Photography Basics: 1 Simple Tip for Getting the Photos You Want

It's pretty clear we care a lot about our photography and how aspirational we can make it look (even if we are just photographing our Starbucks cup). Post coffee-cup-photography, we scroll through people's Instagram profile in envy of how beautiful their feed is (I know I do it!) What's the difference between the photography we want & the photography we take? I thought I would share with you my 1 simple tip for getting the photography you want! And it's all in the editing.

Focus on how you want your pictures to feel. 

With the ease of photo editing through filters and auto-fixes, it's easy to make your photo look better and stop there. There's an instant "wow" factor in upping the contrast or adding a filter in our favourite app, but in this editing process where our goal is to make the photos look better we're at risk for losing the original character of the photos and weakening it's storytelling capabilities.

Instead focus on how you want your pictures to feel. Focus on setting the tone of the story the photo is going to tell. Do you want it to feel authentic? Supernatural? Full of life or life standing still? Deciding on the feeling you want for your photos and you are halfway there.

The second half of this process is figuring out how that feeling looks. Sometimes it's more obvious—for example if you want your photo to feel authentic upping the contrast and saturation isn't going to get you there, where as if you want it to feel surreal and full of life that may be the way to go.

My best advice? Much like how reading makes you a better writer, looking at photos makes you a better photographer. Seek out photos that set the tone you want to set for your photos—look for that feeling you wish to evoke. And then analyze. Is it cooler/warmer? High or low contrast? Does it feel soft or ultra clear? Is it bright or murky? Is it very much in your face or do you have to really examine it to see everything?

If you're still grasping this concept I'll give you an example from my photography. I want my photos to feel soft, whimsical, light, airy, ethereal. How does that look for me? Low contrast, soft focus, decreasing the saturation and clarity, neutralizing the warmth and coolness. And this is something that remains fairly consistent across all the personal photography I take and post.

scarf layers forest via
autumn fall style via

So don't edit for a better photo, edit for THE photo. Edit with purpose and edit with an awareness to how you are setting the tone for the story. Photography makes me people feel, decide what it is they feel.

For more like this, check out My Photography Basics.

*And because it's the first thing everyone asks when I talk about my photography, I shoot with an iPhone 5S and a Canon EOS 1100D with a Sigma 30mm lens.

What do you guys think about when editing your photos? And one tip for better photos? Happy shooting all!