Why You Should Read This
If you’re trying to improve your photography, then it helps to know where you’re going wrong. This article is all about pointing out where you’re going wrong and what you should be doing to fix it. It’s not easy taking consistently good photos, but once you’ve gotten the hang of it, it becomes incredibly rewarding. Your photos suck and it’s time to fix them.
1 – Bad Lighting
All too often photos are taken on compact cameras and digital SLR’s where the lighting isn’t adequate. The lighting is the most key part of taking a good photo, I know it sounds simple, but a photo is a collection of light, so has to be good. Pop up flashes can cast a very harsh light over your subject; flattening the image. Off camera flashes that can be rotated to point to a wall, or a ceiling have the ability create much more natural light. They also cast shadows over the subject, where shadows would usually be which gives them a lot more depth and make the whole photo look more natural.
2 – You’re Making Excuses
Even today I was walking though London and saw a building I wanted to take a photo of, but found myself thinking ‘oh well, I haven’t got my wide angle lens on, another time’. I made myself take a photo anyway and I actually think it’s a lot stronger then it would have been had I had my other lens on me because it made me actually think about the photo I was taking and how I could get something interesting into the frame. Stop making excuses as to why you can’t take photos and start challenging yourself.
3 – Wrong White Balance
White balance is very important to making a photo look natural, having the wrong WB will produce a nasty color cast to your photos and will make skin colors, among other things, look unnatural. The most common example of this is when shooting under tungsten light – skin color can look almost orange.
4 – Motion Blur
Shooting in low light often results in compromises such as having to use a high ISO, but one compromise you can’t allow is motion blur as it renders your photos unusable. Raise your shutter speed so that it’s at least the same as your focal length: For example, if you’re shooting using a 50mm lens on a crop sensor, your focal length is effectively 75mm, so your shutter speed should be 1/75 of a second or higher
5 – Bad Depth of Field
Often when people get their first f/1.8 lens, (and for those of you that don’t understand aperture, click here) they tend to put it on f/1.8 and leave it there for a while. Shallow depth of field has it’s creative uses, but it has no place in every photo. Your photos will start to all look the same and will cease to be impressive. Same can be said about too much DoF, you need to try and find a compromise and use it when it’s best suited.
6 – Shooting at the Wrong Time
For example: Shooting in the evening or early morning when the sun in low in the sky produces much better results then in the midday sun where your photos will appear bright and harsh. If you’re struggling to capture a scene that looks really good during the day, that’s because your eyes can adjust the exposure in ways your camera cannot. Shooting in the evening will help remove silhouettes and produce a much more even exposure.
7 – Distractions
Anything that’s not adding to a photo, is taking away from it. Think about what you’re photographing, before you take it. Ask yourself: Does that object/person add anything to this photo? More often or not when I ask this question I end up moving my camera to a different angle and take a much more interesting shot.
8 – You’re trying to impress Others
Shoot what you like, not what you think others will like, or you’ll never be happy. You know what looks good and that means that you have a realistic target that you can picture in your head. That’s much more obtainable than what you think the masses will enjoy and at the end of the day, you’ll be happy with the results. If you see other photos that you love, take inspiration from it, stop trying to replicate it.
9 – Poor Composition
If you’re not too familiar with composition, try to at least follow the rule of thirds. That means that anything key lines up within a third of the way in from any side of the photo. One thing that bugs me about photos found on facebook is how they’re all too often framed poorly; a group of people in one corner with lots of dead space above and to the side of the photo. Think about what you want to include in a photo and wait for the right moment to capture it.
10 – Too Much Photoshop
I’m all for a bit of post processing, but when it’s over done and on every photo, it looks pretty terrible. Try to get the exposure right in the camera and restrict post production to cropping, contrast and enhancing techniques. Purposely overexposing a photo, adding fake lens flare, going black and white for no reason, and too much contract will detract from what could be a very good photo.