How to Take Better Pictures: 5 Tips That Actually Work

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Man Learning How to Take Better Pictures of Yellow Flowers

Taking better pictures is a skill that everyone can learn. With the advent of smartphones and digital cameras, photography has become more accessible to everyone, and learning how to take better pictures is one of the most sought-after skill.

However, with the ease of photo-taking comes the challenge of standing out in a sea of amateur photos. As photography evolved over the years, so too has the need for professional photography tips to help individuals take their photos to the next level.

Why Do I Need to Learn How to Take Better Pictures?

Capturing a moment through a photograph is an art form that can evoke emotions and tell stories. High-quality photos can help boost your brand, engage your audience, and improve your search engine optimization (SEO). Here are a few key reasons why you need to focus on taking better pictures:

  • Images Increase Engagement.

Studies show that social media posts with images get more likes, shares, and comments than text-only posts. Visual content simply resonates more with our brains and captures our attention. Higher engagement leads to increased traffic, brand awareness, and customer loyalty.

  • Better Photos Build Your Brand.

The photos you share, whether on your website, social media, or other marketing materials, establish your brand identity and the image you want to convey to the world. Professional, high-quality photos will make your brand seem more credible, trustworthy, and polished.

  • Images Rank Higher in Search Engines.

Search engines like Google can't see or understand images themselves. They rely on the image file name, alt text, captions, and surrounding content to determine what the image is about and how relevant it is. High-quality, optimized images with informative descriptions and captions tend to rank higher in image search and benefit your overall SEO.

  • People Remember Visuals.

Studies show that people only remember 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they read, but 80% of what they see and do. This is known as the "picture superiority effect." Using compelling visuals is vital to creating memorable content that captures attention and stays with your audience.

Light Deck Photography Template from Strikingly

Light Deck Photography Template from Strikingly


  • Photos Can Be Repurposed.

High-quality photos from a single photoshoot can be used across your website, blog, social media platforms, email marketing campaigns, print materials, and more. Professional photos are a valuable investment that continues to pay off as you reuse the images in different ways.

Learning how to take better pictures, improving your photography skills, and focusing on high-quality visual content are the best ways to boost your brand, engage your audience, and improve your SEO. Images genuinely are worth a thousand words. Make sure your photos are communicating the right message.

The Evolution of Photography

Photography has come a long way since its invention in the early 1800s. Several major technological breakthroughs have revolutionized photography and transformed the way we capture and share images. Here is a quick overview of the key milestones in the evolution of photography:

The Daguerreotype (1839)

One of the first publicly announced photographic processes. Photographer Louis Daguerre developed a highly detailed image on a polished silver surface. Daguerreotypes were a one-of-a-kind image that could not be reproduced.

The Calotype (1840s)

William Henry Fox Talbot invented the first negative-positive photographic process, using paper negatives. This allowed the same negative to be used to make multiple positive prints. This introduced the basis for modern photography.

Collodion Wet Plate (1850s)

Frederick Scott Archer developed a wet plate photographic process using glass negatives. This produced much higher quality negatives than paper and significantly reduced exposure times. Wet plate photography was the dominant process until the late 1800s.

Dry Plates (1880s)

The development of gelatin dry plates eliminated the need for wet processing and gave photographers more flexibility and mobility. Cameras and exposure times became increasingly portable and practical.

Roll Film (1888) and the Kodak Camera (1888)

George Eastman's Kodak camera, which used roll film, allowed anyone to take and develop photos, bypassing the need for expensive materials or technical skills. Photography became widely accessible to amateurs and hobbyists.

Digital Photography (1975)

The invention of digital photography via the charge-coupled device (CCD) replaced film with electronics and computing. Over the following decades, digital photography advanced rapidly, resulting in higher image quality, storage capacity, and sharing capabilities—as well as the development of smartphone cameras, photo apps, and online platforms like Instagram.

Camera Phones (2000s)

As mobile phones added cameras, photography became nearly ubiquitous. Today, thanks to camera phones, billions of photos are taken and instantly shared around the world each day. Photography has become a mass medium and global visual language.

