Someone wise once said, “Photography takes a moment to learn and a lifetime to master.”

Truer words were never spoken.

When I started this blog I was taking pictures with a camera that you threw away.

Remember those?

And while my throw-away camera was perfect for vacation and documenting various important events and the occasional picture of the cats…..

…I realized that it wasn’t going to cut it for blogging.

So I began to teach myself with hours and hours of practice and lots of trial and error….

….specializing in the error department. 🙂

And after a year and a half of learning and growing and trying…..

…..I wanted to share a little of what I’ve learned and share three simple tips for better photos.

photography tips

Tip #1:  Use a tripod and a timer

In the way back machine I wrote a post about this that still holds true today.

But here’s an update.

The type of tripod makes a big difference.  I have a beginning DSLR camera.  It’s a 3Ti with a basic zoom lens….but the tripod makes it look like these pictures were taken with a much more expensive camera.


I started with a Wal-Mart tripod for about $25.00.  Then I got a photographer’s tri-pod for Christmas two years ago.  They don’t make the model I have any more….but here’s a link to a similar model.

You want to make sure to get a tripod that extends to at least 6 to 7 feet and has a reversible center pole (perfect for taking overhead pictures).  A quick release for the camera is perfect for versatility and allows you to easily charge the camera and remove the SD card.

These pictures are the first pictures that I took with the new tripod.  Because it was heavier and sturdier….it secured the camera in a way that did not allow for any movement when you took the picture.

Lack of camera movement = crisp, clear pictures.

simple photography tips

Tip #2:  Use the manual focus button

I know….I know….that sounds so scary.

It’s not.

The manual focus button is your friend because it allows you to be in charge of what you are focusing on…..not the camera.  Just flip the button on the lens from AF to MF and start focusing.  On the Canon…..I move the square around on the screen to choose where I want the focus.

In the photo above I chose the metal cloche as my focal point.  Notice how clear and focused it is as opposed to the images in the background.

better photography tips

Here’s the exact same image….except I chose the background as the focal point and the cloche is now out of focus.

Same setting.

Same table.

Completely different picture.

tips for being a better photographer

Tip #3:  Finding the right angle

The right angle can make such a difference between an okay picture and a really, really interesting picture.

For example….this vignette was taken by moving the tripod to eye level and angling it down.  Notice how the items in the background frame the shot.

photography tips

Here’s the exact same picture….except I raised the tripod and angled the camera down to get more of an overview shot of the scene.

The background fades slightly and the vignette takes on more prominence.


Lastly, here’s another camera angle between eye level and the height of the previous picture.

I also might have taken an overhead shot showing only the table.

Or an angle looking up at the flowers.

Different perspective….exact same composition.

Three different looks just by changing the angle of the camera.


My last little piece of advice is to practice and have fun.

Photography can be exciting and a great way of looking at life through a new perspective.

Enjoy the journey!

PS  Here’s a few other photography posts that might be helpful like this tip on how to get sharper images and simple tips for taking better pictures of a room.

simple tips for better pictures

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  1. Image for Louise Louise

    It is not the equipment but the photographer that makes the photo.....and you definitely "have the eye" and talent. Great blog!

  2. Image for Leo windham Leo windham

    You've still got it girl. Thanks for the tips. Jane and I are always trying to improve our shots. The photos on a blog catch the eye and your writing locks us in. Great job.

  3. Image for Libby Boyle Libby Boyle

    Thanks for the tip about changing to manual focus. I just did a couple of experiments and wow, I love what I can do. No other photography tipster has told me that one. Thank you.

  4. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    I agree with the person who said it's the photographer. You have a very creative mind and your eye sees it and then focuses on that. I am studying how to take better pictures and I don't think I'm even at the 101 level. I've got a ways to go but I do know good photography when I see it. There are great photographers who can take incredible photos with a little point and shoot camera. Thank you for the tips -- I'm going to dig my tripod out of the closet and set it up and practice -- I also have a shutter release cable that I haven't taken out of the package :-( I think it's time -- you've given me the gentle nudge.

  5. Image for Marie Lyne Lussier Marie Lyne Lussier

    Great tips! Thank you for sharing and for giving me good will on pursuing my dream of becoming a professional photograph! Have a great day!

  6. Image for Kelly - Talk of the House Kelly - Talk of the House

    These are great tips, and you do have a photographer's eye...always beautiful shots here - plus a lot of beautiful things to photograph. :) I have the same camera, and I use a very good tripod (that I got for Christmas!), and my extra lens is a fixed 50 mm. Can you tell me what your dream lens will do that the current one won't? I have so much to learn when it comes to photography equipment!

    1. Image for Thistle Wood Thistle Wood

      Kelly, That lens is an upgrade from my current lens and it goes to 300mm instead of 155 (which is what my current lens has). I want more range with my lens so I don't have to always adjust the photo because my current lens isn't able to take the picture I want! current lens has been used so much and it's covered with paint! LOL! karianne

  7. Image for Betsy@coastal-colors Betsy@coastal-colors

    Great tips! Thank you for sharing some of your trail and error lessons! I am right there with you! I started with an old point and shoot camera. You're right, it was bad! I'm still learning to use my new camera. I really appreciate this post. Your photos are lovely!

