with Courtney Slazinik
Over 100 Photography Tips to Elevate your Photography
Business, Composition, Editing, Gear, Manual Mode
Over 100 Photography Tips to Elevate your Photography

I want to share with you everything I have learned over the past couple of years and help you along your journey! Whether you just got your first DSLR or you have been shooting for years, we have photography tips for everyone.

I am a huge advocate of shooting in manual mode. You will be amazed at how much your images improve once you take complete control over all your settings.

Not sure you want to make the leap to manual mode?

Be sure to read 5 reasons to shoot in manual mode. Manual mode may seem scary at first but I challenge you to put your camera on “M” for a week.

100+ photography tips! Wow! So many fantastic photography tutorials all in one place. It covers everything from beginner photography tips to advanced photography tips. Can't wait to dive deeper into photography with these tutorials.

How do I start photography?

Then the best thing to do is to learn your camera. I always recommend learning manual mode so you are able to take full control of all your photos.

Then you can work on composition and getting creative with your photos. But my number one tip of advice is to practice… a lot.

You have to be consistent in taking photos so you can improve your photography.

Must Have Photography Equipment for Beginners

Photography tips for manual mode

Like so many people, I had a fancy new camera but my photos weren’t turning out like some of my friends with the same fancy camera.

What was I doing wrong? I wasn’t shooting in manual mode. With the help of a friend and hours of reading all the photography tips and tutorials I could get my hands on, I tackled manual mode. If I can do it, you can do it too.

How to shoot in manual mode: The basics

What are the basic tips for taking good photographs?

Have you put your camera in auto mode and started taking pictures and wondered why in the world they aren’t turning out very good? Especially when you just bought this big fancy camera?

First you want to make sure you understand your camera settings. As I said before, I recommend you shoot in manual mode. Then learn how to adjust your white balance. This is what causes your photos to look yellow or blue. Another big tip is to nail your focus. We will dive more into these below.

Camera Settings

Changing your focal point
Metering mode: Basics
Reading a histogram
How to meter using the sky
Interval timer vs wireless remote
The Zone System: The basics

White balance

Custom white balance
How to use Kelvin for white balance
How to use an Expodisc to Perfect your White Balance
How to correct white balance in Lightroom
How to warm up your image in ACR

Nailing Correct Focus

How to take a sharp image
Tips for achieving sharp focus
Back button focus: Do you BBF?

What are the 3 elements of photography?

In photography there are 3 elements that will affect the lighting. Since light is required for photography it is important to know how these three things work together to properly expose the photo.

We call this the exposure triangle, aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. You can read all about the exposure triangle here: Complete Guide to Understanding the Exposure Triangle


How to Use your F-Stop to Create Amazing Photos

Shutter Speed

Slow shutter speed to show movement
How you Should be Freezing Motion in your Pictures


ISO: Grain/Noise
ISO: Don’t be afraid to raise it

child looking outside photo in black and white.

How can I improve my photography skills?


Learning how to compose a shot to draw your viewer in is a quick way to take your photo from looking like a snap shot to something you want to frame on the wall.

There a lot of basic composition rules that you can do to take your photo to the next level. Using these tips, you can really improve your photography skills.
Rule of thirds
Limb chopping and basic composition
Shooting from different angles
Fill the frame
Leading lines
Negative space

A woman wearing a green shirt looking out of the window the leading lines show great composition one of the many photography tips.

Photography tips for lighting

One of the best pieces of advice I received was from Sarah Wilkerson in a workshop was “Find the light first and then find the subject”. The light in an image can make or break your image.

Light is a fun thing to work with because it is always changing. You can use dramatic light, harsh lighting, shadows, and soft light to name a few. If you want to take your photography to the next level, really understand and use light!
How to create catchlights
6 steps to creating a haze effect in photos
Window lighting
6 steps to creating a silhouette
A tip for shooting in full sun
Split lighting with easy with 5 steps
Creating dramatic light in small spaces
Shooting for black and white photographs
Dramatic light: Start to finish
Silhouette photos: 10 tips for capturing them
Finding light in unexpected places

child roller skating at golden hour using one of the photography tips provided.

Photographing tips for photographing Children

It’s the same old story, girl has baby, girl gets camera, girl wants to take better pictures of her kids. I know that is when I decided to tackle manual mode. I just wanted to capture better photos of my kids and still do.
Details, details, details
Newborn photography tips for on-location photographers
The everyday: Photographing your own kids
Capturing true character
6 tips for photographing your baby’s birth
10 tips for photographing your baby
Toddler photography: 8 tips for capturing those early years
Birth photography: 10 lessons learned
6 quick and easy tips to capture kids in the leaves
10 tips to photograph kids together
Photographing children in less than 7 minutes

Small child on a play mat looking up at the camera. This photo is tack sharp, using photography tips you can make sure your photos are also tack sharp.

