switch a lot while shooting to get the image I want.

Jake and Rachelle said...

I love changing the angles and making the background blurry!

Jodi Pilling said...

I have just started to learn how to use my DSLR and I am having SO much fun. I love you blog it really has helped me out a TON. So far my fav. technique is with the aperature with the blurry background. LOVE that affect.

DeAnn said...

No direct flash! I learned that the best way to get great catch lights and a soft look is to bounce that flash. In a pinch I will put tissue over my flash, anything to diffuse that light.

Thanks for all you do!

Jena Photography said...

My best learned tip was that to get proper exposure you do not place it on the "0" of your in camera meter. I have learned to not under expose from this which leads to less post processing. And of course great exposure as well.

audrey said...

If you are shooting in a place with brightly colored walls (I have a bold green color in my living room) and you need to bounce the flash off the wall instead of the ceiling, put up a piece of white poster board or something of the like. I have recently turned my kids into little green aliens LOL!

LaDonna Hoyden said...

My favorite tip is to focus on the eyes. I love beautiful in focus eyes.

Cindy said...

My favorite tip is to watch how you crop your photos. Try not crop at the joint, example:ankle,wrist,elbow,& knees.

Tracy said...

My favorite tip is to make sure there are treats in my bag! You never know when you'll need a bribe! Also double check all your camera settings before you start shooting. It's frustrating to need RAW images and all you shot were jpegs.

Annie said...

my favorite photo tip is a photoshop one, Unsharp mask! I think it's a must for EVERYEONE, DSLR or Point and Shoot. It makes such a difference!

nsanderson said...

All great tips posted so far. One that I have been trying to practice more is to click away. Too often I wait and wait for a good shot and used to miss a bunch of chances at good photos. Now I try and snap as many as possible and sort them out in post production. Even when I'm bored and don't think there is much to shoot I will take pictures of anything I can get my hands on. It's one of the greatest benefits of digital photography.

Mom2Aliyah said...

I would have to say my favorite photo tip would have to be to move back and allow for cropping. I always try to crop in camera and it has bitten me in the behind too many times. I have to constantly tell myself to back up...especially since I love close-ups!

Lynn said...

My favorite tip that I try to remember is to move around...shoot from the right, the left, get close, move back etc.

Laura said...

Make sure you watch out for your backgrounds and make sure there aren't things "growing" from your subjects head.

Jody said...

My favorite tip is to take lots of photos! That way chances are I will have some good ones in the bunch. LOL

Parker315@shaw.ca

meg said...

My favorite tip is to never immediately scrap a picture. With a little Photoshop, an average picture can sometimes turn out awesome! :)

Eileen said...

Some of my favorite photos are when I am ABOVE my subject and they are looking up at the camera. I stand on a chair, piano bench, park bench or whatever is handy.

And it helps with double chins!

Heidi said...

My favorite tip is visualize the end result before snapping the picture. Know what you want to do with the photo during post production.

Danielle said...

The best thing I ever did was to start shooting in raw. My pictures look so much better and I have complete contol with them and how they look. It also has helped me save pictures that otherwise were going to the trash.

Karen F. said...

My favorite tip is to keep repositioning until you see catchlights in your subject's eyes. You can also use a marble to find those catchlights.

Lisa said...

my tip isn't a technical one. when doing a family shoot, have fun and let the kids be themselves. chase them around and get down on their level to capture them in their true element.

Ash Hilton said...

The tip I find that makes the biggest difference is to change my orientation. Usually I find myself shooting horizontally by default. Changing to a vertical picture or *gasp* an angle makes a huge difference in the perspective of the picture.

Lori said...

I have several favorite tips. My two favs are probably the rule of thirds, which you discussed in your post (I use it all the time when I'm cropping.) and holding your breath when you push the shutter.

Rachel said...

One of my favorite tips that I've been using lately, is to try tilting your camera and taking the shot at an angle. I'm loving it. It often makes the pictures look more interesting and fun.

Christi said...

My favorite photo tip is to use natural light. It makes a big difference in my photos.

Landen and family said...

