In the age of the smartphone, every 16 year old with an Instagram account considers themselves an amateur photographer, but there are some of us who want to take this fun, creative and often painstaking artform to a new level, possibly even translating it into a viable profession.

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Photography is like any other form of art, it takes not only raw talent, but a keen eye for detail and an almost obsessive desire for quality to create a really professional looking product. Some new photographers have all the gear and no idea, and show up to photography classes expecting to be able to shoot at a professional standard quickly.

Unfortunately, photographers are artists, and just like painters, sculptors, actors, dancers and musicians they are on a never ending journey to perfect their craft. Even professional photographers are prone to mistakes. If, however you want your images to have that compositional je ne sais quoi that marks a pro out from the amateurs it’s important to steer clear of these 5 unfortunate tropes that just scream amateur.

Too Much HDR

HDR or High Dynamic Range is an attempt to give images the same degree of luminescence that they have through the human eye, but through the lens of a camera. It’s a technology designed to overcome the inherent limitations of digital photography. While it can enhance the realism of an image it can also be woefully overdone. Finding the balance between realism and making an image work is a hallmark of a pro!

Lack of subject

Many photographers want to capture a moment in time with their images; a panoramic tableau of an interesting or precious but fleeting moment. While a noble intention this can also make for bland or confusing images. It’s important that even tableau shots have a clear subject that frames and contextualizes the rest of the image.

Confusing composition

While the lack of a subject is a common cause of confusing composition, it’s perfectly possible to create a poorly composed image even with a subject. Try your images out on a fresh pair of eyes. If your respondent asks what they’re supposed to be looking at then you need to go back to basics with your composition. Remember the “rule of thirds”.

Hanging back too far

It can be tempting to capture your images from a “safe” vantage point, but hanging back too far can rob your images of their mood and drama. A wedding specialist like Vittore Buzzi Photographer will tell you that there’s a fine line to be walked here. A great photographer doesn’t intrude on the moment but still gets close enough to capture the magic of an image.

Overzealous processing

If there’s one bad habit that Instagram has engendered among new photographers it’s the practice of capturing a mediocre image and processing the living daylights out of it in an attempt to make it exceptional. While HDR is a common offender, over saturated colors and excessive sharpening of images can make images look over produced, fake and generally unappealing.


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