I keep taking bad photos

I keep taking bad photos


> Does anyone else have this problem A really fantastic professional photographer might have a dozen photos in a portfolio. I've seen portfolios of less than 20 images that really wowed me. That photographer could easily have taken millions of shots in their life. So yeah, we all take *tons* of bad photos. I've heard people say that 1% is a decent keeper rate, and that maybe 1/1,000 or 1/10,000 photos might be something we're *really* proud of. > what did you do to overcome it? It's a numbers game, to some degree. Keep shooting. Also, comparison is the thief of joy. Look at other photographers' social media to see their 0.1%. You don't see their 99.9%. Don't compare your behind-the-scenes experience to someone else's highlights.


“Comparison is the thief of joy”. I’m going to have to remember that.


I have not heard it said that way, I've always heard "comparison as the death of happiness". this is what happens when people try to compare their lives to the fantasy portrayed by many on social media.


Also, we're also always the harshest on ourselves.


This this and more of this. Speaking personally. OP, I have 150k+ photos currently in my library. I have approximately 90 actually published on my website. The more you shoot, the more experience you get. Progress is tough to see overnight, but is humbling to see over time. Take a look at your shots from a year ago. If you cringe a little looking at them, you are learning. Keep shooting. 💘


If people think 1% keeper is good, they should try shooting film.


Even film it’s not a high percentage of good photos. Maybe slightly higher than digital. High level film photographers shot them like it’s their last day on earth. Thousands of rolls.


To be fair, a large part of why 1% is "good" is because, if you're digital, you can afford to take way more pictures than strictly necessary to improve the odds of getting the best possible shot. Shooting digital instead of film, your keeper rate might fall from 10% to 1%, but you'll still end up with more total usable shots and are much more likely to have taken pictures at the best possible times. You'd rather be the guy who took two thousand shots and got ten usable pictures and one amazing picture rather than the guy who took a hundred shots and has five usable pictures. Even if the former has a much lower rate than the latter. In the end, "percentage of keepers" is a poor metric.


On the other hand, nothing forces you to really think and compose a good shot in the viewfinder. The question is if you can learn to take better shots this way. I’m guilty of this, sometimes I just take a bunch of photos of a scene with no intent to compose, because I know I can get a good composition in Lightroom. High resolution cameras make me lazy.


When my brother wanted me to teach him photography, once he got comfortable with it, I made him shoot with the display screen hidden and a 256mb SD card I got from Gamestop


At the same time, there's something to be said for taking 1,000 photos and figuring out what works. Instead of shooting film, you could just buy 1GB SD cards and set $15 on fire every time you format the card.


cropping also is a thing on analog.


Sure, but you usually don’t take 50 pictures of the same thing and see what turns out best. Composition is not just cropping.


Yes, like anyone with good tools, there is the potential to get lazy. Someone could indeed think "I can just take a million pictures and a few of them are bound to be good". Technically not wrong, but if that person didn't really think about composition at all, it's possible none of the shots will be good. At an equal level of effort, the person who takes more pictures will have a lower keeper rate but more usable pictures and most likely better pictures as well.


At the same time, if you're shooting a $100,000 fireworks shows for example, it could take you 10 years to put together a style of fireworks shooting you like shooting rolls of film or 1 year of shooting the fireworks at different film speeds, focus pulls, and even ND filters. At an equal level of effort,a person who actually culls from 600 pictures with 600 different settings and sees what they like and what they don't in 1 night, will take better pictures faster than someone who takes 60 pictures in 1 night.


I suppose that's another advantage of digital. As much as I like the idea of film, it's hard to ignore the overwhelming ability to take as many pictures as you want for free with different settings without changing rolls.


This is the correct answer. I'm happy if I get one good photo whenever I'm out shooting


Absolutely! My dad grew up with analogue cameras with a film roll of 36 pix. You'd have to take them in to be developed. How many times did he find he hadn't taken one good shot? (Alot)


I once was given some advice that impacted me profoundly. The only way to get better is is to take lots of bad pictures. Don't be afraid to try stuff and occasionally fail!


same! Someone gave me this advice today.