My favorite tip is to remember not to chop limbs off. That's really hard for me, I have to think about it all the time!

TraciS said...

One thing that I'm really focusing on in pictures right now is finding the right light to create the best picture possible.

Alesha said...

My favorite tip is your best zoom is your feet.

Karen said...

My favorite tip is to use the flash (forced on) to flood fill faces when the sun is behind your subject or it's just too bright outside and your flash doesn't think it needs to go off.

Britt said...

Ooo...favorite tip? There are so many good ones already listed!

First would be get down low with pets and kids. Second watch the background.

But one I haven't seen yet - keep shooting. Shoot more than you think is necessary. It's digital and you can delete what didn't work. In a hundred shots you'll get a handful of truly great ones. If you only take 10? Odds aren't so great. 'Specially for us newbies.

(I subscribe through Google Reader.)

staceya said...

My favorite tip is to focus on the eyes (I'm an eye girl!!). There is nothing better than great catchlights to make the eyes "sparkle". I will move to multiple spots till I find the right one ;).

Dana said...

The rule of thirds is one i'm really trying to do now. :) But filling the frame is something else that I've been needing to do too! Thanks for a chance to win!

tizzylish said...

My favorite tip is to take a step back from your subject...don't crop in camera, leave room for cropping later, otherwise you might limit yourself to the size of prints that you can print without cutting off your subject.

Anonymous said...

My favorite tip for fantastic portrait photography is great CATCH LIGHTS! Nothing makes a photo better than amazing eyes! I am a little obsessed with the whole catch light thing....

Colleen said...

My favorite tip is to practice, practice, practice!!

Sree said...

This is a simple but effective tip...

When shooting outdoor portraits and sunny landscapes, try changing your white balance setting from auto to cloudy. That's right, cloudy. Why? This adjustment is like putting a mild warming filter on your camera. It increases the reds and yellows resulting in richer, warmer pictures.

Happy shooting

Mandi said...

Ok I'm losing my internet soon so I didn't read the other comments (sorry if it's a repeat)! My best tips are to use natural light as much as possible - beautiful results!!

My other tip seems pretty "duh", but you'd be amazed at how many photographer friends thank me for the amazing tip ;-) My tip is that when photographing people - focus on the EYES! (of course unless you are purposefully trying for a different look) Having the eyes be crisp and bright seems to make a world of difference!

Tina Brannon said...

I think the biggest tip I've learned to use the most, is to step back and give yourself more room to crop. That is always the FIRST thing that I consider.

porchsitter said...

I think my favorite tip is using the metallic sun shades for your car as reflectors. They are easy to transport and you'r only out a few $$ if they get left behind on accident. Sometimes you get lucky and find one with silver on one side and gold on the other!

christie said...

one of my favorite tips is to use your body as a "tripod" by keeping your elbows close to your sides - so you dont have as much camera shake!
follow your blog w/bloglines

Contemporary Captures said...

My favorite tip is to let somebody else photography my own kids! lol.. I can get good pics of everyone's kids except my own!

SunEsGrl said...

I am still learning and trying desperately to remember to check out the background for distractions. It is the most sickening feeling when the subject is clear and beautiful, but the background looks like garbage.

Karin T. said...

The best tip gleaned from all of my copious internet readings is perspective, perspective PERSPECTIVE!! Getting down or up to view things from a different angle can really make a fabulous shot!

e.l.berge said...

I like to remember to move around and experiment with different angles. Thanks for the lovely giveaway!

{Susan...Seriously.} said...

my fave tip is to take tons of pics in manual...practice, practice, practice...it's the only way you'll learn

amandajane said...

The thing I try to remember is to turn off the flash more often and use natural light.

faithfulmommy said...

My latest favorite tip is to change your perspective. I always take the shot once snapshot style to make sure I have it captured if it's something fleeting but lately, I've been enjoying trying many different angles to see which one I like best when it's time to send it to print. It's usually not the first picture I snapped!

Christy S. said...

My favorite tip is just to not get lost in the moment - meaning don't forget to 'push the button'. I don't think there is any such thing as having too many pictures - better too many than not enough to work with - and you don't want to miss anything - so just do it!

