How to take great photographs on a budget

We work with the best photographers across Wales to provide amazing images for our clients but we’re still often asked how to take great pictures when you’re on a budget.

The following tips will help you improve your photography. We’ve used castles and other historic monuments as a subject to illustrate these tips but follow them and your photography will improve no matter what the subject is.

1. Lead the way

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Try to lead the viewer’s eye into your image.

Here we’ve placed the beginning of the bridge in the lower left of the picture to lead the eye diagonally to the upper right

This helps to lead the eye through the image and it is also a nice way of capturing the feel of exploring a site.


2. Timing is everything

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If you’re planning a filming session it’s worth considering what time of day is best to visit.

Early morning and early evening can yield spectacular colours and it’s also worth considering the direction of the sun.

It’s best to shoot with the sun behind you. If you’re photographing people, put the sun behind them to avoid squinting.

3. The rule of thirds

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A simple trick to make your photos look more professional is to follow the rule of thirds.

Imagine your viewfinder is split into horizontal and vertical thirds – some cameras and smart phones allow you to use this mode through ‘settings’.

Rather than positioning the horizon in the middle of the picture, try positioning on the top or bottom line.

Also experiment by placing objects of interest where the lines meet, this takes advantage of the way the eye behaves, it appears more balanced.

Of course there are exceptions to every rule; you don’t always have to follow this technique. Sometimes the exact opposite works better.

Here the hill is placed along the top horizontal line – the bridge also leads the eye in

4. Let there be light

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Low-lighting conditions often result in poor quality images.

Always try and shoot in a well lit area for video. If you do need to shoot stills in a low light environment use a tripod and shoot with a slower shutter speed.

Experiment with settings, you should be able to shoot at around 100th hand-held but you’ll need a tripod for anything below a 60th of a second.

This image was taken with a slow shutter speed

5. Frame your shots

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Always try to include something of interest in the foreground, middle and background of your image.

Not only does this frame the image nicely, it also allows the viewer to appreciate the image in three dimensions as opposed to two.

Here the flowers in the foreground frame the image nicely

6. Find your depth

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Use an object in the foreground to add depth to your image. Trees or landmarks a short distance away are perfect to give this effect.

“When a viewer is looking at the image, the object in the foreground will grab their attention and then slowly they will start to notice other details in your shot.

 7. Keep your distance

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When photographing landmarks, be sure to capture the surroundings too.

Take close up and wide shots to show your subject in context.

8. Balancing act

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Experimenting with colour balance can create stunning effects.

Changing between settings can totally change the tone and feel of a picture.

Point-and-shoot cameras and smart phones have various colour settings, it’s worth taking the same shot and varying between defaults. For example, the tungsten setting will correctly balance the orange hues created by lights and candles.

If you have any questions or would like to speak with us about improving our own image library, email, call Zara Cottle on 02920 764100 or email

Happy snapping!

 Thanks to Patrick Olner and Mike Dean for the tips. Pictures are all Crown Copyright Cadw.

2017-05-06T17:07:50+00:00 October 21st, 2015|EquiFeed, Uncategorized|