HOW TO TAKE GREAT PHOTOS WITHOUT A DSLR

Feb 04 2015
Disclaimer: I do have a DSLR now. But for a long time, I did not.

There is plenty of photography equipment that you can buy to take great photos. Or why – I myself made a list here –How to build a blog photography kit. But to take a photo, all you need is a camera. A DSLR does come with its features and advantages, but taking good photos has little to do with the camera alone. 

1. Photography is a skill, work on it: Today, if you give me a $ guitar and ask me to play it, It would sound horrible and run you out of the door. If you gave me a $$$ guitar? It would sound just the same. Why? The $$$ guitar is definitely great, but I lack the skill to play it. I think essentially it all comes down to learning the skill. We all can develop skills, we just have to work on it, however hard it is. Practice, research, Practice and repeat.

2. Know your camera inside out: That iPhone camera in your hand right now? It has a lot more potential than you might know. Sit down with your camera and experiment; learn about every single feature it has to offer and how it can be used best. Switch out of auto-mode, try different combinations with the settings and play around. Take tonnes of photos and observe the results of different settings and modes on the photos.   

3. Develop a style: It will take time, a long time. When I scroll down my Instagram, I can easily spot the photos of my favorite photographers. There is a unique element to each of their photos. They have their own voice in photography. And no, its not because I am used to seeing their photos taken in the same setup, but because I can identify their style. Their photos literally speak a 1000 words. 
4. Lighting: You know this already – lighting is the king. Which ever camera you may be using, if the lighting decides to go against you, then you can forget getting a good photo. There have been multiple times when I couldn’t take a good photo even with a DSLR because the lighting was bad. Natural or artificial, ensure that you have ample lighting for the particular shot you want to take.  
5. Composition: The secret behind a good photo often has to do with its composition. Compose your photo in a way that is clear, unique and interesting. Using a good amount of white space in a photo makes it look clean and lends a lot of clarity. On the other hand, busy photos can be very interesting. The trick is to find a balance based on your own style. 
6. Editing: With exceptions, every photo is happier with a bit of tweaking. If you think your photo could be better, edit it. Increase the brightness, play with the contrast, crop it and do anything you want to.  You can check out my favorite photo – editors here & editing apps here.
7. Accessories and Apps: If you feel like you are missing out on the control a DSLR provides, for eg. controlling the exposure, aperture, depth of field etc., here are a few accessories and apps that you can add to your camera to make it more functional. 
Camera-FV-5: This app gives you full control over details like exposure, aperture, ISO. 
Lenses for your phone: Yes! You can attach tiny lenses to your phone for additional functionality. Find them here and here.


* This post is NOT anti-DSLR, I love mine, a lot. All i’am saying is that to take great photos, you don’t need a DSLR, really.

What do you think? A DSLR – need or not?

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  • I agree! Most of my photos in Ig are taken by my iPhone. And I have seen great Ig photos taken by iPhone cameras as well.

    xo Angelus,
    angelus-officially.blogspot.com

  • I definitely agree with lighting, composition and editing. Lighting makes or breaks a bad photo, sometimes it's so bad that editing can't save it! I don't own a DSLR, and I don't think my photos are bad nor do I need a DSLR but it would be nice to have a new camera… hehe.

    Sheri | Behind The Frames

  • Thanks for the tips! I just started my blog so I don't want to buy a new camera for now, maybe in a few months… During this time I have to juggle with my old one and the lighting is very important!

    http://atouchofpink1.blogspot.ca/

  • Uli

    I definitely have to work more on my photography skills but I'm on a good way I think. Just bought a few lenses for my iPhone to experiment a little more. Thanks for all the tips! x

    http://www.foundsomepaper.com

  • Agreed! A lot of the point and shoot cameras also come with manual mode these days. It's a great way to understand the basics such as lighting and how the aperture, ISO etc work with it. Besides, a lot of good photos are all about the composition, it's something that can't be overlooked.

  • Such great tips, I think it is so important for people to know you don't have to spend insane amounts to get good photos!

    Maddy, xo // UNSTITCHEDD

  • Your photos always look amazing, Chaitra, you really have talent.

