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How To Improve Your Terrible Photos

How To Improve Your Terrible Photos

My photos still suck about the top of the line, camera thinking I'm gonna get some great photos but my photos still suck. What am I doing wrong? I see that kind of post at least once a week in the photography Facebook groups. And when I take a look at these photos I see harsh lighting conditions, bad weather, distracting elements. You know nothing about their skills or anything because who needs skills to do photography? But real talk about even professionals can still take a couple of bad photos. It is just inevitable.

While knowing your camera settings does help a whole lot there are still a lot of factors out there that are completely out of our control that can result in a terrible photo. So in this article, I want you guys to not do that. The next time you take a Photo and offer you guys steel tips on how to improve them in the future.


5 Tips To Improve Your Terrible Photos


1. Lighting

And this is where a majority of the beginners confuse bad lighting as them being bad at photos. Now I'm not talking about lighting as in bringing a speed light or flash or using off-camera lighting. I'm talking about lighting in the scene. No matter who you are, you will have to deal with harsh lighting, hazy weather, and also gloomy days. Unfortunately, weather condition and natural lighting are completely out of our control but we can learn how to work with them. Generally, when you're dealing with harsh sunlight during high noon you're gonna run to all sorts of problems.

The background or your subject could be extremely blown out. If you must absolutely have to shoot during harsh lighting condition try to place your subject in the shade or placing the Sun behind the subject. It's not always gonna be the best but at least you're working with what you got. And if you have a chance to go back to that Photo location, go back during sunrise or sunset. The lighting will be absolutely perfect during those hours.

Let's go ahead and take a look at this scene that I got from Yosemite. This was during high noon and the Sun cats at a pretty hefty shadow on these rocks and mountains.

How To Improve Your Terrible Photos


The scene still looks pretty nice but we aren't seeing too much details vs this shot that I got around sunset.

How To Improve Your Terrible Photos

The massive difference right? And generally, cloudy days are the perfect time to shoot some portraits because the clouds are blocking the Sun creating some nice soft even lighting on your subject. However the same cannot be set for landscapes overcast days can make a landscape pretty dull and even non-existent. Now PSA don't let bad lighting or bad weather conditions thought you from creating memories. I am super guilty of this myself. Whenever I see harsh lighting condition or gloomy days, I'm just defeated.

I just won't even take my camera out to take photos or take videos because I just know they'll be bad. However, because I didn't even bother trying I lose out on memories of my adventure. For example, I hike up the mountain to see this Grand view of the village that we were staying in. It was supposed to be very beautiful. The cherry blossom trees were surrounding the city. It was gonna be a fantastic shot.

I'm thankful I still took a video and a selfie of that day even though you can't even see the village at all. At least. Hey, I did this thing. I went out there and did this thing. I hiked up there. It didn't work out but we still have something to look back on at the very least.


2. Things in the frame and things not in the frame.

Now I didn't want to bring up the composition in this article just because I feel like a lot of people are pretty decent at it already. Plus it's a well-beaten topic to be honest with you. Rather I want you guys to focus on what's in the frame and what's not in the frame. For example, you're out traveling to a very touristy spot. Obviously, You don't want the other tourists to be in your Photo so you would either have to wait it out or find a way to crop them out. What is Frame Rate for Video: Understanding Frames per Second.

Unless the other tourists are control computing to the story that you're trying to tell in your Photo they can be very distracting. And to add on to this topic considering adding some foreground to your shot it could be something as simple as leaves, trees, or even some vodka lights. These foreground elements can add a little bit of dimension to your overall photo.


3. Try shooting 35, 50, 70 millimeters, and up.

So if you bought your camera from Costco or some sort of starter pack you're about to have this kit lens called the 18 to 55. If you have a kit lens that's 18 to 135 well then you lucky dog. Now, most people tend to use 18 millimeters for wide shots and zooming into whenever their subject or object of interest is too far away. That's natural. That's what a Zoom lens is for. However, try to shoot 35 millimeters and up instead. For portraits, this is equivalent to portrait mode in your phone. Try shooting 35 millimeters, 50 millimeters, or even 70 millimeters even for wide scenes.

And if you need to fit your subject into the frame just pick a few steps back. That's because a tighter focal length helps compress the background to your subject and the object of interest don't feel too far away from one another. Versus if you're just shooting wide it just doesn't really have that epic feeling. Again you want to use a tighter focal length versus shooting wide and walking close to your subject it just doesn't give that same compression.


4. Why it is a blurry, shakey, noisy photo?

After you've taken a Photo you Zoom in you pinch to Zoom in. You're just like Wow why is it so blurry? Why is it so shaky? Why is it so noisy? Those are the three sins of photography blurry photos shaky photos and noisy photos. These are the top three common problems that beginners half. So how do you fix them? If you are having issues with noisy photos or grainy photos I would suggest keeping your ISO setting below 1600 if you are using a crop sensor camera and keeping it below 6400. If you are a beginner, I would suggest using a full-frame sensor camera.

However, I do want to point out that everybody's noise tolerance level is different so I would recommend trying out different ISO settings to see what your limit is. If you have trouble with blurry photos, consider increasing the shutter speed. Try matching your shutter speed with a focal length that you're shooting in. For example, if you're shooting with a 50 millimeter your shutter speed should be at least 1/50. If you're shooting with a 200 millimeter, your shutter speed should be at least 1/200. What can also help you with blurry photos is if your lens or your camera have some sort of stabilization built-in.

And Lastly, if you find that you always have a lot of misfocused shots try raising your aperture value. For example, if you're running into this issue shooting at F 1.8 try stopping down to F 1.8 or F 2. What blasphemes I bought this F 1.4 let's travel a couple thousand dollars for it. I'm gonna shoot exclusively at F 1.4. Otherwise, what's the point? Wow. Okay, calm down there all right? No need to blow upon my face. Listen I completely understand that sentiment. I am exactly the same way.

Whenever I buy an expensive Prime lens F 1.4, F 1.2, I'm gonna shoot exclusively at those apertures. I'm gonna shoot landscape with those apertures. I'm gonna shoot plants with that aperture. I shoot my food with that kind of aperture. But the thing is when you're working with such a thin that depth of field you're not always gonna get the sharpest or the steadies results.

What I'm trying to say is if you're shooting landscape or a giant group Photo don't be afraid to stop down to F 5.6 to F 8 from time to time. And it means getting sharper results. But if you're shooting portraits and you need to really isolate your subject from the background or you're shooting in a low light condition and you need to maximize the amount of light coming into your camera. Then by all means shoot at F 1.4 or whatever the higher aperture value is of your lens.


5. Just some simple editing

That's all you need. Something as simple as lowering the highlights and boosting your shadows can go a long way for your photo. A lot of the times after you've taken a Photo you find some sort of distracting elements in the corner of your screen. Be sure to crop that out. And if your horizon is off considering using the straining tool in your photo editing software now filters and presets are nice. It can definitely add a very distinct look.

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