In this day and age, with smartphones and tablets that have the ability to take high quality digital photos, everyone seems to have taken on the “photographer” persona. Photo editing apps like Instagram and PicStitch give the average consumer the tools needed to turn any picture into a work of art – or so they might think. It is actually quite simple to distinguish an amateur photographer’s picture from a photo taken by a professional photographer. There are 6 tell-tale signs that are signature mistakes of the amateur photographer.
1. There is no clear subject in the photo.
Sometimes, people will take pictures “in the moment,” without taking time to focus on the primary target of the image. There may be many objects in the background or foreground, or the depth of focus may be inadequate for what is featured in the photo. The picture should be a clear depiction of what the photographer is trying to show you. Professional photographers are extremely diligent when it comes to selecting a primary subject for the photo. For instance, in a soccer match, you want to focus on the player with the ball; not the audience, or the field, or the players in the background.
2. The photo is blurred or out of focus.
At slower shutter speeds, cameras will show movement of any kind. Lower quality cameras can capture the slightest motion and could ruin a picture. Shaky cameras and blurred pictures are distracting and can take away from the quality of the image. Professional photographers avoid this issue by using high quality cameras with high shutter speeds; they also use a tripod to get ultra-still and steady photographs.
3. Portraits are taken with a wide-angle lens.
Wide-angle is usually the default or factory lens setting for most consumer-grade cameras. However, the wide lens can have a distorting effect on your subject and create a very unflattering image by stretching the person’s face or body. Professional photographers know how to zoom in to flatten the perspective and create a more flattering portrait.
4. There are unnatural colors or unbalanced lighting.
Amateur photographers often don’t know how to white balance a camera or how to adjust the color settings on their equipment. Skin color may look blue or pink, bright or white areas may be blown out, or it may be difficult to distinguish one object from another. A professional photographer knows his equipment and how to properly white balance a camera so skin tones are natural, lights are flattering, and the contrast is clear.
5. Photos are all center-focused or lack aesthetic balance.
If every subject of every photo is in the dead center of the image, your portfolio will easily become very boring. However, you also shouldn’t have a bunch of photos where all the action appears in the bottom right or top left of the frame. Professional photographers use the rule of thirds to create balance and beauty in their photographs, and to make each one unique.
6. The photo is poorly cropped or pixelated.
Many amateur photographers will try to zoom in and crop out portions of their images to focus on one particular subject. This often results in lower quality images with pixels or artifacts appearing in the photo, or random pieces of objects sticking out of the edges of the frame. A professional photographer can capture the highest resolution so that, after any necessary cropping or zooming, the image is still of the highest quality.
Professional photography is an art and takes a great amount of skill and many years of practice to master. Not everyone is a photographer, and not all photos are professional images. If you want high-quality pictures, you should consult with an experienced photographer at In Focus Studios.