Professional Photographer Lilly Goga’s Tips for Taking Great Photos this Summer
As a professional wildlife photographer and graduate of the New York Film Academy, Lilly Goga knows how to take excellent quality photographs. She took the time to share her expertise and outlined the following 11 tips to help capture professional photographs this summer.
1. Take More Photos: Want to take better photos? Take MORE photos. Bring your camera with you every day, and everywhere you go. You’ll learn about the subjects you enjoy capturing most and what you are best at photographing. You’ll also learn from your mistakes and your successes.
2. Travel: Get outside your comfort zone. Whether it’s going to new places in your home town, or traveling the globe to find the perfect photo opportunity, your photography will get better once you add new objects and locations to your mix. Exiting your comfort zone forces you to look at and approach an area from a completely different perspective. Lilly Goga says that leaving your comfort zone will help you develop a sharper eye that will round out your photographic skillset.
3. Get Closer: When you think you’re close enough to your subject matter, take a step (or two) closer. The closer you are to your subject, the more detail you’ll capture, with less wasted space. Your photos will feel more personal and really show the action and personality you are trying to capture.
4. Be Patient: Take the time to frame your shot, wait for the best reaction, or look around for other subjects. The first photo you take is rarely the best one. Lilly Goga states you must be patient and take the time to look for original subjects and viewpoints, or else you run the risk of posting over saturated subject matter.
5. Use the Light to Your Advantage: Before you raise your camera or snap your first shot, find the light and make it work for you. Determine where the light will be. Is the light interacting with or diffusing your subject? According to Lilly Goga, creative light use is what turns a great photo into an amazing one.
6. Practice Using your Flash: To learn when and how to best use your flash (hint, sometimes you need to use it during the day too), practice! Using a flash can bring your subjects into focus or add harsh shadows. Learn more about how and when to use it by practicing and comparing shots with and without a flash.
7. Work with your Subjects: If you are shooting kids, dogs, or even adults; practice what makes them react at the right time to get your best shot. Maybe the problem is not them, it’s you! “SMILE” is tired. What’s the best word (or joke) you can use to get a photo-ready reaction?
8. Framing: The best and most engaging photos aren’t of a single object in the middle of the screen. How can you use what’s in the background to frame and draw attention to your subject? How can you make your view original? Check out the “rule of thirds” to learn even more.
9. Use a Tripod: If you are shooting in low light, you really need to use a tripod to capture any type of focus in your photos. This will also help you take engaging nighttime photos. A tripod gives you the opportunity to capture more dynamic movement in your pictures as well.
10. Golden Hour: It is true, that the best light for photographs happens at the beginning and end of the day. Make sure you’re in place and ready to shoot before the sunrise or sunset begins, to capture the best shots when the right time comes.
If you actively practice the above techniques, you will unlock photography skills that will take your photos to the next level.