The evolution of photography has truly changed the way we communicate and document the human experience. Photography will likely continue its rapid transformation in the years to come with advancements in areas like virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and computational imaging. But at their core, photographs will still capture fleeting moments and turn them into lasting memories, just as Louis Daguerre's first daguerreotype did nearly two centuries ago.

The Role of SEO in Photography Content Creation

SEO or search engine optimization plays an important role in making sure your photos are seen by your target audience online. By optimizing your website's content with relevant keywords, such as how to take better pictures or professional photos, you increase its visibility on search engines like Google.

Some key SEO tips for photography content include:

  • Choose strategic keywords

Select keywords that people are searching for in your niche. For photography, this could include terms like "landscape photography tips," "portrait lighting techniques," "Photoshop tutorials," etc. Place these keywords in your page titles, headings, and content.

  • Create keyword-rich alt text

The alt text attribute on images allows you to describe the content and subject of your photos. Make sure to include relevant keywords and phrases in your alt text, as this helps search engines understand your images.

When saving and uploading your photos, give them a filename that includes strategic keywords, such as "landscape-photography-sunset.jpg" or "portraiture-studio-lighting-setup.png". This further signals to search engines what your images are about.

  • Include captions and descriptions

Caption your photos and include detailed descriptions incorporating keywords. Search engines will read around images to gain context, so optimized surrounding content is important.

  • Categorize and tag your photos

Most photography websites, blogs, and stock photo sites allow you to assign categories, tags, and metadata to your photos. Properly categorizing and tagging your images with keywords helps them rank well in search and gets found by the right audiences.

Tiled Photography Template from Strikingly

Tiled Photography Template from Strikingly


  • Optimize your page layout

Place important content like headings, photos, captions, and written content higher on pages—don't make users scroll to find photos. Search engines give more weight to content placed above the fold. Include internal links to your photography pages and from media mentions or brand partners.

  • Promote your content on social media

Share your photography posts, stories, images, and galleries on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Engagement and shares from social can strengthen your search rankings and bring new traffic to your site. Just be sure also to include optimized keywords when sharing on social media.

By following these tips and learning how to take better pictures, you can leverage SEO to maximize visibility and exposure for your photography content. Improving search rankings and organic reach takes consistency over time, but making your photos as findable and shareable as possible is key to establishing authority as a photographer online. With a strategic SEO approach to your visual content, you open yourself up to new opportunities and client work.

Now, let’s start with the basics on how to take better pictures:

1. Lighting

Good lighting is essential for taking high-quality photos. Whether you're using natural light or artificial light sources, it's important to understand how to use them effectively.

Understanding natural light

Natural light can be unpredictable, but it can also create stunning effects in your photos. The best times to take photos with natural light are during the golden hours - just after sunrise or before sunset - when the light is soft and warm.

Pay attention to how it falls on your subject to make the most of natural light. Position your subject so that the light comes from behind or from the side for a more dramatic effect.

Using artificial light sources

Artificial lighting can give you more control over the lighting conditions in your photos. You can use a flash or a continuous source of light like a lamp or studio lights.

When using artificial lighting, it's important to balance the intensity of the light with proper exposure settings on your camera. You can also use diffusers and reflectors to soften and direct the light.

Importance of proper exposure

Proper exposure is crucial for getting sharp and well-lit photos. Exposure refers to how much light enters your camera's sensor and is controlled by three settings: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.

To get properly exposed photos, you must balance these settings based on the available lighting conditions and desired effect.

Tips for taking better indoor and outdoor photos

When taking indoor photos, try to use as much natural light as possible by opening windows or doors. If you need additional lighting, position lamps strategically around your subject.

For outdoor photos, avoid shooting in the harsh midday sun as it creates harsh shadows and highlights on faces. Instead, aim for early morning or late afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky.

2. Composition

Composition is a crucial aspect of photo-taking, as it can make or break the overall impact of an image. The following tips will help you take professional photos by improving your composition skills.

