- Emphasize the Lighting
- Use Natural Light Whenever Possible
- Keep It Sharp
- Focus on Your Composition
- Learn How to Properly Process
- You May Need to Upgrade Your Equipment
- Challenge Yourself
- Bonus Tip: Print Your Photos
- Picture Perfect Lighting: An Innovative Lighting System for Photographing People
- The Dramatic Portrait: The Art of Crafting Light and Shadow
- Portrait Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots
- Photography Ideas to Jumpstart Your Creativity
- Challenge Yourself By Taking Different Kinds of Portraits
photo by Paul Otoiu via iStock
If you’re looking to fix your bad photos, you’re not alone. I actually get questions about how to fix photos at least weekly.
In an effort to give you tips for fixing bad photos, I went on a Google search, because why reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to and I found this incredible video from B&H.
As it turns out, fixing your images is pretty simple and can be boiled down to these 7 tips for fixing bad photos.
Table of Contents:
Emphasize the Lighting
Photo by Boba Jovanovic on Unsplash
Artificial lighting can alter the color temperature of your photos that can really throw them off. Some artificial lighting, like tungsten, casts a very cool tone. Others, like incandescent lighting, is very yellow and warm.
So, ask yourself if your lighting is enhancing your subject. Is it making your subject easier or harder to read?
If the answer is harder, then maybe it’s time to switch things up a bit.
You can adjust the color temperature in post-processing quite easily to correct for color casts. You can also get into the practice of using a gray card to get the white balance just right in-camera. Here’s a tutorial on how to do just that.
Recommended Portrait Lighting Reading:
Use Natural Light Whenever Possible
Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash
So, if your artificial lighting isn’t working for your photos, then the best way to fix your bad photos is to use natural light whenever possible.
Depending upon what you are trying to convey in your photos, shooting at different times of the day may be best.
For instance, if you want photos that feel ethereal, then shooting during the golden hour is best. But, if you’re looking for bolder light, then shoot in the afternoon sun.
photo by MStudioImages via iStock
Just be aware that natural lighting has varying intensities and color temperatures. Golden hour lighting is very soft and warm, but mid-day lighting is very harsh and cool.
If it’s portraits you’re taking, golden hour is the preferred time for outdoor portraits for this very reason. The softness of the light minimizes harsh shadows and helps you in creating a more pleasing shot.
Keep it Sharp
photo byWatcharapong Onnom via iStock
Blurry photos are one of the best ways to create an awful portfolio.
One of the best beginner photography tricks you can use is the shutter speed/focal length rule. It’s simple: the inverse of your focal length is the slowest shutter speed you can use and get a sharp photo while handholding your camera.
So, if you’re shooting at 50mm, 1/50 seconds is the slowest shutter speed you should use.
And, if you’re still finding that your photos are blurry, kick it up a notch to keep them sharp. In this case, try 1/60 seconds.
Of course, the old standard method of using a tripod to stabilize your camera and a remote to trigger the shutter work great too!
Focus on Your Composition
photo by vovashevchuk via iStock
You can’t fix your bad photos without focusing on the basics of photography and composition is an essential baseline.
Use the rule of thirds to play with where you want to place your subject in the frame.
Additionally, avoid bad angles for human subjects. Nobody wants to have a triple chin.
Learn How to Properly Process
Remember when Instagram first came out in the early 2010s and everyone overprocessed their photos? All of those filters not only hid the work we did creating the photo in the first place, but it frankly looked tacky.
Learning how to properly process your photography takes time, just like everything else in photography. But often, less is more!
Understand that you’re much more likely to overprocess your photography early on in your career and try to focus on learning how to stop doing it.
You May Need to Upgrade Your Equipment
Photo by Juliano Ferreira from Pexels
Your camera isn’t the end-all, be-all for good photos. A great photographer with a cheap camera can take stunning photos…
That said, sometimes you just need to upgrade your gear so you have all the tools you need to create the best photos at your disposal.
A better camera might offer you better dynamic range, faster (or slower) shutter speeds, enhanced shooting modes, and so forth.
Certainly, a better lens will give you sharper results with improved colors and contrast. The same goes for your post-processing program. This isn’t to say that you need to spring for Adobe Creative Cloud, but using a free trial version of something with limited functionalities isn’t doing you any favors either!
Photo by Claudio Testa on Unsplash
Are you accustomed to shooting portraits? Try landscape photography.
Have you never worked with human subjects before? Make a post at your local coffee shop saying you’re looking for a model to trade your photographs with.
You’ll never fix your bad photos if you don’t challenge yourself to try new things!
Bonus Tip: Print Your Photos
It frequently helps photographers to learn how to fix photos when they see their photos in a new light. Try to view your photos in as many mediums as possible. This includes the old fashioned medium of a print.
I try to print one of my photos on a canvas at least once every few months because I realize the value of seeing my print every single day hanging on my wall. It allows me to feel proud of my work while affording me the chance to give myself some constructive criticism at the same time.
CanvasHQ provides a platform where you can purchase quality canvases for relatively cheap so you’ll be able to print your photos on a regular basis.
I’ve used CanvasHQ for years because they’ve demonstrated the unique mix of great prices, superb materials, and excellent customer service. You just don’t get to experience all that in one place all that often!
If you’re new to printing your photos, CanvasHQ can walk you through their many different options and will even make recommendations based on the specific image you’d like to print.
It’s this commitment to helping you realize your creative potential that sets CanvasHQ apart from the crowd.
Trust me - one of the best exercises I undertook to get better photos was to start printing them. You can do the same today!
In 2019, CanvasHQ won my secret shopper canvas print shootout. How'd they do in 2020? Check out the video above to find out!