Top 10 Professional Digital Photography Tips

Top 10 Professional Digital Photography Tips

There are many tips and tricks to digital photography to get the perfect shot and capture amazing photos consistently. Some of these you can pick up instantly and others take years and thousands of shots to learn and another thousand to master. Use these tips and tricks below to help master your craft and produce more incredible images.

Read more photography tips and tutorials. Special thanks to Nathan Anderson for the cover photo.

Basic Digital Photography Tips

Always Shoot in Raw

raw photo type

Photo by William Bayreuther

To start RAW is a file format that captures all images recorded by the sensor when a photo is taken. This is an unprocessed photograph that is not compressed as JPEG files which are typically processed and compressed immediately. When the photo is processed it automatically color corrects and reduces the file size. While this is more efficient, professional photographers prefer to control how the image is processed.

Common RAW formats include: .arw, .nef, .dng, .tif, .orf

This list from FileInfo is a useful reference guide for seeing which extensions match the filetype of the camera you shoot with.

camera raw file formats

Photo: FileInfo


RAW photos are the highest quality photo you can shoot. Another benefit of capturing in RAW is that when it comes to editing it allows you to easily correct the image without a massive reduction in quality. When shooting in RAW the white balance is easily adjustable due to the lack of processing on the photo. If you were to shoot in JPEG the white balance is automatically adjusted and when editing it is easy to over correct and distort the white balance of the photo. A perfect white balance is a great way to produce an amazing image.

Non-destructive editing is a major benefit of shooting in RAW. When editing a RAW file you can always retrieve your original photo. Unlike JPEG when you edit a photo you are editing the original photo meaning that once edited the original photo is permanently altered.

Shooting in RAW is definitely the way to shoot. Most professional photographers choose to shoot in RAW format and for good reason. It is the superior way to capture photographs and the benefits of it are clear.

travel photo inspiration

Photo by Eyre June Bustamante

Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is something you are mentally aware of, but probably are unsure of what it exactly is. The rule of thirds is breaking down an image into thirds or a 3×3 grid so that there are 9 even sections and 2 horizontal and 2 vertical lines. Using this mental grid you want to position the subject of your shot along these lines. When using this technique it creates a more visual pleasing photograph and positions the image in a more natural looking way.

Below is a quick 5 minute video that further explains how to use rule of thirds effectively.

The Golden Hour

golden hour

Photo by Zach Jiroun

Golden hour is a period of the day that photographers use to create incredible shots. The golden hour is the period of the day that occurs shortly after sunrise or right before the sunset in which the daylight is soft and red colored when the sun is higher in the sky. You have about a one hour window during these times to take advantage of the incredible lighting in the sky. Here is a tool to find the golden hour for your location.

SEE ALSO: Photo Locations Near Me

Less is More


Photo by Sarah Dorweiler

We all hear about less is more in many aspects of our life and in photography this philosophy still holds true. Minimalist photography is becoming more popular and in the main stream, but what exactly is it and how can you use it in your photography? This style of photography brings the old adage of less is more to life. It conveys an idea and forces an emotional response. When shooting an image keep this in mind and you’ll be amazed at how your images look when you bring this philosophy into your work.

Always Carry a Camera

man walking with camera vintage

Photo by Allef Vinicius

This is a slightly different tip, but something every photographer should always do. We never know what we will encounter going out and about our day, but when we do come across something breathtaking or incredible we will want to capture that moment forever.

How many times have you been out doing something ordinary like running errands and you come across something that you know would make for an extraordinary image, but you don’t have your camera on you? This is why you should always try to keep a camera on you to take advantage of these times.  You never know what you will encounter in your everyday life so try to keep your camera handy to capture these moments to keep for a lifetime.

Use Different Perspectives

perspectives in photography

Photo by Anika Huizinga

Perspective is one of the things that make a great photo. Playing with perspective and trying to switch up perspectives is a great way to capture an image. When shooting try different vantage points and angles to find the perfect one.

Learn your Equipment

photo equipment gimbal

Photo by 再一 王 

Learning the ins and outs of your equipment and what each piece is capable of is very important. What is the point of having an incredible camera if you do not know how to properly utilize it? Your camera if it is a popular brand will often have YouTube tutorials from experienced photographers about the ins and out of that camera. Take advantage of the resources online to learn as much as you can about the equipment you have. To go along with this learn about the different settings your camera has such as ISO and shutter speed. Here is a video that explains how to use the settings on your camera.

Photograph What You Like

photography inspiration

Photo by Jakob Owens

Don’t fall in love with one type or style of photography. Find what you love to photograph and do it as much as you can. Whether it is landscape shots, portraits, minimalist shots or whatever else it is find it and enjoy it. This allows you to be passionate about what you shoot and the more you shoot a certain type of style then the better you will get at it.

Reflect and Review

One often under looked tip for taking better photos is to review your work and rather than simply sharing the best photos from a trip, really sit down to see what you captured.

Take time to:

  • Analyze photos for critical mistakes to see how/why you messed up
  • Rethink how you would shoot a certain photo and why
  • Organize your photos in a way that tells a story
  • See the photos from another perspective, or after a length of time

More digital photography tips and guides

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2 Replies to “Top 10 Professional Digital Photography Tips”

  1. SWORK STUDIO says:

    I have read your articles for portrait photography, and it is very helpful & informative.

    1. Mike says:

      Thanks so much SWORK! :)

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