Do you sometimes feel like your photos suck? I sure know I do. Even if they’re objectively good, you may want to make them even better. In this video, Rachel and Daniel from Mango Street cover eight things that could be holding you back and give you some tips on how to overcome them and grow as a photographer.
1. You don’t plan your shoots
You need to have at least some level of thoughtful planning before the actual shoot. Think about the mood and the look you’re going for, about the location, outfit, lighting… Even tough Rachel and Daniel usually photograph people, this goes for every type of photography. For example, landscape and astrophotographers need to be at the right location at the right time of the day and the year, and in the right weather. You get the point – planning your shots ahead whenever it’s possible will help you improve.
2. You follow trends too closely
Imitating other photographers is perfectly normal at the beginning. It’s even desirable because it can help you eventually develop your own style. However, you shouldn’t draw inspiration from photography only. Allow yourself to be inspired by movies, series, paintings, even music or books, and don’t forget to add your own unique spin to whatever you shoot.
3. Your white balance is off
If you shoot in raw, this should be an easy fix. However, it can be tricky if you have mixed light sources, which brings us to the next point.
4. You don’t prioritize lighting
We already know that good light is everything in photography. So, Rachel notes a few things to keep in mind when choosing your lighting:
- Don’t mix color temperatures (unless that’s your goal)
- Simply wait for the best light and use a reflector or a diffusor to make the best of natural light
5. Your photos don’t say anything
This is one of the biggest aspects that separates great from good photographers. So even if your photos are good, they can become even better if you tell a story with your work. This can mean capturing the story in the scene, expressing raw emotions, and many other things, but most of all it means finding your own voice to do all that.
6. Your compositions are boring
The composition is one of the essential elements that will make your photos more interesting. No matter which genre you shoot, there are plenty of ways to improve it. Play with light and shadows, framing, angles, and textures, and make your photos more appealing to the viewers’ eyes. You can find plenty of tutorials on our blog that will help you improve your composition.
7. Your subject doesn’t stand out
This is related to the previous point since good composition will make your main subject stand out. So, pay attention that you don’t have too many distracting elements in the scene that will draw the attention away from your subject. If you shoot portraits, a shallow depth of field will create the background separation and make the subject stand out. You can also rely on leading lines and framing.
8. Your photos are under- or over-edited
One could argue that all photos are post-processed. However, there are a few bad sides to overdoing it. First of all, it could ruin your photo and make it look unprofessional. If you follow a trend in editing, you leave a “timestamp” on your image that pretty much reveals when it was edited. On the other hand, leaving images completely unedited may seem unprofessional too. Just exporting RAW images straight from Lightroom looks like you only got half the work done. So, edit your photos, but try making your edits subtle and timeless.