How To Take Better Photos

How To Take Better Photos

Easy fixes to help you take better photos!

Anyone in the world can pick up a camera from Best Buy, snap a couple shots, and call themselves a photographer. If you want to take better quality pictures, here are a few tips on ways to better your photography instantly.

1. Follow the rule of thirds

So, the rule of thirds it aligning your subject with the guide lines and their intersection points, keeping the subject in the guidelines and the main focus at the intersection points. This is where eyes are drawn, and aligning your photos with this grid will help make your photos more aesthetically pleasing. So go to your iPhone camera, turn on that grid, and shoot away!

2. Get nice and close to the subject

Fill the frame with your subject, and you will see how much better your photos look without so much wasted space!

3. Get out of the habit of using the auto setting

An expensive camera in the hands of an amateur will still produce amateur shots. Take a cheap photo class, look up tutorials online, or play around and teach yourself! You'll find that you won't be nearly as limited to what you can shoot once you switch off the auto setting.

4. Utilize depth of field and aperture

I could easily take the time and write an entire article about the importance and control aperture, but lets make it simple. A wide aperture with a smaller F number, will produce a very narrow depth of focus. A very small aperture with a larger F number will produce a very deep depth of focus. Learning and utilizing this skill can help you make your subject stand out more against the background.

5. Bring your camera everywhere - the more opportunities the more photos

I wouldn't have half of the photos and nearly as many skills under my belt that I do if I didn't drag my camera all over the place. My friends love being my practice models and you can get more experience for your big break when you shoot for fun!

6. Shoot in the shade

It can be tricky sometimes to master the light you are in, so take it into the shade! It will be so much easier and you will have a nice even tone to work with, especially if you haven't quite mastered the light leaks and sunny days.

7. Limit your color palate

Pick and choose what colors you want to use, and you don't always have to pick a scene that is overwhelming with color. In most cases, a certain palate can be much more pleasing to the eye than a rainbow of subjects and colors.

8. Embrace negative space

Good news, empty space is a hit these days! All the top instagrammers and photographers are looking for the best solid white wall or empty sky to compose their work with. Negative space is the area around the subject of your photo, so embrace simplicity and use negative space to your advantage while it's aesthetically pleasing!

9. Utilize symmetry

Not only will symmetry create an extremely compelling photo, but it is also quite pleasing to the eye and creates beautiful proportion.

10. Play around with reflections

Reflections make everything more fun!

11. Don't be afraid of vertical photos

The easy route is to hold up your camera, point, and shoot horizontally, and while that is great for a lot of photos, don't be afraid to turn your camera the other way and get a different perspective, include more of the subject, and mix it up a little!

12. Find interesting perspectives

Photos are always more interesting to me when I'm trying to figure out just how the photographer got the particular shot. Make your photos memorable and unique!

Cover Image Credit: Author's photo

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.

Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.

Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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Poetry On Odyssey: I was I am

A poem for those struggling with who they were.


it seems almost like a page

in someone else's book now

how there was

a time that i thought

i could have been happy

with someone like you

a million years before

i knew who i was

and that i should mean so much more

than i ever did to you

i almost can't remember

the way you held your elbows or

the way you said the letter o or

the way you told me goodnight

it seems now

that all i can recall

are my relentless tears and

the fear that this was the love

that everyone spoke about

the fear that this

was what id have to live with

for the rest of my life

i remember those late nights

just you and i

you always got what you wanted

i was always too afraid to upset you

looking back i wonder why

i couldnt leave you then

but you kept me

my misery maintained until

i felt like nothing

that night was the record scratch

When I knew my life

Shouldn't be like this.

It wasn't until I finally broke our ties

That I started to remember

Who I am.

But my mind is clear now.

I can remember

How strong I am,

How perfectly happy I am

On my own.

It seems almost like a page

In someone else's book now.

You're finally fading away.

I just wish my scars could fade as quickly.

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