  8. Image for Cindy Brown Cindy Brown

    What is the source for the drapes behind the wing chair that are yellow, taupe (or gray) and white? They are just what I am looking for in my bedroom! Thanks! You are my absolute favorite among all the blogs I follow!!

  9. Image for Janette@The2Seasons Janette@The2Seasons

    Well, I just ordered the last tripod like this on Amazon. Jordan and I have the same camera and took the same photography class, but her results are always better. Plus, I often comment that her tripod is much sturdier than mine. So, maybe this new tripod will upgrade my photos. Thanks for the info.

  10. Image for dawn@joyfulscribblings dawn@joyfulscribblings

    Thanks for all of the great tips Karianne. The little things do make a difference. To your credit though, you also have a great eye for composing pictures. I think the key is also taking the time to practice. I still have a lot of practicing to do :) Hope you are having a great week!

  11. Image for Jen Jen

    Thank you for sharing these simple tips. I just finished an online photography class in an effort to boost the quality of the photos on my blog and I've been hesitant to invest in a good tripod and shutter release cable. Your photos are a great example of why this would be a worthwhile purchase. I appreciate your eye for good photos and your willingness to share what you know!

  12. Image for Kathy d Kathy d

    How about some tips on photo styling? That is definitely hard for me. I can style my antique mall booth but have such a hard time styling for photos. It's true you have to have an eye for photo styling but maybe you can help us beginners to develop ours!

  13. Image for Jill Jill

    As usual you are brilliant! Thank you for your thorough descriptions and illustrative photos. But I must agree with the others that it takes a special eye to compose the vignette in each shot. Thanks!

  14. Image for michelle michelle

    Thanks for such great advice. I am planning on launching a blog - and have been working on the site, photos etc - and before I have even announced it to the world - it took like two seconds for me to figure out that I needed a real camera. So I have purchased one but your advice about the tripod is priceless. Can't wait to pick one up this weekend and try it out.

  15. Image for Kris Kris

    Ooh! I knew I'd love this post as soon as I saw the title. I have a high-end point-and-shoot, and it does have a manual mode, which for some reason is terrifying to me (why, I don't know, since there's this lovely invention called "delete" if I don't like a picture). I LOVE how you showed the same picture 3 different ways to help me understand why you did what you did--I still won't be taking pictures like you do (nor do I want to invest that much in a camera at this point in my life), but I love to learn new techniques. Thank you!

  16. Image for Barbara Bussey Barbara Bussey

    I gave my Canon to my son because I have no patience. You take gorgeous shots. Your patience and commitment have certainly paid off!

  17. Image for terry terry

    What beautiful photos, what about lighting? I always have problems getting the right amount of light with inside photos, my speedlight flash is just too much even with a diffuser,,, your photography is just perfect!

  18. Image for Sue Sue

    I have been wondering why I like your blog so much.....couldn't put my finger on it....well..I like what you have to say....but I like how you write it....just like I write my blog with ".........." between periods or coma's...I do one thing different.....I capitalize words that I want to put Emphasis on....

  19. Image for Thrift My House Thrift My House

    I took your advice! I got out the tripod... that one thing has made a huge difference in my photos. I appreciate that you didn't go over the top with the tips... A few tweeks makes a huge difference. Thanks so much for the super EASY advice Karianne. Sherry xoxox

  20. Image for carol carol

    thank you so much for sharing your tips ... I always want to take good pics ..but they just get away from me I am going to use some of you tips today and practice cheers carol

  21. Image for Jill Morgenstern Jill Morgenstern

    Oh dear. I hated my tripod so much that I got ride of it. Of course, it was a $20 Target tripod. Maybe it's time to reinvest - these are beautiful and I can definitely see why a tripod would make a good friend for a blogger (*sigh*) :-) Jill

  22. Image for Heather Heather

    I love my Canon Rebel and my tripod too - great tips!! Love your photos and those fun purple flowers! Thanks for sharing at Monday Funday link party! ~ Heather

  23. Image for Kathy Kathy

    Great tips my dear friend - awesome photos - that's a fantastic lense too - thank you for sharing about Bing Rewards! Cool concept! Have a fantastic Thursday :) Kathy

  24. Image for Michelle Lepak-Dandelion Patina Michelle Lepak-Dandelion Patina

    Man, I need to get the tripod out of the basement! My husband purchased one for me years might not even work with my digital Nikon now. It scares me! And, I have been using a fixed 50mm that I need to do all the movement on to get the right shot (and even then I struggle). Funny how I am not scared to use manual mode, but afraid of the tripod! I love that you showed different angles of your is amazing how each has a different feel. So helpful. I certainly think you have mastered photography in your lifetime!

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