Sunset photograph of East Beach, Santa Barbara

3 Simple Photography Tips To Capture Great Pictures by Andreina Diaz

1.- Fill The Frame – Get Closer

I always say if you feel that your pictures aren’t good enough is probably because you aren’t close enough. One way to take stronger photographs is by filling the camera frame with the most important elements in your image.  As you compose your photographs identify your main subject. Before you start clicking the shutter, hoping for the best, ask your self a few of questions: What is it about this particular scene that’s important to you? Why? How can you photography it best? Then once you are clear about the subject that you are photographing, eliminate any distracting elements that don’t add anything to the actual picture. Can you get closer to your subject or zoom in? Do it!  You will see your images getting better by simply getting closer to your subject.

Here it is an example:

This is the iconic fountain at the Santa Barbara Mission. A subject that is largely photographed by thousand of tourists every year. However, most visitors leave this beautiful site with underwhelming photographs. Most of them tend to capture the fountain with all sorts of visual distractions that include; the sidewalk, the side of the fountain wall, and maybe some uninvited visitors. If what you are interested in photographing is the fountain and its relationship to the Mission, I invite you to get close enough to it. By doing so you will catch the reflection of the Mission in the water, the seasonal water lilies, and the soothing rippling water.

Next time you visit the Santa Barbara Mission you can leave with a stronger image by filling the frame and getting closer to your subject.

2.- Choose A Unique Point Of View

Most amateur photographers capture their images from eye level. This could make your pictures seem predictable. Try shooting shooting from different angles; from up high or down low.  Using a unique point of view can make your images more interesting to the eye. You can shoot from a high camera angle by getting up on a bench or shooting from higher grounds.  Maybe by getting low on the ground or on your knees you will give your images the extra edge you are looking for.

Shoot From Up High

While visiting the Santa Barbara Courthouse make sure you check out the view from the Clock Tower. This is a great example of an image captured from a high point of view  Yes! The top floors have best views. From up there you will be able to capture an striking view of the city framed by the incredible mountains. This is a view you don’t want to miss.

Shoot Down Low

When you are a sea level get down on your knees and photograph the nice foam of the waves gently touching the sand. By capturing low angles you will place the person looking at your photograph “in your pictures” as if they were there with you. It’s a subtle invitation to be part of your journey.

3.- Choose The Best Light – The Golden Hour

The best time to take outdoor pictures depends on the quality of the light. The light of the sun can change the atmosphere, the mood and the overall look and feel of your photographs. The Golden Hour is the time of day when the sun is closest to the horizon which creates a magical golden glow. So based on this, the best times to go out with your camera would be either during the hours of sunrise or sunset.  Santa Barbara is known by its magical sunrises and sunsets, so don’t miss them the next time you visit. As a photographer I always say; “the best time to go out and take pictures would be either early in the morning or late in the afternoon; and during the middle of the day, take a break or a nap!”


I hope you find these tips useful. I can’t wait to see the images you’ll capture in this beautiful city of Santa Barbara or somewhere else! Use the hashtag #eyeseeSB or tag us on your pictures @eyeseeSB on Instagram. I will leave you a nice comment telling you how good you did!

The next time you are ready to explore Santa Barbara with your camera join one of our photo tours. For information about times, tour locations or to book a tour visit our Photography Tour Section.

SEE you soon!

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