How To Make A Picture Look Professional

How To Make A Picture Look Professional – This week we’re looking at how to make your photos look more professional, with 4 tips you can use today to instantly improve your photos!

You’ve just taken a bunch of photos and diligently uploaded them to your computer, but when you look at them on the screen, you feel a little drained.

How To Make A Picture Look Professional

How To Make A Picture Look Professional

You know something is wrong, but you can’t quite figure out what’s missing – and you have no idea what to do about it!

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When you feel like your photos are a little “meh”, you’re probably missing something important from them.

Taking great, artistic, professional photos is a puzzle – there are many different ingredients and factors that go into an image, and the more of those factors that are right, the more “wow” your image will be!

So today I’m going to teach you four things you can do right now that will instantly help you make your photos look more professional.

I’ll give you a mantra to keep in your head at all times that will help you get more professional photos: “light first, space second”

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Just keep that drumming in your head every time you raise the camera to your eye and you’ll have a great foundation for any photograph in no time!

When taking a photo, the first thing to think about is where the light is relative to your subject and how you can best use that light.

There are many ways to light a subject (from the back, from the front, from the side and so on) but which one to use depends on how you want to view the scene and the type of light you are using. The possibilities are endless! Move your subject – does shooting from a different angle make the light more interesting? Is there an angle that best compliments your subject?

How To Make A Picture Look Professional

The biggest tip for finding good lighting is to just use your eyes. If your subject is looking at you or has hot spots (places where the strong sun hits them) the picture won’t be flattering when you take the picture – no matter how good these actions are in photoshop! Ditto if your subject is in the dark with no light reaching them.

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Lighting is a HUGE topic (and a whole module in my Auto to Awesome course) but for starters, just think: if it doesn’t look good on the eye, it won’t look good on camera.

A few tips to get you started: Until you’re more sure how to meter for the right exposure, avoid sunny days, especially around lunchtime. It’s harder to take a decent photo at that time, just because of the position of the sun in the sky (overhead = bad)

Cloudy days are easier to use when you’re starting out, simply because the sun is covered by clouds that give off a softer light. That is, still try to avoid midday, because the sun will still have a certain direction and you will not get the most wonderful light then, even if it is diffused.

Oh, and if you really want wow-factor shots, shoot at sunrise or sunset – about an hour before sunset and an hour after sunrise is best. I’ve talked before about how I rarely do that time of day unless it’s winter, but the light is so beautiful then, and you can light your subject in so many different ways.

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My last tip if you are new to photography is to start indoors rather than outdoors. Now I know from teaching thousands of students that most new photographers shy away from indoor lighting because it’s less light, but it’s easier to control lighting indoors than outdoors! You can read more about this in our blog post Settings and tips for indoor photography!

(Psst! If you’re struggling to get great photos or if you’re all you have to focus on to get them, be sure to sign up for my FREE class “Pro Tricks for Professional Level photos” We go deeper into the 5 key elements that all pro-level photos need, so you have a blueprint to follow, along with more tips and tricks to get you started!

You can add a really professional feel to your photos simply by choosing the right aperture for the scene you’re trying to capture. There are two mistakes that beginners or intermediates make when choosing an aperture, so let me go over them now.

How To Make A Picture Look Professional

The first mistake is that you use too small an aperture (too large an F-number) when photographing a person or subject. This gives you a larger area in focus, but also tends to give your photos a “snapshot” look to them. This is because your camera often uses a smaller aperture than you need on AUTO because it doesn’t know if you’re shooting a group of people, a landscape or a single person, it needs to be in the middle.

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Another mistake is to go too far in the other direction and use a very large aperture for what you’re shooting, and you end up with only a tiny fraction of the scene in focus. It’s really fantastic if your focus is absolutely perfect (and I personally like the look of an image with a shallow depth of field) but it’s not so good if you’re not in focus, even on a fractions.

Plus, if you’re shooting someone, even if you focus in the right spot, the short depth of field can mean you only have one eye in focus!

Make sure you leave enough wiggle room by using a slightly smaller aperture, unless you’re very sure of your focus and happy with where and how you’re going to focus.

In other words, choose your aperture so that you get some ‘bokeh’ – in other words a blurry area behind your subject, as this will help provide some separation between the background and the subject, but make sure you have everything you need in focus.

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(Note – this is general advice, there are times when you want everything in the frame to be sharp, for example a landscape, so always adjust your aperture to what you are shooting and the result you want – you may see some aperture examples here!)

As a very general non-specific rule, for a human, using an aperture somewhere around F2.8 or F3.2 is usually a good bet.

We provide more examples and suggested apertures in our free class “Pro tricks for Professional Level Photos” so be sure to check that out too!

How To Make A Picture Look Professional

The next thing that can make a big difference in your photos is to do a visual sweep of the frame and make sure there are no distractions or anything that draws the eye away from your subject. If there is, take a moment or two to quickly move it out of the way, or try using a different angle so you can block it completely.

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Remember that anything brighter than your subject will draw the eye (so avoid blowing out highlights) and so will anything with bright colors, such as a red ball in the background of a portrait shot. Even if it’s really small compared to your subject, bright colors will still attract the eye!

In this example below, a red truck on the right side of the frame draws the eye, so the image will look cleaner – and more professional – when it’s removed.

Even if you are vigilant when shooting, there are bound to be times when you look back at your photos after uploading them to your computer and realize you missed something! (Like the red truck in the picture above!)

If anything it doesn’t fit your subject, it’s usually pretty easy to remove it during processing. Which leads me nicely to….

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Most professional photographers will do at least some level of editing to their photos: in fact, I personally can’t think of one that doesn’t (certainly there are a few, I can’t think of any, probably because it’s so rare )

So a good way to make sure your photos look professional is to do some level of editing on them.

It doesn’t have to be fancy, just checking white balance and exposure, reducing noise and sharpness and adding some contrast and saturation can do wonders for an image, especially if you’re shooting in RAW. You can read about 5 easy ways to improve your photos in Lightroom if you need help here.

How To Make A Picture Look Professional

Taking the time to make sure the image looks good on screen and in print is just one little extra thing most photographers will do to “pin” their images.

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If you don’t currently have processing software to edit your photos, I recommend getting some. You can get RAW processing software for free from Nikon and Canon,

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