10 Tips to take better photos


I have been shooting a lot of wide-angle cityscapes and landscapes since I started with photography. I like that I can show a lot of the surroundings in a pretty tight environment. For my wide-angle shots, I use the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 on a and Sony α7 III. It is a really affordable lens and the quality is outstanding. The only drawback is that the lens is completely manual, so no auto-focus or controlling the aperture with the camera. I only use this lens for landscape and cityscape so for me that is no problem.


1. Get Close, really close.

Things close to a wide-angle lens appear much bigger than with a longer lens. Get low to the ground. For example, you can use bricks on the floor or flowers as an interesting foreground element. Also since it is possible to get a lot of the scene in the frame, try pointing the camera either 45 degrees up or 45 degrees down to get a more interesting too. This will give you a lot of compositional possibilities.



2. Look for patterns in the sky.

You will be able to get a lot of the sky, together with the city or landscape in the frame. Clouds tend to look interesting in a shot with a wide-angle lens. When photographing the Zaanse Schans in The Netherlands I saw the clouds drifting towards the center of the object I was photographing. After some adjusting my position and using a long exposure, the clouds created some interesting leading lines to guide the viewers' eyes to the center.


3. Fill the space.

This might be one of the most important tips for using a wide-angle lens. If a big part of the frame isn't filled the image will look boring pretty fast. Instead, there’s a lot of open space that doesn’t contribute to the overall image.



4. Take advantage of the distortion!

Wide-angle lenses will exaggerate in the corners, pulling whatever is close to the edges apart. So if you frame a mountain




5. Play with longs shutter speeds and motion.

Different shutter speeds have a big effect on pictures that include clouds, water, and waves because of the movement. Longer shutter speeds create a more calm look to the photo while fast shutter speed can capture the power of a big wave. I suggest taking both shots so you can always decide later which one is better.



6. Watch the weather.

Watch the weather report for storms and mist for example. A scene always looks more special in these conditions simply because it doesn’t happen that often.




7. Use a tripod.

Since I do a lot of blue hour photography, I often use a tripod Settings I use depend on the result of course but usually, I set my camera to aperture priority, f/8 to f/16, and ISO 100. The camera then decides the shutter speed required to get a 0 EV exposure. To make sure I capture the entire dynamic range iI bracket my shots from -2 EV, 0 EV, and +2 EV.


8. Use a longer lens to get details.

As most landscapes and cityscapes are shot on really wide lenses, which I completely understand, you can get really unique photographs with a focal length from 100 to 400mm. This way you can come away with way more great photos of a single location.



9. Use Layers. Try putting something in the foreground, even if it's out of focus. Here you can see how the out of focus branches ad a new interesting layer to the photo. This also works really well with leaves.



10 Use light. Light and composition are, for me, the two most important factors for a good photograph. Light can create patterns and leading lines for a good composition. Also, it can show and exaggerate details.



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