Every week we ask professional photographers about their careers, experience, gear and their technique. Every friday we publish tips from three pros.

We ask them one question - What's one piece of advice you wish someone gave you when you were just starting out. These are the answers we get.


Scott Kelby

If you were ever reading about photography online you'd probably stumbled upon Scott's blog. He's a great photographer, based in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. Mostly shooting sports, people and travel.

© by Scott Kelby
© by Scott Kelby
© by Scott Kelby
© by Scott Kelby
© by Scott Kelby
© by Scott Kelby

For more Scott's work go to his portfolioand be sure to follow him on Instagram. And here's what Scott has for us. A tip on shooting better portraits.

To make better portraits - start really paying attention to the background, keeping it as clean and simple as possible. For example, let's say you're taking a portrait of a bride. You have a smiling beautiful bride right in front of you, in a gorgeous wedding gown. The bride (the foreground of you shot) is going to look great!

What will really make or break your photo is the background. The pros know this and will recompose and reposition the bride to put the simplest, cleanest background behind her they can. It's when you start really considering the background that the quality of your portraits will move to the next level.


Albert Dros

Albert is Dutch award winning photographer who's been published amongst some of the biggest media channels in the world, like Time, Huffington Post, Daily Mail, National Geographic and so on. No surprise. Look at his pictures below.

© by Albert Dros
© by Albert Dros
© by Albert Dros
© by Albert Dros
© by Albert Dros
© by Albert Dros

For more Albert's stunning images be sure to check out his website as well as her Instagram feed. And here's the tip he gave us.

My tip for everyone is to make your photos stand out. Do not get overwhelmed by anything, ever. What I mean with this is that people often want to capture rare beautiful things when they see them.

Think of a thunderstorm, a rainbow or even the northern lights. People get overwhelmed and shoot without much thinking in those situations. I always want more. Always try to give that photo something extra. My recent shot ‘moooo’ is a great example of that. I saw the rainbow appearing and I quickly had to make choices. I did not want to capture the rainbow just like that as I always want something extra. The ‘making of’ of this shot can be read on the blog on my website.

When you see something rare or beautiful, don’t be satisfied immediately! Think of something you can combine the photo with. This can be very simple: some rocks on a foreground, some lines to make a composition with, anything! As long as it’s not ‘just that rainbow’ or ‘just another aurora sky shot’. These are all just ‘snapshots’. You want the viewer to be like ‘wow!’


Taya Iv

Taya is just 19 years old photographer. She mostly shoots self-portraits. But these are nowhere close to the selfies you know. Take a look at few of here photos or scroll down for the tip she gave us.

© by Tay Iv
© by Tay Iv
© by Tay Iv
© by Tay Iv
© by Tay Iv
© by Tay Iv

For more of Taya's beautiful portraits go to her Flickr profile and follow her on Instagram. And here's the tip. Mostly on lighting.

If someone were to visit my past self when I first discovered photography, I wish they'd tell me not to be afraid of experimenting with light. Back then, I was afraid of spending my time working with unusual lighting setups. However, with time, I learned that there's more to portraits (especially self-portraits) than sitting in front of a window or a direct light.

Some of the most amazing photographers I know are courageous when it comes to complicated lighting. Whether you're shooting in the dark with only a lamp to guide you or hiding from the blazing sun under a tree, remember that you'll get amazing results if you believe in your ability to experiment with light.

Finding secret places with eye-catching light will help you improve both as a photographer and as a person; the more aware you are of nature, light, and your abilities to make good use of both, the more grateful you'll be. It's a wonderful gift we all have. All we need to do is make the most of it.


That's it for today. Do you like the idea of this series? Let me know in the comments below. Also - let me know if there's a photographer you'd like to get a piece of advice from, and I'll do my best to get in touch with him/her. Oh! And don't forget to share the article!

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  • Chris Breitigan

    Really great tips and photographers featured this week! I've been following Scott for a while so it's nice to see him on here. It seems a lot of pros agree to pay attention to the background for the best portrait results - good to know!

    • Joost van Halm

      Amazing tips! All are pretty straight forward when you come to think of it, but that's just the thing: you have to think of it! I do not fully agree with Scott here. I think he's right when it comes to your focus on the person in the portrait, but some less simple backgrounds (out of focus in this case of cours), give you a sense of the person in the shot of the atmosphere of the moment. Simple isn't necessarily better. I would bring it down to 'non-detracting'. Light also plays a great role in this case because the eye is drawn towards it. So a dark (simple) background with a bright part could ruin the emphasis you're trying to get on your subject.

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