Do You Feel Like A Crappy Photographer?

When I first began my venture into photography I was a really crappy photographer. For one thing I didn’t know what to take photos of. I started like most people I know; I would just take pictures of things that I saw that looked interesting to me. But when I went home and uploaded my photos to my computer I was disappointed more times than not.

My images were BORING! 

And they weren’t just boring to me. Whenever I started showing my collection of images to someone who actually seemed interested, I could see their eyes start glazing over after the first three minutes. I’m really good at reading body language and I could see they my captive audience was wishing they weren’t captive anymore. I would slowly close my computer and start a conversation about something else. I could literally see the relief in their eyes.

Then, I started researching.

I started searching on the internet for photos that I thought were interesting and I studied them.  I wanted to know why they were so much more interesting than mine. My goal as a photographer is to have people excited about looking at my photography and maybe even wanting to own some. I mean how cool would that be?!

I learned a lot from that exercise. 

I learned about light and the mood it can bring out in an image. I learned a shallow depth of field can make an object in an image pop; that you don’t always have to center the object that you want people to focus on; that sometimes the “rules” of photography were often broken by a seasoned photographer.

Here are 5 ways to make your images more creative, interesting to look at and not so crappy.

1.  Search online. Do what I did.  Surf the web for photos that you find interesting. Look at images in magazines, papers, on-line galleries.  You will find a wealth of creative ideas.

2.  Learn visual language. Visit art museums, galleries and photo exhibits.  Learn photo history from the past to the present and discover how highly creative people developed methods for expressing light and color.  

3.  Read photography books. Learn new techniques and then try to apply them in your work.

4.  Look at things through the eyes of creativity. Take photos of anything just to see what it looks like from different angles; things around your house, in the fridge, on your porch, in your yard.  The subject doesn’t really matter all that much. Look at it from every angle. Click, click and click some more. Digital is cheap.

5.   Composition is the key.  Frame your photo in your mind. Look at everything in your view finder. Are things cut off where they shouldn’t be? Look for interesting angles and light. Get on the ground and look up at your subject.  Stand on something and look down. The key is to shoot the subject in many different ways, under different lighting. Try to make those images different from everyone else.  Don’t just point and shoot.  Consider composition.