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How to Shoot Like a Pro: 8 Essential Tips You Should Remember

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With DSLR cameras becoming much more affordable and with the recent interest in Mirrorless cameras, it’s no surprise that more amateur photographers want to shoot like pros, and buying the appropriate camera to do so is a great start.

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as that; just because you’ve purchased a professional camera doesn’t automatically mean your images will look professional. It will still require much practice and experience to capture the perfect shots, but buying a good camera will undoubtedly point you in the right direction.

Picture Taking
Photographer clicking photo from camera | Image credit: Freepik

The next step is learning about your camera and understanding it; every camera is different, and even with the same settings (aperture, shutter speed, etc.), you’ll see very different outcomes. Another thing to keep in mind is that it’s as much down to your environment and your own (creative) eye as it is to your camera of what images you can produce.

I will give you my own tips on what I believe can help you shoot like a pro; the rest is up to you. I personally own a mirrorless camera, but these principles apply generally to any type of professional camera on the market today.

Complete guide

1. Avoid Aberrations

This is a great tip because it applies to all photos, in all environments, landscape or portrait. I’ve often taken what I thought to be a great photo with an excellent subject and a beautiful backdrop. Only when I print the image or view it on my computer do I notice a dog doing his business in the background, and after that, it’s all I can see. We often spend too much time focusing on the composition, and we forget the anomalies that are hiding in plain sight.

2. Clearly identify your subject

It’s perfectly fine to have a pleasant backdrop to your image, but make sure the viewer knows who/what the subject is. Try to avoid having too many subjects in one shot, as this could deviate the viewer from the main topic.

If you’re at a crowded event but want to focus on just one person, you can adjust the settings accordingly; by lowering the aperture, you can focus on the main subject and blur the background. Alternatively, you can zoom in on your subject, but make sure you don’t zoom in too tight and ruin your shot. Continuing on the subject of…subjects, the next tip is also important.

3. Choose an interesting subject(s)

Don’t waste your camera’s storage space on boring subjects. The most captivating photos include interesting and often unusual subjects, especially when captured at a particular moment. This might mean waiting with your camera at the ready for the perfect moment; after all, good things come to those who wait.

If you see a monkey in a tree with its back to you, it’s not going to make a very captivating shot; wait until it turns to look at you (by seducing it with monkey calls and fruit) and then take your picture. And don’t be afraid to climb a mountain to get the perfect shot; it’s all part of the photography adventure!

4. The Trio of Exposure

I’m going to elaborate a bit more on what I mentioned before about understanding your camera. There are three important factors you should take into account with every picture: ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture.

Depending on the environment and lighting, you’ll need to adjust these. I won’t go into too much detail about this; instead, you can look at this handy infographic, read some more on this topic, and then put it into practice.

5. Lighting

Although you can adjust the settings on your camera and use flash when necessary, it’s really best to examine the lighting you already have and arrange (if you can) your scene and subject accordingly. At night, this will be a bit more challenging if you still want to capture high-quality images with little (digital) noise, but good DSLR and Mirrorless cameras are designed to capture clear images, even in low-light conditions.

6. A Creative Composition

This is possibly the most important tip if you want your photos to still look professional without following any tips (but I’m not suggesting that.) For more details on this, you can read about the ‘Rule of Thirds’, though I don’t believe it’s essential all of the time.

7. Leverage Social Media for Inspiration and Feedback:

Embrace platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Flickr to gain inspiration and constructive feedback. Follow professional photographers, join photography groups, and participate in challenges to enhance your creative vision and technical skills.

8. Integrate Mobile Technology

Utilize your smartphone alongside your professional camera. Apps can control camera settings remotely, help in planning shoots with weather/light predictions, and offer editing tools. This integration can enhance your flexibility and creativity in capturing images.


Nearly every photographer will make some sort of post-shoot tweaks to their photographs to make those final improvements. Maybe you feel that the image is not quite bright enough, or you’d like to increase the saturation; minor adjustments can go a long way. Like with most things, practice makes perfect. We can learn a lot from reading about different techniques, but nothing beats actually getting out there and learning from experience, so don’t waste too much time reading; happy snapping!


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