Rule of thirds

The rule of thirds is a fundamental principle in photography that involves dividing an image into thirds both horizontally and vertically. The points where the lines intersect are known as the power points, and placing your main subject on these points can create a more visually appealing image.

Balancing elements in a photo

Balancing elements within a photo involves distributing visual weight evenly throughout the frame to create harmony and balance. This can be achieved by using color, contrast, and symmetry to draw the viewer's eye around the image.

Framing and angles

Framing and angles refer to how you position your camera to capture an image. Experimenting with different framing techniques, such as close-ups, wide shots, and diagonal lines, can add depth and interest to your photos.

Sparks Photography Template from Strikingly

Sparks Photography Template from Strikingly


Importance of a focal point

A focal point is the main subject or object in an image that draws the viewer's attention. Choosing a strong focal point can help create a clear message or story within your photograph.

3. Equipment

Taking professional photos requires the right equipment. A high quality camera, lighting, lenses, and editing software are essential tools for any professional photographer. With the proper equipment and skills, photographs can be turned into art.

Choosing the right camera

Choosing the right camera is crucial, as different cameras have different features and capabilities. Full-frame cameras are great for low-light conditions and producing high-quality images, while mirrorless cameras are more compact and offer fast autofocus.

When it comes to lenses, prime lenses are great for portraits and low-light conditions, while zoom lenses offer versatility for capturing a wide range of subjects. Tripods and stabilizers help keep your camera steady for sharper images, especially in low light or when using slower shutter speeds.

Using editing software

Editing software and post-processing techniques can also enhance your photos. Adobe Lightroom is a popular choice among photographers, offering exposure adjustments, color correction, and noise reduction features. Photoshop is another powerful tool for advanced editing techniques, such as compositing multiple images or removing unwanted objects from photos.

Expensive doesn’t mean better photos

It's important to note that having expensive equipment doesn't necessarily guarantee better photos. When you’re learning how to take better pictures, understanding how to use your equipment effectively is key.

Practice makes perfect–this is true when it comes to photo-taking. Spending time learning about your camera settings and experimenting with different techniques can help you build a personal style and improve your skills over time. Seeking feedback from other photographers can also provide valuable insights into areas where you can improve.

Incorporating these professional photography tips into your work can help take your photography to the next level. And once you've captured those stunning shots, showcasing them on a website built with Strikingly can help you reach a wider audience.

4. Perspective

Photography is not just about capturing a moment, it's about telling a story through the lens. Experimenting with different perspectives is crucial to creating unique and captivating photos that stand out from the rest. Whether you're taking photos of landscapes or people, changing your perspective can make all the difference in the final result.

Experimenting with different perspectives

One way to experiment with different perspectives is by changing your physical position when taking photos. Try crouching down low, standing on a chair, or even lying on the ground to capture a unique angle. This can add depth and interest to an otherwise ordinary shot.

Unique angles and viewpoints

Another way to create unique angles and viewpoints is by using props or objects in your environment. For example, you can shoot through a window or doorway to create a frame within your photo. Or use leading lines such as roads or railings to guide the viewer's eye towards your focal point.

Capturing emotions and expressions

Capturing emotions and expressions in your photos can be challenging but rewarding when done right. To capture genuine emotions, it's important to build rapport with your subject and make them feel comfortable in front of the camera. Encourage them to be themselves and capture candid moments rather than posed shots.

Creating a visual story through photography

Creating a visual story through photography involves capturing moments that tell a narrative or convey an emotion without words. This can be achieved by focusing on details that help tell the story such as facial expressions, body language, or even props within the environment.

5. Practice

Taking better pictures requires practice and patience. It's essential to understand your camera settings and spend time learning and practicing different techniques. Building a personal style takes time, but seeking feedback and constructive criticism can help you improve your skills.

Understanding your camera settings

When you’re learning how to take better pictures and how to take professional photos, it's crucial to understand your camera settings. Learn how to adjust your aperture, shutter speed, and ISO to control the exposure of your photos. Experiment with manual or aperture priority modes to achieve the desired effect.

