7 Tips for Amateur Photographers


As an amateur photographer, you come across moments where words themselves cannot express the full emotion of a simple fleeting moment. Since the day I took my first photograph, I was infatuated by the idea. In one single click, I was able to capture memory of serenity and peace. I was able to personify the emotions of fun and happiness. But most importantly, I was able to grow my passion and love for photography.

For many people who are looking to explore the field as a hobby, I congratulate you on your journey. No matter where you go, no matter what you see, you will begin to view the world with the eyes of a photographer. Below I have provided some helpful times that can truly perfect your photographs as you dive deeper within the hobby. These tips and guidelines are by no means steps you need to take for each photo. Rather they are recommendations in providing the best high quality photograph for you and your audience.

1. Know Your Audience

This is by far one of the most important tips you should internalize as you grow as a photographer. The starting point for all communication is become aware of your intended audience. Taking random photos can be fun at times, but if you want to make this into a serious hobby, you need to take into consideration the questions and critiques your audience may have with your work. To ensure successful photographs for your projects, think about the people who will be viewing it. Put yourself in their shoes. Try and see what insights they may have about the work you are producing.

2. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ~Steve Jobs

Going hand-in-hand with knowing your audience, try and keep your photographs as simple as possible. Overcomplicating your photos with various objects and unknown backgrounds can eventually compromise the work leading to a confused and unsatisfied piece. Any items in which you can mitigate that can potentially distract your view, take it out. Even if you have to wait so that you get the appropriate space, do so. The goal of your photos is to entice an emotion and capture a fleeting moment. Providing harmony within your composition with simplistic photos will enhance those raw feelings even more.

3. Depth, depth, and more depth!

One of the most common flaws amateur photographs do is that they usually take flat photos. This means that the setting in your photographs usually portray your subject or subjects on the same plane as the environment around them. When taking a photo, you want to create as much depth as possible, especially for landscape scenery shots. Not only do they look better, but they also space out the subjects on multiple planes. This additional space allows the viewer’s eyes to run fluidly with throughout the entire photograph.

4. The 3/4ths Diagonal Shot

One technique used popularly by photographers is the 3/4th diagonal shot. This is especially useful when mitigating flat shots. You can accomplish this in two ways: 1. Start with the focus your subject at the bottom left, move to the center, and end with the setting to the top right or 2. Start with the focus on your subject at the top right, move to the center, and end with the setting at the bottom left.  Either order you pick will provide that harmonious fluidity you are looking for in your photographs.

5. Spacing

Similar to depth, you want to clear out any clutter between the setting and the subject.  Remember, your photo should have one main subject. Any type of obstructions near your subject can ultimately distract your viewers and compromise your photos. At times, you will be asked to play the waiting game, especially if you are taking a scenery photo in a crowded area. If, however, you are able to control your setting, make sure everything is spaced out!

6. Level Out Your Camera

One big mistake many people do when they take photos is that that they never really level out their cameras for their subject. Take for example you are taking a photo of your child or your dog. Standing and angling your camera to your subject will only create a bird’s-eye-view that could potentially compromise your subject to disappear in the background. Leveling your shots will prevent this from happening. Furthermore, it will give you more impactful photos that can express the emotion and reaction you are seeking in your photos.

7. Symmetry

To create a true harmonious and balanced piece, you want to make sure everything is symmetrical. To achieve this, think about vertical and horizontal parallelism. This type of mentality will allow you to create well-balanced photos while also clearing out clutter that could possibly compromise the integrity of your campaign.

The Most Beautiful Smile in the World


Jack Halfon Faces and Places (33)

We live in a world where we somehow overlook the little things. During our adolescent years, life was simple. Up was up, down was down, cats and dogs hated each other. But we are no longer children. In this static world, the game of life is constantly rolling the dice. During those moments, I like to think back of a time when the only problem was what game we are going to play or what time you are getting your dessert. But that is just life. All you can do is appreciate it and try and smile like this little girl above.

The Art of the Water

Jack Halfon Faces and Places (85)


Whenever I gaze up at this photograph, I cannot help but feel relaxed within the sea of tranquility. In this black and white photo, the water seems to poise a precious moment in time in which every minute, every second is captured by the ripples of the water. What I love about this photograph is the the dichotomy between paradise and isolation. At times, we feel the need to escape the pressures and stress of society. Islands, boats, beaches, and sand become our fascination of the perfect ideal trip. While the photograph may not capture the Bahamas or Hawaiian experience you are looking for, it does hold the serenity and stillness that we so desperately need seek for in our daily lives.


Family & Love

Copy of Jack Halfon Faces and Places Nowvia Cover

Words cannot express the unconditional love that exist between a parent and her daughter. After traveling in under-privilege, under-resourced areas around the world, I happen to come across this spectacular moment of a parent carrying her child. Yes, this looks like a simple gesture, but no matter where you go, no matter where you are, the parent-child relationship is one of the strongest bonds in the world. It is a unified and powerful connection that is understood and shared amongst the two. Looking at this photo helps me reflect at my life, my wife’s, and my children’. Like the mother in the photograph, my wife and I would sacrifice everything for our children. We will carry them, hold them, nurture them, until it is time for them to carry us. This is the definition of family; this is the definition of love.

The Innocent Warrior

Jack Halfon Faces and Places (43)


As a photographer, you come across moments where you cannot standby idly without wondering what is going on. It is moments like these that inspire me to become an entity of change. This haunting yet beautiful photo juxtaposes two different worlds, a world of violence and a world of innocence. While as much as we want to separate the two ideas, this is the horrifying reality. Millions of children around the world find themselves in signs of desperation and despair where their only choice is succumb to the darkness of society. As much as we think we cannot make a change, do not lose hope. This photograph is not meant to shock you. Rather, it is mean to inspire your. There are so many things you can do to be involved. As an activist, I encourage you to get involved. Having done my own philanthropies, I know fully well how much of a transformative impact you can make on an entire community. Remember, it only takes one day to change a nation of thousands.


A Picture Worth a Thousand Words

Jack Halfon Faces and Places (138)

In today’s day and age, many people lack the spontaneity and genuine expression when taking photos The idea of taking selfies is nothing but a false-set images of an intangible life. As much as we want to tell a story in our photos, we need to understand what we want to say to our viewers. Take a look at this man above. Ask yourself this: Who is he? Where is he coming from? What is he thinking? For many of us, we can go on for days simply about just his morning. This is what a true photo represents. Get involved and immerse yourself in his story. 

Boy Laughing

Jack Halfon Faces and Places (128)

© Jack Halfon, 2011

Another photo from India. Here, the photographer gets a good chuckle out of the subject.