40+ Photography Tips and Tricks!

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AWESOME Photography Tips & Tricks!

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With the sun shining more and Summer right around the corner, we know you are going to spend as MUCH time outside as possible! And with all your fun Summer plans, you’ll be sure to bring your camera to capture all the goodness. Savoring those sweet summer memories is really what matters most, right?! So, with the help of Diva Candice {seriously, THANK you girly! I couldn’t have done it without ya!} WE want to help YOU get the most of your camera and capture every last bit of AWESOME this summer has in store!

And in order to bring you the best photography tips and tricks, we’ve asked expert photographers to share with us a few golden bits of knowledge. And even if you don’t have the fanciest camera or 4 assistants to help you make sure your kids are sitting still, we know you can still get the pictures of your dreams!

So with the help of the amazingly talented Shannon of Everyday Creative, Nicole from Nicole Martin Photography, Misha from Photographie J’adore, the amazing Diva Candice, and with a little help from myself {Diva Chrissy from Christine Naomi Photography} we’ve gathered together over 40 of the BEST tips and tricks for using your camera.

And to make it EVEN easier for you, our tips will be broken down into 6 SUPER basic and easy categories:

  • LIGHT – understanding how to work with light is your BIGGEST advantage in taking great pics!
  • PERSPECTIVE – getting creative with your perspective will make your photo’s POP!
  • PHOTO FUN – use these tips to help you enjoy the journey of picture taking!
  • PEOPLE – understanding your subjects and how to work with them is key!
  • TECHNICAL TIPS – don’t let this scare you! Just a few technical tips can go a LONG way!
  • PHOTO SUBJECT IDEAS – play around with WHAT you are shooting!

But that’s not all!

With the help of the incredibly talented and AH-mazing creative genius Kristin, of CdotLove, we ALSO included a SUPER fun and inspiring summer photo bucket-list printable! Join other Dating Diva readers and capture each item on the 30-day list! You can even capture them with your phone, post them to Instagram and use the hashtag #ddsummermemories to see what other readers have posted! {not following us on Instagram yet? Find us at @datingdivas!}

Summer Memories Photography Bucket List

Get your Summer photo bucket list HERE!

Alright! Let’s jump in with our tips and tricks! First up:


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1. Window LightWhen indoors, getting close to a window or open door will give you pretty light. Stand just next to the window opening to capture pretty light on your subject! {tip & photo credit: Shannon}

2. Light SourceFind your light source FIRST, and then start setting everything up for the shot. If you need the kids to turn a certain way, or to take a few steps sideways, it will make a WORLD of difference in the final shot. {tip & photo credit: Chrissy}

3. Diffused LightThe prettiest light is diffuse, natural light. Overhead light creates unflattering shadows, bright sunshine gives you a squinty face, and fluorescent light can give skin a gross cast. Make your life easier by taking your photos next to a large window or in open shade. {tip & photo credit: Misha}

4. Golden HourPractice taking shots during the “golden” hour of light (usually the hour before the sun sets). Your subject’s faces will be luminous! {tip credit: Candice}


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5. Get LowKneel or lie down to capture the world and children from their view. {tip & photo credit: Shannon}

6. LinesKeep an eye out for interesting lines… straight lines on a building, leading lines down a street, the curved lines of walking path… and position your subject around it! {tip & photo credit: Chrissy}

7. BackgroundPay attention to what is in the background, move your subject or just step to the side if there is a pole coming out of your subjects head or the background is just busy and moving a little will make it more appealing. {tip credit: Nicole, photo credit: Candice}

8. AnglesPlay around with angles – take photos from up high – your sweetie sitting on a picnic blanket! or down low – little toes in sand. {tip & photo credit: Misha}

9. Turn Your CameraDon’t be afraid to turn your camera. There are no RULES telling you an image as to be viewed a certain way, experiment with different perspectives! {tip credit: Chrissy}

10. ClutterAlso watch for clutter, sometimes just the simple kick of a pop can laying on the ground or moving a bag or large toy quickly will make all the difference in making your subject pop and the center of the photo. {tip credit: Nicole}

11. Let the Kiddos TryPut the camera in your child’s hands– you will be amazed at what they capture! The photos might be blurry but the memories of impromptu selfies and images from their perspective will be priceless! {tip credit: Candice}


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12. Challenge YourselfConsider a 365 project where you take a picture a day. Popular subjects are self portraits, your kids, daily life, pets and nature. {tip & photo credit: Shannon}

13. Print your images: There are many many book making companies out there now that are easy to use and cost less then 4×6 prints and albums! Hardcover books are best as they last longer. They also take up less room then traditional albums. Two companies I love are Moleskin & Milk and VioVio. {tip credit: Shannon}

14. Follow inspiring photographers: to keep your creative juices flowing, surround yourself with work that inspires you! {tip credit: Chrissy}


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15. Make your subject/s laugh: This is the one type of photo that will ALWAYS bring a smile to your face when you view it in the future! The more goofy and without dignity you are the more your subject will genuinely laugh. To get natural laughs and smiles, one trick I often use is to ask my subjects to do something a bit out of their comfort zone like fake laugh. After I snap the awkward image they generally laugh and smile big which is when I snap the ‘real’ image. {tip & photo credit: Shannon}

16. Get in the picture, too!: Whether you’re on vacation, at your kid’s game, or just out on a date night, make sure you’re in some of the images, too. {tip credit: Misha & photo credit: Chrissy}

