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5 Little Things that Can Make a Big Difference in Your Photos

Creative Market March 31, 2021 · 3 min read
Are you spending too much time editing photos in post? There are five little things you can do to make your photos fantastic as soon as you click the shutter.

1. Adjust Your White Balance

White balance is something that so many beginning photographers overlook. Adjusting your white balance can make the colors in your photos warmer or cooler, depending on the effect you need. The lower the Kelvin value (K), the cooler your resulting photo’s colors will be. For example, if the warm light in your scene is making your photo much too yellow at 5000K, try dialing it back to 3500K or so.

2. Bounce Light

Sometimes you just need a little more light to make your subjects pop. Using a direct flash can leave your image full of sharp, unflattering shadows. The best option is bouncing light onto your subject. You can do this by reflecting natural light off of a photography reflector or a white sheet onto your subject. You can also direct your flash so that it bounces off a wall or ceiling onto your subject. This works best with a flat surface that’s white, though you can experiment with other surfaces.

3. Clean Your Lens

Do you ever take a photo that you think should be 100 percent focused and then realize later that small areas of the image are blurry? This is probably due to a dirty lens. Keep a lens cloth and spray with you at all times to ensure that your lens is sparkling clean. When you’re not using your camera, make sure to put the lens cap on to avoid accidentally touching the lens.

4. Composition

Don’t take a photo without thinking about the placement of the subject in the frame. Consider different cropping techniques like the rule of thirds. The first photo below is a good example of filling up the frame of the photo with your subject. The second photo is a good example of placing your subject off-center. Notice how your eye roams around the photo and settle back on the main subject.

5. Pre-Edit

You won’t need to edit as much if you pre-edit. Pre-editing is making sure that the distractions that you would usually edit out of your photos aren’t there in the first place. Here are some examples:
  • Look for accidental photo bombers. Don’t waste your time taking photos when people you don’t want in the image are walking through your scene. Be patient and wait for a break in the crowd. The end result will be worth it.
  • Watch your shadow. If you’re shooting with the sun at your back, it’s easy to end up with your shadow in the frame. Position your subject and light source so that this doesn’t happen.
  • Something distracting in the background? Have your subject stand in front of it so that you can’t see it in the final shot. Sure, you could edit it out in Photoshop later, but sometimes a quick step to the left or right is much less hassle!

Take Your Time

Sometimes a little extra thought and preparation before you take a photo can make all the difference. If you use these five tips the next time you shoot, you will reduce your editing time and create great photos that can be used straight from your memory card.
Header image created using Girl Taking a Photo with a DSLR.
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