Want to Take Better Photos? 10 Key Tips

Photo for Mango Street photo tips video tutorial

We all want to take better photos but it’s easy to get stuck in a rut with your images. You end up taking the same sort of photos again and again and never improve. Fortunately, there are handy tutorials from professional photographers to help you step up your photography game immediately.

One of our favorite educational resources is Mango Street. Comprised of husband-and-wife photographer team, Daniel Inskeep and Rachel Gulotta, Mango Street specializes in creating “photography tutorials that don’t waste your time.” And in the below video, titled “Take Better Photos with These 10 Tips!” they jump right in with their imaging advice.

“When you’re out taking photos, you can use this checklist to make sure you’re taking interesting and meaningful photos,” Gulotta says about the tutorial.

“What we’re calling scroll stoppers,” Inskeep adds.

In the video tutorial at the bottom of this post, the duo suggests you ask yourself the following questions before you take a photo. Even better, they explain these tips while showing you their work as examples, along with behind-the-scenes footage from some of their shoots.

Tip 1: Is Your Photo Striking?

“What we want you to keep in mind [first] is that you really want to try to make your photos striking,” Gulotta says. “You want people to stop in their tracks when they’re scrolling Instagram. You want to make them want to take a closer look at your image.”

Tip 2: Is the Photo Creative?

“Our goal when we go out to shoot is to capture things we haven’t seen a million times before,” Gulotta notes. “I think it could be really tempting for photographer to go out and shoot the same trends over and over again but what we think makes a photo really striking is when you shoot something that hasn’t been seen before.”

Tip 3: How Is Color Being Used?

“People might overlook color theory but it’s actually vitally important to expressing the correct mood or visual interest in your photo,” Gulotta explains. “It’s important to be really mindful when you’re choosing colors because it’s going to dictate how your viewer is going to perceive the photo.”

Tip 4: Does It Show a Mastery of Lighting?

“Understand the fundamentals of photography is so crucial when you’re making your photos. Light can play a huge role in your photo; light can act as a subject in your photo. If you light your subject in a certain way, it can guide your eye to your subject.”

Tip 5: Does the Composition Direct the Viewer’s Eye to Your Focal Point?

“Is there balance and interest? Your overall goal when composing a shot should be directing your viewer’s eye to your subject.”

Tip 6: How Does Story Play a Role in the Photo?

“Is your photo meaningful in any way? Instead of just taking random photos, we think that photos are more meaningful when they communicate something with your viewer. That could be an emotion, an idea, a feeling or a theme.”

Tip 7: Does the Location Add Intrigue or Story to the Photo?

“We did a shoot with Will last year where we put him in a spacesuit and then we had him skating around this urban environment. If we would’ve done that shoot more in nature, that would’ve changed the entire vibe.”

Tip 8: Does Your Subject Pop?

“Focal length is an obvious way to make your subject pop, but you can also do it in other ways like we’ve mentioned before. You can also use color to make your subject pop.”

Tip 9: Are There Repeating Patterns & Shapes?

“Another way you can really add interest to your photo is by using repeating patterns or shapes that you see throughout the entire photo. It’s something that’s really subtle but super captivating. The human eye is drawn to repeating patterns.”

Tip 10: Can You Put It All Together?

“Finally, do all of these tips work together to create a specific mood for your photo?”

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