17. Camera ShynessFor kids who are camera shy the best thing to do is carry around a camera the entire time for 1-2 days with no expectaions of smile or do anything capturing life as it happens. It sounds like overkill, but it works to take away the pressure of a camera out with most kids. {tip credit: Shannon}

18. Never ever tell a child to say “Cheeese”. Ever. {tip credit: Nicole}

19. Natural FacesTo get the most natural of faces working with anyone of any age but especially in children one of my tricks is I just talk to them. I very rarely tell them to smile. I talk to them about their Halloween costumes, fav ice cream, going swimming, playing baseball … anything that makes them happy and then I just snap that perfect photo while they are telling me all about it. {tip credit: Nicole}

20. PosingIf you are posing for a pic as a family, read this article for Do’s and Don’ts! {tip credit: Candice}

21. FocusingWhen photographing faces, make sure you focus on the subject’s eyes- you want those beauties to be crystal clear! {tip credit: Candice}


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22. Flash~ Selfie Lovers Take Note ~ Soften the camera on your flash when you take close ups by placing tissue or other thin light object over the flash. The light will be softer and less harsh and the color will come out nicer. {tip & photo credit: Shannon}

23. Using GridsUse the grids on your camera or phone to be a guide for composing a photograph. And if you didn’t get it right in the shot, you can always crop it while editing! {tip & photo credit: Chrissy}

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24. Get in close: Get ready to take a picture like normal and take 1-5 steps forward to take the shot. It’s amazing how much more connected you will feel to your subjects. {tip & photo credit: Shannon}

25. ExposureBe creative with your exposure in really dark places. Expose for the light and you end up with really great silhouettes! {tip & photo credit: Chrissy}

26. BokehLove the bokeh that you can create from Christmas lights? Use an editing app to add bokeh to your summer pics. For Iphone users, I love the apps Lumie and LensLight Optical Effects. {tip & photo credit: Candice}

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27. Rule of ThirdsUse the rule of thirds to create a more interesting composition. When the subject is off set, the image is more interesting than when it’s dead center. {tip & photo credit: Misha}

28. EquipmentThe best camera EVER is the one you have with you. Learn to use your phone’s camera backwards and forwards so you can get great shots any time. {tip & photo credit: Misha}

29: AppsWhile we’re talking about phone photos, get the Snapseed app – it’s free, available for iPhones and droids, and can correct a multitude of photographic sins. {tip & photo credit: Misha}

30. SimplicityKeep it simple! While we all love Pinterest and perfect set ups, sometimes the best photos are the ones of just YOU and your loved ones. {tip & photo credit: Misha}

31. ZoomIf your camera has digital zoom do not use it. Only use the optical zoom your camera has. Once your optical zoom limit is reached use your feet to get closer to your subject. {tip credit: Shannon}

32. Finger SmudgesWhen shooting with your phone camera, periodically check to make sure it is free of fingerprints– especially if your kiddos love to borrow your phone! {tip credit: Candice}

33. Get In the ShotIf you are going to a family reunion or trying to capture a large group of people, consider using a tripod and a shutter release remote. This will allow you to get in the picture! Funny side story- I used this tip to capture our friendsgiving one year and the camera was set to take 10 pictures instead of 1- the expressions my camera caught were hilarious!! Surprise! {tip credit: Candice}

34. Take lots of PhotosTake more photos than you need to – if it takes 15 snaps to get the one you like, then so be it. Take a lot, delete what you don’t like, and enjoy what you do.{tip credit: Misha}

35. PracticeThe more often you shoot, the better you’ll get! {tip credit: Misha}

36. LightIf a spot is too dark for a picture, it’s too dark. No amount of ‘faking it’ will make the photo happen, so it’s best to just wait for better lighting. {tip credit: Chrissy}

37. PatienceBe patient!!! NO ONE {well hardly ANYONE ;-)} gets THE shot on the first try! Sometimes you have to sit and wait for the right moment and take quite a few frames before you get what you want. {tip credit: Chrissy}

38. BackupGet a system in place for organizing all your digital files. AND BACK IT UP!!! {tip credit: Chrissy}


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39. Everyday LifeTake some photos of everyday moments and things important to you. Images become our memory triggers when we look at them in the future. {tip & photo credit: Shannon}

40. Sunny DayWhen it’s really sunny out in the middle of day, experiment with taking snapshots of shadows. {tip & photo credit: Candice}

41. ColorKeep your eye out for color! No matter what your subject is, if it’s colorful it’ll make a pretty photograph! {tip & photo credit: Chrissy}

42. DetailsFocus on the details! Capture the each piece of the here and now. Take a photograph of your child’s hands holding her favorite piece of summer fruit, for example, a pic of her feet in her favorite pair of flip flops, or even the road sign on your memorable summer road trip! {tip credit: Candice}

43. ActionCapture the action! Snap a pic of the action at your favorite sporting event or kiddos running around in the backyard… If you have a DSLR, use a fast shutter speed to render the motion accurately. Or, try a slow shutter speed to create some awesome motion blurs! For Iphone users, take a video of all the action and embed it within a collage grid using the app PicPlayPost! {tip credit: Candice}

Last but not least, we definitely recommend checking out this fantastic Beginner’s Guide to Photography for Social Media. It’s chalk full of incredible tips for influencers, bloggers, and content creators!

NOW you should be WELL on your way to taking amazing pictures!

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I am a busy wife and Mother to three beautiful children! I was raised in California but I now call Texas home, and I love being with my family more than anything in the world! I have LOTS of different interests and love learning new things. Photography and being a wife/mommy are what make me the happiest, but water skiing on a hot summer day isn't a bad second choice!

Learn more about Chrissy
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