How do I take professional photos?

Are you a photographer? This question used to be hard for me to answer. I know how to use my camera, I get the photographs I want, and I love doing it.

I didn’t get there over night though. It takes being consistent in your work by practicing a lot. There are a few other things like pushing your creativity, and having quality gear that will set your photos apart from the rest.

When to Call Yourself a Photographer

Photography equipment

If you get several photographers together, they are bound to talk about photography gear. I myself am a lens junkie. Oh, I love lenses! There are so many out there to choose from and all the different gear can be quite confusing. Let us help you with that.


Looking to buy a DSLR
5 tips for traveling with your photography gear
Sensor cleaning: Is my sensor dirty?


What lens to buy first?
Comparing a 20mm, 35mm and 50mm on a crop sensor camera
Understanding the writing on the lens
What lens to buy next?
Our favorite lenses
Lens on crop vs full frame sensor
Comparing different lenses
50mm 1.8 vs 50mm 1.4
Camera lens rental: Your questions answered
Wedding photography lenses: What you need to know

Books on photography tips

5 must-read photography books

Photography tips for how to get out of a rut

It is inevitable that at one point or another in your photography journey you will hit a rut. Finding ways to get out of your photography rut can be a challenge. I post creative exercises to help keep you from getting in a rut but there are several ways you can get out of one.
8 tips to get you photography juices flowing
Get out of your photography rut in 10 steps
One subject, many vantage points
Photography bucket list
Photography project ideas
30 day challenge: Photograph your kids
11 tips for completing a Project 365
7 photography project ideas
Photography blues: 4 tips to kick the winter rut
Personification: Creative exercise
Find your photography style
Photography style: 5 tips to find your style

A family sitting on a bed admiring a new baby. The photo is in black and white. One photography tip to use is making images black and white.

Photography tips for business

We did a whole series with secrets from the pros from start up costs to getting creative with your advertising.
Creative advertising through giving back
3 tips to brand your business
Start up cost
Owner to hobbyist: 8 lessons learned
7 things customers look for in a photographer
How to add a personal touch using photos

A family portrait with parents and a baby smiling.

How to fix photos in post processing

Something to keep in mind when you are first starting out is not to compare your SOOC to edited images. Every photographer I know edits their images. It is part of learning about photography. Besides editing it is important to make sure that you have a system in place to keep your photos organized.

Lightroom photography tips

Noise reduction video
Creating rounded corners in Lightroom
280 Free collage templates for PS, PSE and Lightroom
Adding vignetting in Lightroom
Editing silhouette photo in Lightroom
Lightroom Black and white conversion video
Exporting Photos from Lightroom
Sync button in Lightroom
Organizing photos in Lightroom using stars, colors, and smart collections
Cloning in Lightroom: How to remove distractions
How to create you own preset in Lightroom
Presets and Actions: Working smarter not harder
Before and after: Underexposure video

Photoshop photography tips

Photoshop editing: Creating negative space
Photoshop tutorial: How to add blur
RAW editing in ACR & Lightroom using the tone curve
236 Free collage templates for PS, PSE and Lightroom

A child wearing a costume smiling up at the camera.

Personal favorite photography tips

Of course, I have some posts that I loved writing and sharing with you guys. If you learn anything from this site please learn to get in the photos with your kids. They don’t care what you are wearing, how much you weigh, or if you have make-up on. Just get in the photo.

Self portraits: Get in front of the camera
Think before you click
Tips to for taking your own family portraits
21 lessons learned in my 2nd year of shooting in manual mode
The secret to editing a month of photos in one week
How to prepare a room for photos
Street photography: 9 tips to follow
What to do with all those photos: Digital photography books
What to do with all your photos: Photo albums

Image of a child in black and white practicing sitting up.
  • Kathie Hall
    April 16, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    Sooooo much helpful info here! Thank you very much! You are my new ‘go to’!!! :)

    • Courtney Slazinik
      April 18, 2013 at 9:56 AM

      Yay :) Thanks!

  • Beth
    April 16, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    So much goodness!

    • Courtney Slazinik
      April 18, 2013 at 9:56 AM

      Thanks! It’s fun to see it all in one spot!

  • April 16, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    Whoa! Thank you so much for all these fantastic articles! I will share this link with all my photog friends! They will keep me busy for a while!

    • Courtney Slazinik
      April 18, 2013 at 9:56 AM

      Thanks so much for sharing! I really appreciate it!

  • April 16, 2013 at 8:10 PM

    I’ve been working my way through your tips, now it’s all nice and organised for me, thanks!

    • Courtney Slazinik
      April 18, 2013 at 9:57 AM

      Thanks! Glad it helps you out!

  • Tim
    April 16, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    Excellent collection of tips and suggestions. I’ve been perusing through the posts to find my interests. A little more time and effort and you could write a book!