Amy Hoogstad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
amymom24 said...

Hey Alexis, thanks for the great contest! I'm a follower, but I am set to private, just so you know - not sure if that makes a difference or not:)

I photograph my kids indoors a lot and we have a beautiful big window in the livingroom. I always make sure their faces are turned so I can see catchlights in both eyes, but that is always in a different spot in the room, depending on the time of day or how harsh the light is. My photos look best when both eyes are lit.

Also, always shoot in RAW! I shoot in both RAW and .jpg, so that if it is a pic I don't care too much about, I can delete the RAW right away and keep the .jpg. But I LOVE the RAW plug-in for PSE. You can turn every pic into a masterpiece!

Amy said...

Oh I am so so new to photography, but the tips on ISO and your ISO chart have been invaluable to me.

Amanda Benton said...

My favoriate tip is to change the angle you shoot at for different looks.

tiffany said...

My favorite tip is to focus on the eyes...they make or break a shot for me. I love sharp eyes!

tweederbug said...

Doing mostly children to photograph as subjects,I try to get in close and on their level. This will allow me to pick up more features AND get those beautiful eyes to sparkle with help,love your tut :)!

Aimee said...

Since I photograph mostly children, my fave tip is to get on their level and just be silly with them. I get much better pics when I'm acting goofy.

Esther said...

My tip is to leave some space in the frame, in case you need to or want to crop later, you have that extra lee way with the image...There's so many good tips on here!

Beth said...

My favorite tip is to not be afraid to take pics when out and about. I take pics in Target, the grocery store, an antique shop... As long as you are not getting in people's way or causing a distraction, shoot away! You'll get over the "stage fright" quickly.

Amy M said...

I have to say the best thing I try to do is to relax, and breathe. Sometimes going to a shoot I tend to get nervous, and overwhelmed. I bring a "cheat sheet" of some ideas and favorite poses to help me remember what I came to do :)

Desiree Prakash said...

My favorite tip is that photography 'rules' are fun to break and you can make some fantastic photos doing so.

mlz01 said...

My favorite tip is to pretend you are a fly on the wall. My favorite photos were taken when the subject didn't even realize I was taking their photo. You get more natural, real life photos. A zoom lens helps too so you don't have to get to close to them. I use a fixed 50mm lens. It's just right. (I just signed up to be a follower but have followed you on bloglines for a long time)

Mindy
mlz01@hotmail.com
www.memoriesbymindy.com

De said...

I am very new to this photography world and the best advice I have been given is to try and take a picture everyday. It really does make a difference when you practice! =)

Staci B said...

My fav...composition, angles, and lighting.

acrummylife said...

watch for the catchlights

Jody said...

I also love the rule of 3rds.

I like to get down to the level of my subject (or up, as sometimes needed). I adore using natural light as much as possible. Turning the flash off completely for candlelight. I also don't like things that are too posed - the more candid it looks the better.

Kassi said...

My favorite tip for kids is getting down on their level! I LOVE crawling on the ground chasing munchkins. That's how I get some of my favorite shots! Another thing I have to remember is to keep shooting, so many times I try to focus on getting "the perfect shot" and miss so many! So I try to keep shooting!

Jodar said...

My favo9urite tip at the moment while Iam learning is that kids photograph much better when they can do their own thing. using a longer lens lets them be a kid and still have photos capture their true essence rather than the annoyed looks on the faces for hte camera.

Amy said...

definitely the rule of thirds and also getting on the ground to try a different angle.

Ness @ Drovers Run said...

My latest 'thing' at the moment with my photography is to shoot down on my subject with them looking up. Previously I did a lot of full frame, close up eyes shots etc, and while I still have great results with those, the looking down from above is a hit with many of my clients because they look younger, and it does a great job of hiding double chins! Being in this kind of position also gets very natural smiles from my clients because usually I'm precariously balanced on something above them, and trying not to fall over.

Deb said...

One thing I always have to remember is to make sure that the background does not have some random object that will appear to be coming out of the subjects head!