  • Yup, it just takes some practice πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading angelus! xo

  • πŸ™‚ Yeah definitely, if you want it, you can have it! But its not really a need! Hope you are having a good week sheri πŸ™‚ xo

  • Wow! Brilliant, let me know how you like the lens Uli xo

  • So true girl, many point and shoot cameras provide so many capabilities! xo

  • Right? A dslr doesnt guarantee a good photo always. xx

  • Yes, its good to wait until you are sure a DSLR will make a difference to your photos! Good luck with blogging marjorie! πŸ™‚

  • πŸ™‚ Thanks a lot melissa, you are too kind! xo

  • I love busy photos mostly, but the odd clean white photo does grab my attention too. I'm really working on my photos this year, sometimes it can be such a struggle though! I do have a DSLR but I have had it for years (and still don't know how to work it properly), but I will learn eventually x

    Through New Eyes | Beauty Blog

  • Very helpful post and I totally agree an expensive piece of equipment only works if you know how to use it same with literally anything even make up etc. Well I am thinking of doing some classes for my camera as I am still in the learning process as I have only had it about a month xxx

  • i am wanting a DSLR but cannot afford one at the moment. perhaps a graduation gift to myself once i complete my masters. ^_^ but i am currently taking pics with my phone and have an attachable lens from Sony. Its nice but its probably better to have just saved the money and bought a DSLR. >_< thanks for the tips though!

  • I definitely need to practice more. I usually take pictures with my iphone, but a friend has lent me her old DSLR that she doesn't use anymore to get used to them before investing… and it's like chinese to me, really. I have to learn about the options and so on!

  • Awesome awesome post! Photography is definitely a skill. I like your thoughts on the guitar. It's not necessarily the price, but the knowledge of how to use it. I'm still working on developing a style, but right now I should get to know my camera better, like you said.

    :] // β–² itsCarmen.com β–²

  • I agree it is a bit of struggle, I too struggle many times to get the right photo. But i guess its worth it tamsin xo

  • Oh that is awesome about the classes, Jessica! Totally try it πŸ™‚ xo

  • I think you can take awesome photos with your phone chie. But yes if you want a DSLR, that is a great investment too! πŸ™‚

  • I am actually mesmerized by all these photos people take with their iPhones. Seriously! Thats awesome that you have a DSLR to try out before investing in one carla. I too borrowed one from my library for six months before i bought my own. You'll learn soon πŸ™‚ xo

  • Thank you carmen! πŸ™‚ Yup that is a first step πŸ™‚ All the best lovely xo

  • Oh yeah, actually I got my iPhone 6 around October and didn't even think of using it for taking pictures, I was using a point and shoot. I forgot the camera on my vacation on December and I had to take some pics for the blog, so I gave it a try with the iPhone… and god, was I impressed. Much better than the camera I owned, really. It makes a much better job of focusing, for example. Phones and their cameras have evolved a lot!

  • Just speaking the truth, my friend! πŸ™‚

  • This was such a great post! Photography is definitely something I need to personally improve on but hopefully people will appreciate it a little more when it gets better! I can't afford a snazzy camera unfortunately so I just use my iPhone! x

    http://theperksofmeg.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Ah thanks a lot meg! I am sure you ll do well! Iphone has an awesome camera! xo

  • Love this! I take all my pictures with my iPhone, and whilst they could be better I love to experiment and edit them until I'm happy πŸ™‚ xx

    Gyudy's Notes Of Beauty

  • Brianna

    I completely agree! While my DSLR does help, I only had an iPhone 5 when I went to Europe and I love the photos I took! The only things with iPhone photos is they can be a bit dull but I just bring up the contrast and brightness. Great article — this is the first time I've seen your blog and I've already spotted SO MANY posts I want to read on your site!!
    Brianna || http://extraordinarydaysblog.com/

  • Lumiere

    I'm not a professional photographer but still I wanted to learn how to shot photos πŸ™‚ Thanks for the advice!

    Lumeire , xo // buy soundcloud comments

  • Such amazing tips here! I've been improving my photography and my camera is by any means fancy! As you say the lighting is the king! I play a lot with it and I'm yet to find my own style but it will come with time πŸ™‚ Love this kind of posts xx

    Mary Bloomy

  • I wanted to download this camera app ASAP, but I can't find it in my Appstore, Is there any think like that for iphones?

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