    • Courtney Slazinik
      April 18, 2013 at 9:57 AM

      I was actually thinking the same thing and have something in the early stages :)

  • April 20, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    This is just an awesome list!! Thanks so much for putting it together! I shared it on my #spreadbloggylove Share Saturday today. You can take a look here if you’d like: http://www.creativekristi.com/share-saturday-2/ If you’d like a ‘featured on’ button let me know :)

    • Courtney Slazinik
      April 23, 2013 at 2:04 PM

      Hey Kristi!

      Thanks so much for sharing this post on your site!! That makes my day :)

  • amy
    April 29, 2013 at 1:14 AM

    I don’t know how to thank you enough! Do you have a Facebook page? I’d love to follow you. I’ve been scouring any info I can get my hands on, on the web to learn how to go manual and something about the way you teach clicks with me. Thank you thank you, my pics are coming out awesome and I’m learning SO much!

  • September 3, 2013 at 11:59 PM

    Wow. I have read and bookmarked COUNTLESS photography tutorials on the web, but I’m seriously considering deleting them all and just leaving your website up in my browser as my homepage. So much valuable information in one place and I could understand it all! I loved how you broke down the specific lenses you used for each moment of a wedding. I am shooting my first in November and that was particularly very useful for me!

    Thanks again for taking the time to post all these tutorials. My brain is full and I can’t wait to start applying all my new knowledge!

    • September 11, 2013 at 2:00 PM

      Thank you so much!! Feel free to make it your homepage ;) Enjoy reading it over and playing around with your camera!

  • July 14, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    You’re amazing Courtney, and such a gift to those of us eager to learn as much as we can about photography! Thank you for all you do, and good luck with your new project ;).

  • Tracee
    July 15, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    How do put a flower hood and lens filter on properly ?? For canon rebel Thanks

  • August 27, 2014 at 9:02 PM

    This is so helpful to me. I want to become a professional photographer when I get older so this has been very helpful to me on becoming the best photographer that I can be!

    • September 4, 2014 at 12:18 PM

      Glad you found it helpful and a passion for photography already :)

    November 21, 2014 at 4:19 PM

    wow I found this website last week at P interest and I have learned so much from it …I am addicted to it.., thank you, thank you….

  • Paty
    April 14, 2015 at 12:43 PM

    You are the best…have had life get in my way, but coming back!!
    Missed you!!

  • Rose
    July 10, 2015 at 3:16 PM

    I found your website about a year ago and I have been learning so much! I absolutely love it. Thank you so much for all of the hard work you put into what you do. Seriously, it is amazing!! :)

    • July 23, 2015 at 10:33 AM

      Thank you so much for your kind words! It means so much :)

  • Kari
    August 14, 2015 at 9:21 PM

    I’ve been loving ALL your posts. There is such a learning curve when first starting out, and you are making it so much easier, especially with this particular ‘one stop shop’ post.

    As I’m working my way down, I noticed that Metering mode: Basics led me to an error as well as Metering off the skin. I’m going to search your site and hope I can find them elsewhere.

    Thanks for being a great teacher!

    • August 18, 2015 at 3:30 PM

      Thanks so much, Kari! I’m so glad you are enjoying the post. Thanks for the heads up about those two posts. I will look into what the issue is. Thanks!

  • cornelio
    February 7, 2016 at 9:02 PM

    Thanks for sharing this, I’ve learned so many tips on how to shoot on manual mode, though my photo’s are not that perfect because I’m just starting out but knowing the shutter speeds, aperture and iso settings was really a big help for me.

  • Daralynn Lett
    February 9, 2016 at 12:46 PM

    I don’t think I’ve ever been provided with so much valuable information as you do in your blogs.
    You are open and willing to help others and I think its wonderful. It is what drew me to this community.

    • February 12, 2016 at 9:10 AM

      Thank you so much! I’m glad to hear you have found such valuable information here. Welcome!

  • Daralynn Lett
    February 9, 2016 at 12:47 PM

    I’ve started out using manual, but something is vitally missing, because my images do not come out to my liking every time.

    • February 12, 2016 at 9:09 AM

      Learning to see the light and use it properly to get the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO to work together will help you achieve the looks you are going for.

  • Becca
    October 12, 2017 at 3:40 PM

    Okay, totally off topic, but I love your Noonday necklace:) . Are you a fellow ethical fashion lover?

    • Courtney Slazinik
      October 29, 2017 at 8:50 PM

      Yes :) LOVE Noonday!

  • Gina
    November 21, 2017 at 4:45 PM

    Invaluable, thankyou so much for the roundup :)

  • Eve
    November 23, 2017 at 12:20 PM

    Awesome….Thank you for puting this together………

  • Lindsey
    May 28, 2019 at 11:17 PM

    Wow, I’m blown away with all this wonderful information and lessons here! Thank you so much😊

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