Critical Photo Tips (KEEP-IT-SIMPLE-STUPID!!!!) :D

Hi All,

After trauling through hours and hours of images and seeing photographic images that should have either:

a. Been binned
b. Not binned but edited a lil better
c. Not binned but photographed a lil better…. (you get the drift!)….

….I decided to write a quick “Keep It Simple Sunshine” photo tips list for you to go through when taking a photo OR editing a photo etc.

LIGHTING – What time of day is it??? Avoid shooting outside in the middle of the day!!!! Morning or evening ppl!! If you are inside, are you using the flash on your camera? Pro lights? Natural light coming in from outdoors? Tungsten light? Make sure your light matches your subject!! If you’re not sure, try a few different lighting styles then you’ll have more choice later on when it comes to editing,to picking the best one.

SUBJECT INTEREST – What the hell are you pointing your camera at exactly?? WHAT am I supposed to be looking at?? If it’s supposed to be an abstract shot, well that’s fine…but if you’re capturing the corner of a duck’s head in a murky pond and the rest of the pic has nothing in it, something tells me you should have just BINNED that sucker…..Is what you’re photographing INTERESTING? How many ppl do you think have shot that subject before? If they have, how can you make your shot DIFFERENT and BETTER? Look at others around you and what they are photographing…you might find your passion for shooting mid-century steam trains only appealing to YOU……;)

EXPOSURE – Ok, so a lot of ppl these days use a mix of different types of cameras, and that’s fine! :) Whether it’s an SLR, Prosumer or Compact Camera, there is NO EXCUSE for poor exposure times. Blurry images (unless intentional), overexposed, underexposed…yes, you might have ‘almost’ captured your dog wagging and smiling at you, but YOU DIDN’T…so bin it!!

FIDDLING – So everyone likes a fiddle…well…sometimes you just SHOULDN’T!!! Before digital came along, you ‘fiddled’ in order to get a correct exposure, correct framing, correct everything, as with film there was/is very little space for error. As your skills improve(d) and you were confident in all the crucial basics, you then went forward and started fiddling based on what you had already learnt or were trying to emulate through someone else’s work. Today with the click of a mouse button you can take a reasonable image (or not) click a few times, and without knowing what you’re doing in the slightest, either improve or DESTROY an image. If there’s one crucial thing you should know before you start to ‘fiddle’ in that photo program of yours…Is the picture WORTH IT?? Is the picture not fantastic already WITHOUT you messing about with it??? KEEP IT SIMPLE SILLY!! If your image is crap to begin with, it prob aint gonna get any better with a sepia filter/HDR/BLUR mode or the like. Any pro will tell you- PICK YOUR BEST SHOT, Adjust the exposure of the picture (lighten or darken) crop the image if needed, and size it. BAM….NOW SEE if you wanna fiddle with it.

BEST SHOT – We know you’re excited about your newest grandchild, or all those awesome photos you got of those drag cars at the speedway last week, and just HAVE to share them with everyone…well…please don’t :S….Choosing your ‘best’ shot can be agony (Trust me, I know!!) but it’s necessary. Having 10 shots all nearly the same sharing/clogging up the works and expecting others to be all “How wonderful” just aint gonna cut it if you’re trying to make a professional go of things. PICK THE BEST out of each group of shots to work with. OR, you can do a diptych or triptych- a series of matching photos all put together in a sequence…that’ll look MUCH more interesting……;)

DISPLAY – Is this image a snap or a piece of art??? DECIDE. Most ppl on art sites do NOT want to be seeing ‘snaps’ of you doing boring crap from your everyday life unless there is a real story to go with what it is you’re doing. Keep your FINEST IMAGES on your site and your snaps in your purse/wallet/home photo album. This will make a HUGE impact on those ppl looking at your work-they will be able to tell almost immediately when looking at your albums on RB whether you take your work seriously, or you’re just wasting ppl’s time and clogging up the net….

