Great photos take great planning. Not necessarily elaborate or complicated, but definitely great attention to detail. Here are some tips for planning three popular styles of photography, closeups, landscapes, and portraits. See below for examples of each from my Dreamstime portfolio.
Closeups – bokeh. The whole point behind a closeup is the attention to the detail of your subject. You can emphasize that by creating a nice background blur so the background does not draw attention away from your subject. Be close to your subject and use a low f-stop (wide-open aperture) to create nice bokeh/blur. The other thing you can do with a closeup is to fill the frame with the subject so you don’t have to worry about background at all.
Landscape – leading lines. Landscapes are an opportunity to take the viewer on an adventure, to explore all the nooks and crannies laid out before them. Try for an anchoring detail in the foreground and leading lines to extend through the adventure. Landscapes typically don’t want bokeh/blur, so use a high f-stop (small aperture opening) to ensure you’ll capture the distant details.
Portraits – focus on the eyes. This is critical for people portraits, and animals, too. People connect with others through eye contact. If outside, try for a non-busy background so it won’t take attention away from your subject, and no trees or limbs sticking out of people’s heads. Use a medium f-stop (f8 – f11) for this depending on your background. You want the viewer drawn to the eyes, not the environment.
For closeups and landscapes, remember to get creative and find angles other than ‘straight on at eye level.’ Get below, get above, move around, if you can walk all the way around your subject, do it! Take shots from a variety of angles and placements.
An example for landscapes would be a waterfall….take photos from the top of the falls looking down, and from the bottom looking up if that option is available to you. An option for a rolling hillside could be to get low to the ground and shoot upward, or find some high ground and shoot down. Try to see your environment in a way you never have before and share that. Be creative!
Portrait options might have your subject looking down, or to the side, or you may choose a profile view. Create some dramatic lighting to make it more interesting, use shadows or reflections.