The Secret to Not Have Sucky Photos

August 05, 2021  •  Leave a Comment

Do my photos suck?  Maybe, maybe not.  If I look at previous photos I find mistakes or ways I could have done it better.   It is so easy to look back in any skill you may hold dear and see your early mistakes.

I continually try to take better photos so that my photos suck less and I have realized a way to make that happen.  This blog is my way of sharing how I am learning to improve.  If you have been following me on YouTube you can see this in real-time, because I have a lot to learn.  On my youtube channel, I am working to improve 1% with every video.

That's it.  That's the secret.  No matter what skill you are trying to improve, set your vision to be 1% better with every event (video, photo, job, relationship, etc).  It really does work in anything you want to apply this to.

If you want to be as good as "fill in the blank here" ____________.  You cannot get there without trying.  If you follow any other photographers you will hear similar guidance in the form of "now get out there and shoot", "practice every day", "don't be afraid to start", etc.  And I agree with all of those statements and others in the same line.

But if you take the 1% better approach, it isn't just a phrase.  It isn't an actual measurement as much as a way to help you understand that you should take it slow.  I could make a list of over 100 things for you to try if you are new to photography but you would be lucky to try 2 of those things, plus you also are not likely to read the whole list.  But if I give you one thing to do and challenge you to use that in your next photoshoot, chances are better for you to give that a try.

This is also the basis of my Monday posts "Photography Tips and Tricks" to only provide a single action or tip for you to consume.

Another way I accomplish this with my club is with something we like to call "List of Seven."  In this task, I assign six specific tasks for photos and 1 wild card to do as you wish for a total of seven.   The list can be a theme around a technique or it could be totally random.

I challenge you not to wait for a photography club to challenge you.  Instead, choose one thing that is different from your current photography habits.  Yes, you have photography habits.  We all do.  The one thing that you choose can be something you already know, but you want to do it better.  Or it could be something you didn't know about.

Here is a rather elaborate "one" thing I did over a year ago.  I was in the streets of Cincinnati when the sun lines up with the East and West streets.  However, the "one" thing that can be applied here is how to photograph a silhouette.  Taking a silhouette may be too much for "one" thing.  If it is, watch some youtube videos on how to do it to understand it better.  But, don't just watch the video, actually, try it yourself.

Here is my silhouette on the streets of Cincinnati.

Silhouette on 4th Street.Ready for rain on 4thSilhouette on 4th Street.

If you want to see the entire series from this trip you can find it here.

Another "one" thing you can do is learn how to get off of 100% automatic for all the camera settings.  You will find many giving advice on how to get to manual mode.  But just like my example above, there are a lot of steps to get to that photo.  You don't jump from step zero to step 10, it just doesn't work.

Okay....... one more analogy.  I am a runner of 5Ks, 10Ks, and 1/2 marathons.  I didn't get off my couch one day and run a 1/2 marathon.  Nor did I get off my couch and go run a 5K.  It all started with very short runs and small improvements with each run.   So don't expect to go from "My Photos Suck" to the cover of a magazine.

If you watch my Youtube Channel I have started using this in my intro "Welcome to Practicing Photography where I try to get better one photo at a time."

So what's the secret?  I told you above, but in case you missed it is to get 1% better with each photo you take.  Or as I said above ".... where I try to get better one photo at a time."

Now get out there and shoot and think what is it that you are going to do better.


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