University of Southern Indiana

Tips for Taking Good Photos

Aliesha Jones taking photos in the apartments on campus

Basic Tips

  • Set camera on highest/resolution quality setting to ensure best images for print and online.
  • In low-light situations make sure the flash is turned on to avoid grainy or blurred images.
  • Avoid taking photographs toward windows or other brightly-lit backgrounds.
  • Be sure the camera is focused on the focal point of the image.
  • Avoid cluttered or complex backgrounds.
  • Avoid cutting off hands, feet, and tops of heads. Images can be cropped later if needed.
  • Grip and grin photos and group photos are less than inspiring. Consider having the subjects do something active to tell a story.
  • Arrange groups creatively rather than a line-up.
  • Avoid subjects wearing clothing with logos of other universities, offensive material, or brands.
  • Make sure subjects have completed a Model Release Form. 


Most smart phones take photos as good as the traditional DSLR camera. It is easy to go from simple snap shots to outstanding iPhone photos. The goal is to get your smart phone photo good enough to be a 8x10 print. If your “real” camera sits on a shelf while you take most of your photos with your smart phone, here are some good links to read:

Photo settings on your smart phone

Beginners guide to incredible iphone photography

Best photo editing tools for smart phones

How to take better photos using your Android phone

Phone Photography 101: How to Take Good Pictures with your Cell Phone

Best Camera to Buy for the Money

There is nothing wrong with being old-school and wanting a camera. You don't need to spend thousands of dollars to get a professional camera with all the fancy extras when you need a good basic work horse. There are plenty of excellent "prosumer" cameras out there that have good video/photography components. But make sure you read consumer reviews before you buy any camera. Upon purchasing a camera, READ the instruction booklet in order to use it properly. There are lots of video tutorial on YouTube as well.

Some of the best consumer cameras under $500:

Nikon Coolpix B500

Canon PowerShot SX740 IS

Sony RX100 II

Olympus Tough TG-5


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