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194 of the best photography tips from professional photographers

Discover some of the best tips for portraits, weddings, landscapes and commercial photography from people who make a living shooting them

61. Go square

Image: Scott Johnson

I’m a big fan of the square crop, and old enough (just) to have shot film at weddings, so sometimes revert back to old habits… give it a try, as you might surprise yourself.

62. Be brave

If you have an idea, share it with the couple; if you don’t ask, you don’t get! If need be, take them for a drive away from the venue to get that killer shot. 

63. Always remember your sunscreen! 

We’re outside for eight hours a day, so sunscreen is key! P20 is a personal favourite of mine, as one application will last all day. 

64. Look for light 

Image: Scott Johnson

Look for pockets of light wherever you go. Walk into a room and turn the lights off so you can see where the best natural light is. 

65. Don’t be shy!

Ask your brides to share your posts – it’s free advertising! Also, try and tag them in where possible so their friends can see it. 

66. Use negative space 

As well as leading lines, negative space is a great way to help with the album spread sales. Leave negative space to fill the space with more images in the album.

67. Fix distortion

Image: Scott Johnson

Architects spend years in university learning so that their buildings look perfect, so let’s honour them by making sure our images aren’t wonky! A short adjust in Photoshop will correct and make the building perfect. 

68. Use HDR carefully

The HDR trend seems to be subsiding, thankfully. But HDR done correctly can work beautifully, so a more subtle approach is needed for the best results. 

69. Offer teaser shots 

Image: Scott Johnson

Post a teaser shot on your social media platforms to build hype for the main gallery.

70. Be social savvy

Facebook is okay, but Instagram is key. 

Read more: How to use Instagram for your photography 

For image makers, it’s the best platform. Aim to post three to four images a week. 

71. Keep up to date

If you’re selling wedding albums, keep them looking fresh. A couple won’t want to book you if your sample albums are looking tatty! Most companies offer sample discounts, so take full advantage! 

72. Invest in lights

Whether it be off-camera flash, video light or LED panels, external lights can help to make the perfect shot. 

73. Always blog 

Show the brides that you are active by blogging. If like me your never have enough time, employ a ghost writer to help. A one-hour Skype will give them plenty of content. 

74. Use a portable hard drive

I take a portable hard drive to back up on the shoot. Some manufacturers offer a standalone drive with built-in SD slots to back up on the move. 

75. Leading lines 

Leading lines are the perfect way to draw the viewer into what you actually want to show. They can also work well as a double-page spread in your album. 

76. Don’t walk past it!

Even the most challenging venues can offer the most amazing photographic opportunities, so think outside the box when looking for locations to shoot in. 

77. Ask for forgiveness, not permission! 

Never ask for permission, as people will often say no… if you see a shot, take it, then just say sorry afterwards. That way, the shot is in the bag!

78. Roll with the punches 

Be adaptable and flexible on the wedding day, and remember, it’s not all about you. No matter what shot you might want to get, it’s their day, not yours.

79. Be Instagram relevant 

Be consistent with what you post on your professional social media profiles. If you shoot weddings, post weddings. Brides don’t want to see a photo of you on holiday!

80. Consider detail 

Image: Scott Johnson

There is nothing more frustrating as a print judge than seeing the most amazing image, but the small details are missing. Always show cuffs where possible, for example.

All words: Scott Johnson 

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