5 Photo Blunders That Make You Look Inexperienced

Every day we are bombarded with thousands of media advertisements. People aren’t reading or even skimming anymore, they’re scrolling. And without fail, one sure way to either attract people or repel them is through the quality of your photos.

Online businesses have increased, markets are more saturated than ever and now is the time to stand out with your business.

But are you making one of these five mistakes with your photos that can make your business look inexperienced? Or worse, make people scroll on by without giving it a second chance?

Let’s dive in and unpack each one, with examples from yours truly. Because yes, I've made all these mistakes before.

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I started using photography in my business when I started blogging in 2016. I wanted to photograph some styled flatlays and put them for my blog posts or for Instagram. So with my previous knowledge from working with a wedding photography studio, I jumped in, severely underestimating the work of learning product photography (which is MUCH different than portrait or bridal photography). I started off overly optimistic and overestimating my abilities on every level.

Photo blunders that are sure to repel prospective clients:

1. Styling fails

Poor examples:

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While these photos aren't terrible, they're not captivating or intriguing. They look haphazard, not thought through and a little like an after thought. 

What these photos need are balance.

How to incorporate balance:

1. Have one focal point; something that will take center stage, and place one prop in a prominent position and place the other props as "background." Your eyes naturally want to focus on something, so when you have a haphazard photo your eyes are searching for some type of cohesion.

2. Use an odd number with props. Having an odd number naturally gives you a focal point and is more interesting to look at.

In the previous examples, I had a lot of props. And, as you can see, almost too many. 

 

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This photo shows balance with using 3 props. There is an obvious focal point and it has an intriguing angle. This photo works because it has balance, is interesting, and is more intentional.

 

2. Not knowing the basics of your camera

There's a lot to know with a DSLR. Just the thought of all there is to know can be overwhelming and make you feel like you don't even want to learn it. 

But, there is hope! Just like with anything, there are the basics and there are more advanced features. With your DSLR, all you need to know are the basics and you can go SO far.

You don't have to get super fancy with equipment or lenses, it all starts with knowing the fundamentals.

Grab the DSLR cheatsheet here.

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3. Poor lighting / Not spending time on the set up

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This is what happens when you're in a rush and don't have time to get a good set up or you just need to post by 7am. A poorly lit, dim, and wildly unattractive photo. (One of my first posts on Instagram. Aw)

This isn't a hard one to fix. It just takes some planning and pre-thought. It's not for people who want to click a photo and post in the next minute. 

What I mean by this is, you need to take time to find the best spot in your house to take photos. Also shooting at the best time of day.

Taking time for setting up was something I had to get used to. I didn't want to spend a half hour setting something up and just as much time cleaning up, I wanted it to be quick, easy and painless. 

But unfortunately, taking product or styled photos isn't as easy as Pinterest makes it look. It takes time, thought and planning. 

How to save time when you take photos:

1. Batch your photos. What I mean by this, is once you have your full set up, have several other set ups lined up so you can take a lot of pictures at one time, rather than do them another day, do it all now!

2. Take one day for shooting. I know this may not be feasible for some, but if you can dedicate a whole day to product photos, you will be surprised at how creative and easygoing the process is. No need to rush and feel stressed. Taking your time with a shoot is a great practice, especially for someone just learning.

 

4. Relying too much on editing

I have to admit, this was me. I could transform a photo using my favorite editing tool: Photoshop.

The reason why this IS NOT a good practice, is that the editing process takes time. Sometimes, it takes a lot of time. If you can have a good set up and a good shoot, you won't need to spend as much time on editing. 

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before

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after

the key for too much editing

1. Get used to your camera and your home studio set up. The more you can get familiar with how your photos look in different times or day or different lighting, the faster you'll be able to take quality photos.

2. Once you shoot better photos, you will save SO much time in editing.

5. Inconsistent photo quality

This one is major. 

And, this used to be something I seriously struggled with. It's a common mistake with newbie photographers and those who wouldn't consider themselves photographers at all but who take their own photos for their business.

The thing to think about here is consistency. As you can see in this, very sad, example of my Instagram feed back in the day, I was using filters, high contrast, photos in the sunlight... everything about this is not good. There's also some bad white balance going on.

 
 
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I didn't know how to keep my photos consistent.

The photo in the upper right hand corner was taken by a photographer and I took some with my iPhone and the rest with my camera.

No consistency whatsoever.

Not that Instagram is everything, but here is a snapshot of my present-day feed. These photos were taken with only my camera, I try to keep the quality and colors consistent across the board – this is an ongoing struggle I have with showing a "professional" feed and sharing the real life day-to-day, but, that's a conversation for another time.

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How to keep your photos consistent

1. Use the same vehicle when taking photos. Meaning, use only your phone, or only your camera. If you're using professional images from a photographer try to keep the look consistent across the board.

2. Keep your editing style the same. Don't use dramatic, mystical filters one day and a light, bright, airy photo the next. And P.S. this goes for Instagram, your website, this is good information for any outlet. I will say about filters, they will eventually go out of style so I prefer the clean, high contrast look.

 

Like I said in the beginning, if you struggle with any of these things, don't worry. I've been there! There is definitely hope if you have a ways to go. 

I would love to hear what you think of this post.

Which of these struggles do you face?

Do you have a hard time with something I didn't mention?