5 Tips to Take Your Photography to the Next Level


  • Find window light and shoot at golden hour. Btrt. One of THE most important things to take great photos is lighting. And to be consistent. Consistently shooting in the same type of lighting will give your work a much more cohesive look. Most photographers love “golden hour” this is the hour right before sunset where everything is well…. Golden. If it is overcast or gloomy try turning your subject so the most available source of light is on their face. Do this to avoid dark shadows under their eyes. Basically impossible to edit. Open shade is one of my favorite types of light. Ever taken a selfie in your car? So much good light because you are shaded but there are windows all around you. If you place your subject in the shade but as close to the light as possible, you are basically guaranteed great light. I love shooting in a tunnel or under a bridge for this reason.


  •  As a portrait photographer, I typically shoot couples between F/2.2 and 2.8. I never shoot with my shutter speed slower than like 1/200 and ISO as low as possible to expose correctly. I typically expose a stop or 2 below to save my highlights in the sky. If you are photographing more people bump your aperture to around F/4 if there are all relatively close together to ensure everyone is in focus. If your subject is in motion, bump your shutter speed up as much as possible with the available light. I always shoot in Auto Focus and continuous shooting. I would recommend researching (or reading the owner manual…. BORING) I use youtube and just type your camera and the best settings. It is important to learn your camera and all the different settings it has. Mine has eye-tracking which is super AMAZING.

Composition + posing

  • MAKE YOUR LINES STRAIGHT. Slanted horizontal lines are NO BUENO. Also, think about where you are cropping your client’s limbs at. I would avoid cropping right at the wrist and right at their feet. Obviously some of these shots can be creative but just be mindful. Also, shooting at different angles with every pose can help bring a ton of variety into the gallery. Get near get far get as many angles as you can within one pose and really slight movements like having him gently run his fingers down her jaw, play with her hair, tell each other silly things in their partner’s ear, eskimo kisses, etc. all of these prompts give your photos a much less awkward and more genuine feel.


  • Have you ever had clients show up in t-shirts with huge logos on them?! I HAVE. We need to EDUCATE people on what photographs well on camera. Create a style guide that educates them. Send them a Pinterest board with inspiration photos of outfits you love. They will feel much more cared for as well. 
  • Shooting what you love and showcasing what you WANT to shoot is big. Don’t post what you don’t want to shoot. If you don’t want to shoot neon green under armor, then don’t post it. Only advertise what speaks to you and your ideal client. This is why styled shoots can be so useful. You are styling it exactly how you want your clients to dress, where the shoot will take place and you also can get really creative and comfortable with shooting because there is no pressure. 


  • THE MOST IMPORTANT! Educate. Yourself. Never stop learning. Watch youtube videos, read blogs, follow people who inspire you (but don’t compare) listen to podcasts, read books, PRACTICE. Shoot every day. Don’t be afraid to invest in your business and hire someone who is one step ahead of where you want to be. Go to a workshop. Having people in your corner rooting you on and helping you to really take a lot of the stress and overwhelm out of it is soooooo helpful. 

Once you know all these rules, then you can break them. We are all always learning and growing every day. I’m here to help if you have any questions!

If you want to learn more about mentoring click HERE

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Ashley J Photography | abjourodnnais@gmail.com | @ashley.j.Photo

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