QUALITY – PEOPLE WANT TO SEE QUALITY. No pixelation on images (there are no excuses these days with the ample range of cameras and mega pixels available) You might have taken a fabulous shot, but your settings on your camera are wrong, OR you don’t know what you’re doing when it comes to editing that image size in your photo program. Get advice asap!! Also, CLEAR AND SHARP images (if not arty and deliberately blurry of course). ALWAYS enlarge and check your image at it’s biggest before uploading to the net-better you spot the mistake before a potential customer does!! As stated before, DON’T chuck a cheap filter on your image (ie-SEPIA has been done to death and MURDERED by bad photog’s in my opinion…) -if it’s not a decent pic to begin with, it aint gonna get any better with you throwing THAT on top of it!!!

POSING – Make sure your subject is COMFORTABLE. Even if it takes you a while before you get shooting, do it, or it SHOWS IN YOUR IMAGES. Sleazy posing is a NO NO. Contrite posing is a NO NO. TALK to your subject..engage with them. I was always taught this-you can always tell what’s on the photographer’s mind by what comes out in the picture’s…and usually if your mind is in the gutter, you’ll get rashy images :S NEVER make a model/subject do something they don’t want to do. HAVE FUN. Natural poses are best ;)

FLESH – Too much is NOT a good thing if done badly (see above for rest of tips :p)

COPYRIGHT – Depending on where you’re from and what your laws state, you as the photographer OWN YOUR IMAGES unless bought OUTRIGHT from another person under agreement. Even if your image does NOT have a copyright on it, it is still copyrighted to you and cannot be reproduced/used without your permission. I choose to have all my images here on RB and anywhere else on the net, watermarked and also secured any other way I can. You may want to check your current settings to see whether you’re fully protected. Plenty of ppl are still completely unaware of copyright issues with photos and art in general, so please, before jumping down someone’s throat when they ‘accidently’ use an image of yours for something (happens all the time) check with them politely first to see if they realise the legalities of what they are doing. You can find out more info by doing a google search for ‘copyright’ and the country you are in.

Ok, that’ll do for now…hope this helps!!!

Bel :p x


  • Mel Brackstone
    Mel Brackstoneover 2 years ago

    oops….soz bel ;)

  • LOL ;D

    – Belinda Leopold

  • Andy G Williams
    Andy G Williamsover 2 years ago

    Now I’ve stopped crying I will take all the sepia’s down. But I will keep up all the topless models with ‘Do not cross Police’ tape wrapped round them. You didn’t mention them so they must be ok! :p

  • Hahahahaha Andy…you know what ya doing ;D

    – Belinda Leopold

  • carol brandt
    carol brandtover 2 years ago

    hilariously written and so spot on … well done belinda! :D

  • Oh good Carol!!! My mum always thinks I write so harshly..but it’s just me being ME-my ‘big’ mouth and personality to boot :p LOL! I’m not REALLY trying to upset anyone EVER…just wake them up a lil….;D

    – Belinda Leopold

  • Noel Elliot
    Noel Elliotover 2 years ago

    Love your comments but you didn’t include that ART SITES like RB don’t NEED pet photos and family photos, models against brick walls and other boring backgrounds, blown out highlights,crooked horizons and backgrounds where not of interest to the photo, photo saturation overworked in PS, Action shots that have been over sharpened because the original was blurry to begin with, more pets,more family shots that are just not arty, people who do not know the difference between a good and bad photo uploading photos to sites supporting ARTISTS, happy snaps…… ironic….They make me unhappy.

  • Ahh Noel…Thankyou..Cheers ;D

    – Belinda Leopold

  • Maxoperandi
    Maxoperandiover 2 years ago

    “FLESH – Too much is NOT a good thing if done badly”….great advice Belinda and big KISS to you!

  • Hihihihi…thanks dear!! Onwards and upwards!!!! :p

    – Belinda Leopold

  • berndt2
    berndt2over 2 years ago

    It’s all good stuff, and my favourite is “What the hell are you pointing your camera at exactly?” because if it’s not obvious from the composition and everything else, then the photo is a fail no matter how in focus, well lit or shake/blur free it is!

  • Hahahahaha…too right luv ;D

    – Belinda Leopold