6 rules of thumb for every photographer

Updated: 2021-06-30

Photography is an art form that has long been at the forefront of technology. Not only do new camera systems continue to be developed, but long-exposure techniques, HDR photography, and specialized lenses have all recently become mainstream, to name just a few.

So whether your hobby is snapping a quick photo to post on Instagram or taking a series of carefully composed shots to create a professional portfolio, there are several rules to consider regarding photography.

These rules apply to every photo, both professional and personal. Some photographers may not adhere to them, but most do. I started writing these rules to help me with my photography, so I thought I would share them with Photoopia visitors.

Always have your camera with you

Most people fail to take a picture because they don’t have their camera with them. On the other hand, you may have experienced the moment when you were out, and something incredible happened, and you thought, “Why don’t I have my camera?” You never know when inspiration might strike, so make it a habit to always have your camera with you.

Shoot more pictures

No matter how many photos you have, even if you think there are enough, you can never be sure!

A digital camera will not charge you an additional fee if you take more than one picture, so there is no need to take one photo when you can take more than one.

It doesn’t matter how mundane a scene might seem; it can be memorable a few years from now. So, don’t be afraid to capture it! Also, you never know which shot will be the best until you take it. Since it’s free, you have nothing to lose.

As a photographer, you can trust your vision and feelings when taking your photographs when you have studied the laws of composition. As an example, you might move the camera around when framing the shot so that you can explore the area.

Then, find an angle and composition that feels right to you and take the picture. In reality, it is not the camera that makes the picture; it’s the photographer!

Although you can buy the most expensive camera on the market, it does not ensure you will take better photographs. What you need to do is become more experienced so that you will be able to find the best shot for you. Now that you understand that, it’s important to make sure your composition is on target. You’ll need to learn about the rule of thirds, as well as framing techniques.

With this information, you will know exactly where to point your camera and where you need to focus on taking the best pictures possible. You will soon feel as if these techniques are second nature once you have mastered them.

Until you learn them, they may seem like a foreign language! In addition to learning techniques, you can certainly invest in different accessories, lenses, and filters to help you take more memorable photographs. Still, there are many ways you can take outstanding pictures without spending tons of money on expensive accessories.

Zoom in

It was so much fun to explore the ground beneath your feet and discover new worlds while playing on the grass as a child. You might be surprised at the diversity of animals and plants you can see when you get very close to them.

You might not be inclined to lay down in the backyard (now) and take in all the details, but you will get amazing images that you won’t find anywhere else.

Macro mode can make even the most basic objects seem new and fascinating. It’s easy with digital cameras. Look for the macro or close-up icon. This is often a flower symbol.

After turning it on, you can get as close as possible to the object. After finding the thing that appeals to you, press down on the shutter button about halfway to enable focus. Once you get the green light, push the shutter button down until the entire image is recorded.

Remember that the depth of field in close-up mode is very narrow. This means that the focus should be on the most important part of the subject, and the rest of your image may go soft. This will produce a stunning photo.

You can also use the built-in optical zoom to replace macro mode. Digital zoom is also available on many cameras, but you should avoid using it. It works by adding pixels to an image to increase its size, so the picture may sometimes not be as clear as it should be. You can opt for optical zoom and then crop the image to select the area you wish to zoom in.

Respect the horizon

Most people have trouble holding their digital camera level when using LCD monitors. Sunsets look then cocky-eyed, landscapes appear crooked, and towers are tilted.

Your camera’s optics can cause distortion when rendering large panoramas on small, 2-inch screens. While the trees you tried to photograph may look straight when you view them with your naked eye, they will bow inward on the monitor of your camera.

No wonder new photographers get confused when trying to line up their shots. What can you do to fix this?

There is no magic bullet that will solve all your horizon line problems. However, you can make some improvements by keeping these things in mind.

First, it is important to take as many images as you can. If framing is difficult, you can try to get a straight shot and then reposition to capture another. After you have found the perfect alignment, you can ignore the rest of the pictures.

You can either use the line where the sky meets water or a small strip of land. You will notice a gradual improvement in the quality of your shots if you can practice level framing. Remember to use a tripod in this instance!

Use fill flash mode

The fill flash, or flash on mode, is one of the most overlooked features in digital cameras. You can control the flash to make it work when you want it and not when the camera thinks it is appropriate. This is a crucial step towards capturing amazing outdoor photos.

The flash mode exposes the background first and then adds enough flash to illuminate the subject. This results in a professional-looking image that makes everything look good. This technique is something that wedding photographers use regularly.

Once you are comfortable using this technique outdoors, you can experiment with a few variations. For example, position the subject so that the sun illuminates their hair from either the side or back. This is also known as rim lighting.

Another option is to place the model into the shadow under a tree and then use the flash to illuminate it. This will keep the model comfortable and won’t make them squint in the bright sun. In addition, it often leads to a more relaxed portrait.


Warming up the tones of the image will improve its aesthetic appeal by making it appear less harsh. This is especially useful for outdoor photos. To reduce harshness, you can use your camera in a cloudy setting.

You can filter your shot with simple pair of sunglasses if your camera does not have this feature. To ensure that the rims are not in the picture, place the glasses as close as possible to the camera lens.

This will improve the colors and intensify the sky tones when taking outdoor photos. For the best results, position yourself, so the sun is directly above your left or right shoulder. Polarizing effects are strongest when light sources are at 90 degrees from the subject.