Our images are like children to us.
We love them. We put lots of time and effort into producing them, and we're proud to show them to the world. We swell with pride when we read all the lovely Facebook comments people leave about how amazing our images are!
Unfortunately, just like with our children, we tend to gloss over the negatives and focus on the stuff we love about our images and can't always see that the quality isn't really good enough to be offered professionally.
You might worry about this already, particularly if you're having trouble booking. While it is a valid concern that needs addressing, it is also a common excuse that people have that keeps them from really moving forward in their business as well.
So how can you tell if your images are good enough to attract new clients?
Ask for critique
Find someone you really trust that has been doing photography longer than you have and ask them for an honest critique of your work. Don't get defensive, as it's not personal at all, but listen to what they are saying, take notes, and really do everything you can to improve in the areas they suggest.
If you can't find someone to critique you, you can join the conversation in a group or forum. You may learn a lot simply by reading through the posts, and you'll learn even more by posting your own image for critique.
Watch and listen to free critique videos by Zack Arias. Start at the beginning and work your way through them when you have time. They are simply invaluable.
Do you know your camera super well and how to use it in various lighting situations?
Knowing how your camera works, and what settings to use and change for various lighting situations is key to creating consistent images.
If you're still just shooting on auto or program mode and don't really know the rest of the details of how to take good images, you're likely relying upon luck, not skill, to create images. By learning your camera inside and out and feeling comfortable shooting in any lighting situation, you'll be able to create more compelling images that will draw people to your business.
Do your images have these common issues?
While I hate to make generalizations, I can almost always identify an inexperienced photographer by these common image issues. It's rare that you'll see someone experienced and successful doing these things (although I'm sure there are exceptions out there).
- Severely tilted images
- Images with selective color (black and white images with a single part of the image in color).
- Desaturated images that make human skin look like zombie skin.
- Overly heavy vignettes, or any form of white vignette.
- Different editing styles for almost every single image and/or session.
- Overly sharpened eyes with super brightened whites of the eyes
- Flat horizons that are tilted in the photo.
- Limb chops (hands, feet, elbows, etc that are cut off in images. The general rule is to cut off between joints, but not right at a joint).
- Dappled lighting where part of the face is in the sun, part is in the shade, and not on purpose. Often caused by trees.
I did these things too, almost all of them at one time or another. Here's a few of my own from early on that show limb chops, desaturated zombie skin, and tilt.
Don't get discouraged!
While you may still have some learning to do, that's okay! Just know that improving the quality of your images will help you get more clients. While it isn't the ONLY part of the puzzle, it is an important part that will hold you back if you don't improve. So go learn and keep shooting. The more images you create, the better they will get.
What is one place you'd like to improve your photography images? Leave a comment below and share!
Jamie M Swanson is a Wisconsin Wedding Photographer who shares her secrets about photography marketing over at The Modern Tog. Click to check it out!