How to... take a great photo
Our flagship TS Royalist, caught in action
How to... take a great photo
Our top 10 photography tips could help you win the Peregrine Trophy!
Submitted by CURRENT

Even if your subject matter is really interesting, the way you capture it can mean the difference between a forgettable image and an award-winning one!

We’ve put together 10 top tips on how to take a great picture. Once you’ve got the hang of it, why not enter the Royal Navy’s prestigious Peregrine Trophy photography competition – you could win an offshore voyage, £100 for your unit to spend at the Sea Cadets shop, and a trip to London to attend the awards ceremony!


Look for an emotional subject to photograph that will capture the attention of the viewer. If you’re taking a photo of a fellow cadet on the water, try and capture an expression of concentration as they row, or grit their teeth in effort to pull in the sails.

Get some emotion into your photograph


Try to capture your subject in action, taking part in an exciting Sea Cadet activity like sailing or rowing, instead of letting them pose for the camera, which can look staged and boring. Catching them when they’re not looking is even better!

Sea Cadets do loads of exciting things to take pictures of!


Don’t use the flash when you’re inside, as this can make photos look pale, or give your subjects a startled look! Do use it outside on cloudy days, though, where it can reduce shadows, illuminate your subject, and look more natural than with indoor shots.


Before clicking the shutter button, think about angles. Rather than just shooting the picture from your eye level, can you take the photo from high above, somehow? Or, could you try getting down to ground level, shooting it from the side or the back, from a long way away, or from very close up? Shoot outside the box.

Think about interesting angles you can shoot from


Take high-resolution photos – pictures taken with camera phones don’t usually have the same quality as those taken with a proper camera. Images that are very zoomed in often don’t have very good resolution, so get as close as you can to your subject.


Unless you’re taking a black and white picture, try to make your photos as colourful as possible. If you take a good shot but the colour’s letting it down – maybe it’s a bit washed out, or the flash has made it look over-exposed – try converting it into black and white for a more dramatic result.

Colourful subjects can make for eye-catching photos

Safety in numbers

Take lots of photos of the same thing and then you can pick the best one. You could also crop your photos to focus in on something specific, if it would look affective without the rest of the photo.

Rule of thirds

The rule of thirds suggests that the subject of your photo should be one third of the way across the picture, not in the centre. Photos can look loads better with this simple adjustment. 

Try moving the main subject away from the middle


Taking a photo of something against a simple, plain background will make it stand out more than it would against busy one. Some cameras also let you intentionally blur the background, making your subject even more prominent.

Depth of field

This is particularly good to keep in mind for landscape shots, or looking towards the horizon when you’re out at sea. Draw the viewer into the photograph by placing something at the front of the field of vision. For example, if you’re taking a photo of a valley while you’re on a Duke of Edinburgh hike, try and get the sense of distance across to your viewer by capturing some of your fellow cadets in the foreground. 

Create a sense of distance by positioning something in the foregound

What are you waiting for? Learn more about the Peregrine Trophy competition and start snapping!