Have you ever looked at a photograph you’ve just taken and thought, “Wow … this is boring!” Yeah, we’ve all been there, perhaps far too often.
Thankfully, however, there are ways of taking your images from, “Meh, I guess that’s ok” to “Bam! That’s awesome!”
The most important part of any incredible photograph is vision. You need to have a vision for how the image will turn out in the end.
Now this doesn’t mean you need to see every single color, tone, and line. However, having an idea before you snap the shutter often makes all the difference.
Look at your composition.
Do your eyes get stuck in one part of the image? A solid photograph will gently guide your eyes through it, taking in every element. When composition goes awry, the image falls apart.
Rather than placing your subject dead center, or shooting everything at eye-level, try some different angles. Look for elements in the scene that pull you in to the photograph.
Additionally, pay attention for items in the photo that distract the viewer from your subject.
Be aware of and take control of your lighting.
Lighting gives life to an image. In landscapes, try photographing just after a storm or during the coveted “golden hours.” This is nearly fool proof for great lighting, though be mindful of the light’s direction in relation to your subject.
When it comes to portraits, you can be more flexible in your approach as often, you can control your light directly. You could go with dynamic, hard, side lighting, perhaps using a flash off to the side.
Or you could go with soft, even light, such as what you’d have near a window or in open shade. With lighting, it all really depends on your subject, and the feeling you are trying to portray.
Choose your exposure wisely.
Sometimes a dark image works; at other times you’d want your image bright. Pick an exposure that suits your vision for the final photo.
Play around with your aperture to change the depth of field. Not every landscape absolutely has to be absolutely sharp front to back.
Perhaps focusing on a single element, and letting everything else fall out of focus, can tighten up scene and set the image apart.
Similarly, play with shutter speeds. The photograph may have more impact with a slower shutter speed, to induce a sense of movement.
Now go out there and implement these key steps. By paying attention to your composition, controlling your lighting, and using a creative exposure, you will move your images from that dreaded realm of boring snapshots into genuinely artistic photographs.