Given the day job, I obviously see and print a lot of photos - whether they're on canvas, in frames, on paper or on wood mount. A lot of these photos are far better than anything I could hope to take myself. Some of them could be better composed but obviously mean something to the person who took it. My job is to make the best possible photo on canvas (or any other media) that I possibly can from the image provided. It can be very rewarding - especially when you're let in on the story behind the photo. It can sometimes be frustrating though - because you can spot the mistake in the composition or that one little thing that would have made the photo so much better.
This got me thinking recently...what one piece of advice would I give to someone - say a total novice - to help them take better photos, which in turn will make better canvas prints or framed prints or whatever. It's not easy to pick one single tip. Over the years, I've learned some of the technical "rules" of composition and I've seen what works and what doesn't. But trying to reduce it all down to just one single tip to take better photographs was (and is) pretty tricky. My guess is that if I were to ask ten keen photographers for their one single tip on taking better photos, I may well get ten different answers. And that's fine with me - there really are no rules and often when you see a great photograph you just instinctively appreciate it without fully understanding why it's such a good photo.
My tip? Well, having thought about it for a while, my tip to all the mothers and fathers and normal snappers who have a mobile phone or maybe a point and click and just want to take better photos is this: get down on the ground. Or at the very least, adjust your level - mostly downwards but often getting up high will produce an interesting photo as well. Nine times out of ten, just doing this one thing will give you a better shot than the one you were about to take. The next time you're about to take a photo of your child or your dog and you find yourself standing above them, pointing the camera down - STOP. Just drop to their level and take the shot and you will instantly have a better shot. No technical advice, no lighting issues, no other composition rules - just hit the deck!
It works great for photographing pets - I take quite a few snaps of my dog Monty and I always find the most engaging photos are the ones where I've been on his level and seeing the world the way he sees it. But it works for people of all shapes and sizes, and for buildings and even landscape shots - getting down low can bring the foreground into a shot in a more interesting way and will almost always result in a better shot. Better photos make better canvas prints, framed prints or any other sort of prints you care to mention so everyone's a winner.
What single tip for taking better photographs would you give to a beginner? Let us know and even better - tweet us with the #betterphotos and we'll tweet you back a discount code for a canvas print!
Thanks for reading!