How to Make Your Photos Look Professional

Along with DSLR cameras, the cameras on the newest models of smartphones have continuously gotten more and more powerful over the last several years. For many, this comes with the ability to make cell phone photos look just as professional as the photos that many pay thousands of dollars to have done by an actual professional.

The increased use of social media has also made many people hyper-aware of their own photo’s lackluster finish. If you are looking to spruce up your photography game, then you have come to right place.

Whether you are looking to take a photo for advertising for your business or just take some professional grade pictures of your children, you could definitely save money by utilizing the super-powerful camera located inside of your smartphone.

Of course, just because we are all walking around with awesome tiny cameras hidden inside of our cell phones, that does not mean that no one uses DSLR cameras anymore. I own a DSLR camera and will still break it out for the occasional fun shoot. More often than not, however, I simply whip out my cell phone to take a picture.

No matter whether you choose to shoot with a DSLR, an iPhone, an Android, or even a digital camera, there are some proven ideas for making sure that your photos come out looking like they were shot by a pro. Join me as we look into each of the four tips for making your photos look like they were taken by a professional.

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Utilize the Lighting

Lighting is the number one most important aspect of getting the perfect shot. At its core, photography is quite literally the art of capturing an image through the concept of how the object reacts with light.

That said, if the lighting is poor within the area you are taking a picture, then it almost always follows that the picture will not be very clear. Most cameras, especially cell phone cameras and low-end digital cameras, are most effective in a setting with natural light.

Settings that are particularly dark usually produce very poor-quality pictures. In most cases, the built-in flash included on cell phones is not going to be very effective in helping to improve the lighting. If your goal is for your pictures to look like they were taken by a professional, then you will definitely want to avoid using the built-in flash on your cell phone camera.

In the event that you are planning ahead for your photoshoot (and intending to shoot outdoors), then you can utilize the sun’s natural process to make the most of the light outdoors. Photographers tend to favor the hour just after sunrise and the hour just before sunset as the very best time to take an outdoor photo. If possible, use this time to your advantage and take a play from the actual book of professional photography.

Sometimes, it simply is not possible to take your photo in the best time of light. That does not have to discourage you. Even though the lighting is generally regarded as best during these hours, there is always a way to work around lighting issues in the world of photography.

Finding a fully shaded area in which to take your picture is your best bet during the middle hours of the day. You want to make sure, though, that large patches of light are not hitting the subject you are photographing. To avoid this, just be sure to choose an area that is fully shaded. Remember, heavily shaded faces will likely look much worse on camera than it does in person.

The last lighting tip I have is take your camera outdoors and experiment with different angles of lighting. Take a friend outdoors to see what happens when you shoot in different areas and from different angles. Learning by doing is one of the best ways to improve your photography game when it comes to learning to use light.

Shoot a Different Perspective

Photography is an art form. In every other form of art, the artists will experiment with different perspectives and angles. The same is true of the art of photography. If you want your photo to look professional, you may have to look at your subject through different angles within the camera.

One of your main goals should always be to remain unique. No one wants to see the same tired poses shot from the same boring angle. No matter what you are photographing, finding the best perspective is going to be important.

If you are shooting from an iPhone or an Android, you can utilize gridlines on your camera to help you see the perspective from a geographical standpoint. Our eyes are naturally drawn to the areas where the gridlines fall on the screen. So, turning this feature on through the setting s on your camera app can be really beneficial in helping you to find the perspective and frame the subject in just the right manner.

The most common mistake that newbies make in the world of photography is shooting subjects from straight on and at a standing height 100% of the time. Sometimes, this may be the most appropriate viewpoint, but at other times you may need to change your positioning as the photographer to get the best angle.

For example, if you are photographing a child, you may need to kneel down to get on the same level as them. You may also find a need to be up higher than your subjects in some cases, like if you are trying to capture the aerial view of some unique structure.

The last note that I have on perspective is to avoid the rookie mistake of forgetting about the background of your picture. There are times where you will not have as much control over the background, but do not get into the habit of completely ignoring the background of your photo. In some cases, the background can completely make or break your entire photo.

Get Smart with Extra Tools

If you really want to step into the world of making your cell phone photos look professional, then there are certain tools that can be used to help you take stronger, steadier, sharper photos. In fact, some of these tools you probably already have.

Did you know that on most smartphones the volume buttons are there for more than volume control? These buttons can also be used to snap pictures. What this means for you is that by plugging in your headphones, you can also snap a picture with the volume control on the headphones.

In the world of professional photography, this is referred to as a remote shutter release. Professional photographers use this trick to get a steady shot without having to touch the camera. Usually, they have their camera mounted on a tripod when they use this trick. If you want to get really fancy, you can actually buy a tripod for your cellphone to help you obtain these super steady shots as well.

Some people also recommend the use of camera lenses built to mount onto the outside of the cell phone. However, there are a lot of people who argue that your phone is plenty powerful without the addition of yet another headache. Regardless, they are worth a mention if you are looking to boost the power of your cell phone photo capability.

Learn How to Edit Like a Pro

Those who have not built an entire business around snapping photos and capturing memories may not realize how much of that magic is actually created long after the shot has already been taken. Of course, pre-set filters from social media began when Instagram blew up and have since skyrocketed. But those filters are still just a small taste of the transformation that photos can undergo in the editing process.

You can actually download some really powerful apps to your cell phone that will allow you to do some of these same types of edits to the photos you take. Adobe has several free and paid apps that are extremely helpful for the burgeoning photographer. If you prefer to edit from a computer, you will likely need to pay for a decent photo editor.

Editing software can take some time to get used to, but it is mostly a process of learning through experience. You may need to practice with several photos in order to get the hang of using editing software to improve your photos. Just remember, the time spent learning the software is worthwhile when the photos look like a pro took them.

Final Thoughts

Achieving professional grade photos when you are not a professional photographer has become easier than ever before through the invention of recent technology. Utilizing these four tips will definitely help you make content worthy photos for whatever your goals are. However, it is important to remember that ultimately you still need to have a drive to create an art in the form of your photography.

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