World Photography Day: Snapping Better Pics

World Photography Day

Today is World Photography Day, so what better time could there be to ask one of our experts all about taking a good photo.

Read on below for top tips from renowned nature writer Polly Pullar.

Most people take photographs these days.

Once it was only the domain of more serious photographers and hobbyists, whereas now you can achieve pretty good results even with a smartphone. At least enough to record important moments and family events!

However, if you are thinking of taking up photography a little more often than this, it can be worth investing in a proper digital camera.

But don’t be put off at the start. Digital photography might seem technical, but even when you only know the basics, you can still take great shots. There is no need to become involved in all the complexities if you do not want to.

Whatever device you’re using to take pictures, here are some tips to help you get the most from your snaps.


World Photography Day


Let’s assume you are going to start by taking landscapes. If you are artistic in any way at all, you will find that you probably have an “eye for a picture”.

If not, don’t panic. Once you have your camera, you will begin to see pictures everywhere. You will soon learn what works and what doesn’t!

  • Think about framing your subject matter.
  • Use something in the foreground to give interest, perspective and scale to the scene.
  • Try different viewpoints – crouch down low or get up high.

Photographing People

World Photography Day


Outside light is kinder than a flash, unless you are a studio photographer.

The first rule is to make your subject feel at ease. If you are photographing children, then playing a game with them is a great help, or getting them to show you things out in the garden.

For more self-conscious adults, it is important to chat while you are taking pictures to distract them from what you are doing. It is also important to find a nice setting and let them lean or sit on something at least.

Photographing Animals


Photographing animals involves patience.

The best animal to start with is definitely a dog. Some are very easy and, if well trained, will sit for you. But there are many that certainly won’t, and you may have to wait some time.

Don’t give up too quickly! Take a tasty titbit in your pocket — tiny bits of cheese can work miracles!

It is also good to get down to the same level so that you are not photographing the subject from above. Alternatively, can you get the subject to sit up on something instead?

It is worth having a fast shutter speed for most animal photography, as often the subject is moving or still only momentarily. This allows you to get a sharper image.

With a “point and shoot” camera there is a tiny delay before the picture is taken, so often you may just miss what you are aiming at with a moving subject or animal that won’t keep still.

Most cameras — even those on smartphones — now come with the ability to adjust shutter speed and take rapid-fire images. This is often called a “burst mode”.

On a smartphone camera, this is usually activated just by holding the shutter button down for a few seconds. Then you can sift through the photos afterwards and pick the best one!

Photographing Flowers


Flowers make some of the most fabulous subjects, and you have an added bonus in that they are not self-conscious and don’t move.

Wind and weather conditions can make getting a good shot quite hard, however.

There are so many different ways to portray them. Some flowers lend themselves to macro photography, whilst others — like great swathes of daffodils, bluebells or snowdrops — need to be shown in their profusion as well.

In spring and summer, I usually get up very early. Whilst the kettle is boiling and the dogs are going out to do their ablutions, I spy the dew and wonderful light on the garden and rush out with my little camera.

Look closely and you will also find bees, other insects and butterflies enjoying the flowers, too, and these add another fantastic dimension to your flower photographs.

Seems like good advice to me!

It’s time to pick up that camera and get snapping.

For more from Features Ed Alex, read his blog here.

To celebrate World Photography Day, we asked our followers on social media to share their favourite photos with us. Keep an eye on the results via our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Alex Corlett

Alex is the "Friend's" Features Editor, working with the talented Features Team to bring you everything from cryptic crosswords to financial advice, knitting patterns to international travel and inspirational real life stories. Always on the hunt for a new feature idea, Alex also enjoys cycling and loves a good tea room.