Spending time learning and practicing

Practice makes perfect when it comes to photo-taking. Spend time exploring different lighting situations and compositions. Learn new techniques through online resources like tutorials or photography forums.

Building a personal style

Professional photography tips often include developing a personal style that sets you apart from others. Experiment with different genres of photography, such as landscape or portrait photography, until you find what resonates with you the most.

Seeking feedback and constructive criticism

Getting feedback from other photographers is essential for growth as a photographer. Seek out critique groups or mentorship programs where you can receive constructive criticism on your work.

Strikingly Website Builder

If you're looking to take your photo-taking skills to the next level, creating a photography website is a great way to showcase your portfolio and attract potential clients. With Strikingly, you can easily create a professional-looking website without coding knowledge.

Building a Photography Website

Once you’ve learned how to take better pictures, it’s time to showcase it. Building a photography website with Strikingly is easy and straightforward. Here are some tips for building a photography website on Strikingly:

Strikingly has many templates specifically designed for photographers. Choose one that showcases images prominently and suits your photography style. Some options include portfolios, galleries, minimal, and bold templates.

Strikingly Template Selection Page

Strikingly Template Selection Page


  • Add your best photos

Curate a gallery of your best and most compelling photos. Strikingly makes it easy to upload photos and organize them into galleries. Focus on quality over quantity.

  • Optimize your images

Give your image files keywords-rich names like "portrait-photography-NYC.jpg" and "wedding-photography-bride-groom.jpg". Provide keyword-optimized alt text, titles, and captions for your photos to help with SEO.

  • Share your story

Use the blog section to share your photography tips, behind-the-scenes stories, news, and more. A blog helps establish you as an authority in your industry and gives visitors more reasons to return to your site.

  • Highlight your services

Create pages to feature your photography services, specialties, and prices or packages. This makes it easy for potential clients to understand what you offer and how they can book you.

  • Optimize for search

Choose page titles, headings, and content that incorporate important keywords for your target audience, like "New York Wedding Photographer" or "Portrait Photography Los Angeles". Fill out Strikingly's SEO best practices to improve your search rankings.

  • Build your mailing list

Add a mailing list signup form so visitors can subscribe to receive updates from you about sales, new blog posts, recent work, and more. An email list helps you stay in touch with interested prospects and past clients.

  • Social media integration

Link your social profiles, like Instagram and Facebook to your Strikingly site. This embeds your latest posts into your website and helps all your channels work together.

If you sell prints, digital downloads, gift cards, or other products, open an online store through Strikingly. Their ecommerce tools make it easy to launch a shop and sell to your website visitors.

Following these tips, you can create a stunning, optimized photography website on Strikingly to showcase your work, attract new clients, and build your business. A professional website is essential for any photographer, and Strikingly provides an easy way to get started.

Enhancing user experience through layout and design

The layout and design of your photography website are crucial in enhancing user experience and ensuring visitors stay on your site longer. With Strikingly's customizable templates, you can choose from different layouts, fonts, colors, and backgrounds that complement the style of your photos.

Integrating SEO practices into your website

To ensure that potential clients can find you online, it's important to integrate SEO practices into your photography website. With Strikingly's built-in SEO tools, you can optimize each page of your site with relevant keywords related to how to take better pictures or professional photography tips, helping improve its visibility on search engine results pages.


As with any skill or craft, continuous learning, and improvement are essential to becoming a better photographer. Keep up-to-date with the latest trends in photography and seek feedback from peers or professionals to help improve your skills.

Photography is more than just learning how to take better pictures or taking pictures; it's about capturing moments in time that tell a story and evoke emotions. If you have a passion for photography, don't be afraid to pursue it! Hard work and dedication can turn your hobby into a successful career.

In today's digital age, having an online presence is crucial for any business or individual looking to showcase their work. By integrating SEO practices into your website or online portfolio, you can increase your visibility online and attract potential clients searching for professional photography services.

Start building your photography website with Strikingly today!