5 Tips to Become Your Own Photographer

Taking great pictures has never been easier.

Whether you want to take a good family picture, a pretty landscape or even a selfie there are a few tips and tricks to make sure you end up with the best image possible. We chat with Zoe Martin of Zoe Martin Photography in Longview as she shares 5 tips to help you take better pictures.

1. Lighting

“Lighting is probably your top priority when it comes to actually finding where you’re going to shoot,” said Zoe Martin. “And that’s going to vary during the different times of day.”

For example you can go scout a location in the morning and decide it’s a good pictures spot, but if you go back in the afternoon the lighting’s going to have changed and that can affect your final image. You will also want to be mindful of what’s above or around you. Buildings can cast shadows which will also affect the lighting.

“A lot of times the lighting in the morning is beautiful around sunrise,” said Martin. “If you’re a morning person, that’s fantastic! But if not, your next option would be golden hour. So as the sun is setting or the hour before is more ideal.”

2. Location

When it comes to location, the scene you choose set the mood for the entire picture so it’s important you choose a location that matches what you’re going for.

“There’s [your] downtown, there’s arboretums. If you’re a fun adventurous person there’s the Barnwell Mountain Trail (in Gilmer) and then there’s the zoo,” said Martin. “Kind of think about what vibe you’re going for in your images. And if you want serene then look for a lake or a pond. There’s plenty of water locations around [East Texas].”

3. Safety

“One of the biggest tips I think people don’t even consider oftentimes is safety,” said Martin. “And to me that’s really important!”

Did you know that not only is taking pictures on a railroad track unsafe, it’s illegal? Many times people like the idea of shooting along the tracks, but it’s best to find somewhere else. And it’s also important to make sure you’re not taking pictures where you shouldn’t be. Always verify that the location isn’t private property, and if it is make sure you have permission to take pictures there.

4. Composition

So when considering the composition of your photo, you want to make sure you’re aware of everything in the image. To do that look through the viewfinder and check all of the borders and make sure there are no distracting backgrounds.

“You can put the person you’re trying to photograph into position and then kind of look to see if you need to move to get things in good composition,” said Martin. “There’s also the possibility that you can have [your subject] step to side a step or two to crop our what doesn’t need to be in the image.”

5. Choosing Your Outfit 

So when it comes to choosing your outfit, the most important thing is to be comfortable and wear tones that are complementary to your skin tone.

“If it’s winter you may want to wear black and white or vibrant colors, whereas if it’s spring you may want to go with more muted tones. Maybe pinks or olive green or things that are going to complement your skin,” said Martin.

And don’t forget to consider layering!

“When you layer you have the option to remove an item and then it’s easy to change an outfit,” said Martin. “[Or you] could change your necklace, add a scarf, pull hair back in a headband or ponytail. Layering gives you lots of options…and just playing with accessories is sometimes another really good option.”

Zoe Martin is a branding photographer in Longview. So what does that mean?

“So brand photography is the idea that everybody’s posting to social media. So you’ve got your Facebook, your Instagram, your Pinterest, your YouTube, and everything,” said Martin. “So all that information is content. But oftentimes the images [people] have for that content aren’t great. So, especially if you’re a business or a service related company, entrepreneur or small business professional, [you] need quality images so that content gets noticed.”

So Martin takes images with the goal that when people are scrolling through social media, or other platforms, they stop and pay attention to the content that you’re showing them.

“So their social media needs good quality images, so what I do is talk to my clients about who they’re trying to serve, what they’re trying to get across, what are their values and find out everything that we can do to make the images coincide with the content that they’re going to be offering,” explains Martin. “So I’m trying to help them gather images to go with content that they’re going to be putting out there and make it cohesive so that it’s recognizable.”

To check out Zoe’s professional website click here, and check out some of her brand photography. You can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram for her latest tips, tricks and advice.

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