Practise Your Photography Skills

Here, we’re sharing some activities designed to boost photography skills. These tips and exercises will help young movie makers (or young photographers) to capture images with great visual style. 

These activities are quick and easy to practise. They add a professional feel and can be applied to both still images and video work. 

The focus here is on individual skill/artistic eye, rather than usability of camera kit/lighting setups etc. You can practise all these activities on a phone camera, or with more sophisticated kit if available. 

Practise the Rule of Thirds

The ‘Rule of Thirds’ is a fool-proof approach towards professional looking composition.

Imagine a grid over your image, dividing the photo into nine segments (3 x 3). Try to position your subject onto the lines, e.g. their eyes on the top horizontal line, or their body on the first vertical line. The same idea works for landmarks too. 

If you can position the most interesting bits onto the ‘sweet spots’ (the point where the vertical and horizontal lines meet) then this is even better. 

Show Some ‘Depth of Field’

Try to show the third dimension in your photos, so that they show some depth. Pathways running off into the distance, or walls or angles in the physical space that show some distance.

If you have a DSLR camera, you can also start to vary the focal points and do some more interesting things with how your present the depth of field, but even with a basic camera on a phone, it’s good to try and capture shots with a sense of distance reaching into the background. 

Change Your Point-of-View

This is a great (and very easy) way of adding range to your photography and seeing the world from different places.

Try taking some photos from lower down (from a low angle perspective), or higher up. Try stepping to the left, or to the right, before taking the photo. A really effective change to try out: can you take a photo from inside, rather than outside?

Highlights vs Shadows 

Try and experiment with the natural light to see if you can illuminate parts of your image, whilst keeping others in shadow.

This is a good one for practising at sunrise/sunset, or indoors usinga specific light source, or you can practise at sunrise/sunset. Practise taking photos close to doors or windows, explore the different angles you can use for both your camera and your subject.  

Edit Your Photos

It’s amazing how much a simple filters or curves can add to an image. There are tons of apps you can download to help you edit your photos, as well as editing tools on most camera phones.

My favourites are probably Adobe Lightroom (for both phone/laptop) for filters, or Pixaloop, which animates part of your image to bring in some movement.

If you’re really interested in photo editing and have plenty of time, it’s also worth exploring Adobe Photoshop and investing in lots of add-on actions. (I love the Luxe Lens for bundles).  


There is a lot more to photography than covered here, but these simple exercises should help to develop your skills in framing, composition, your artistic ‘eye’ and help you to create some incredible images.

All of these activities are transferable to moving image/filmmaking photography too, so you can also give them a try in video form. Be creative and have fun with it. 

If you post any online (on Instagram, etc) then you can use the tag #sparksmoviemaking and we’ll be able to check them out. We’d love to see some of your work!

Interested in more projects?