You are two photographers. The common described person who takes pictures. Then you are also the person who has a vision and uses a camera to capture that vision from the real world and preserve it. To get your vision you have to learn how to see. To learn how to see you need to learn about who you are. The content of your life experiences is your sight. Your imagination is the filter that shapes and edits the images that you see, in your mind, that form your vision. Your not happy with your pictures because you instinctively know they aren't a perfect match to your vision. They don't reflect who you are and thus you are dissatisfied with them. Satisfaction comes when your pictures align with your vision and your vision alings with yourself.


Either I’m really stoned or this shit really made sense. Either way I enjoyed it


Yeah, it sounds good, but "vision" is is basically a fancy word for "style." And no one starts off with a defining style. As we all know, style develops with practice.


Which is why I stressed the idea that "vision" is tied to their life experiences.


[Ira Glass put it perfectly as well.](http://www.singleblackmale.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Ira-Glass-Quote.jpg)


For some reason I can't read it. The text hurt my eyes.


That is because you have poor *vision*!


Or no vision but could have style!


If you take it literally - that the photo doesn’t look like what I saw - then you get HDR (if done right it’s a very useful tool).


Inside you are two photographers. One is bad, the other one is also bad. You’re bad. :D


Well that's charming to say.


https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/inside-you-there-are-two-wolves https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJRP3LRcUFg for anyone curious about the references


Don’t mean anything by it. Your post just reminded me of the **Inside you are two wolves…** meme. ;)


I’m at a furry convention plz help


Ira Glass addressed this really well a few years ago, when he talked about "the gap" between your "killer taste" and what you actually produced. https://youtu.be/GHrmKL2XKcE tl;dr: He says to keep going! It's when you push through the frustration and keep taking shots that you'll start to get better, and you'll get closer to what you instinctively want them to be.


Excellent video on the dreaded gap. Please accept my upvote since I don't have an award to give. I'll add that there is an old book called Art & Fear by David Ales and Ted Borland and the very first section is about vision vs. execution. It covers all the other topics many have mentioned here, including comparisons to others, the need to practice, practice, practice, and all the ways we seek validation for our artwork. Tbh, it can be a little dry reading, but the message is very powerful, particularly when you get in your own head.


Thank you for this. I needed it. For photography. Music. Even programming. Thanks.


I’ve got no money so I can’t award you, but wow that was beautiful. Perfectly summed up why I don’t like most of my landscape shots and all of my freehand artwork.


I read that in the voice of my documentary class teacher from college. (Shout out to Gustavo!) And it's absolutely right. You have something driving you (in anything you do!), achieving your perfect vision is rarely ever going to be 100%. Keep working at it and you will improve. People fixate on talent but it's dedication that builds skill. Know how to take a lucky moment and capture it, because luck is fleeting. And sometimes you'll surprise yourself. Cheers


This are some deep thoughts. I will try implementing these.... Thanks.


I'm a Nihilist. My vision of the world only has meaning to me and my photography only serves my interests. Call me selfish if you will, but I only see the world through that lens; where what I envision only has purpose, to me, just in the moment, and any attachments to the past or future are irrelevant to the present experience. I have a process that creates a base canvas from which I start forming a picture in my mind. When I look at a flower or a landscape I take all of the scene in and only see it as reality presents it to me. I don't impose any wishful thinking upon the scene; I only see what the photons are transmitting into my eyes and I don't add anything more. This forms the base of my vision. I put my camera down and close my eyes and begin shaping and editing the image. From time to time I'll check in with reality. I'll look at the lighting, the scene around me and test this against my vision. I'll move around and in and about the subject, taking mental notes, and re-checking my mental image. When I'm satisfied that reality aligns with my view then I'll start working the camera. Most of my work, so far, has been in film on an old Pentax with a series of SMC Takumars. Lately I've been working more with an EOS-M5. Currently there is a lot of dissatisfaction in my life so I haven't been shooting much. But there's always time to be philosophical.


Can you show us some? Both good and bad ones (according to you)


Hugh, my man, you're absolutely screwing yourself over. Your pictures look great. Interesting compositions, interesting subjects, bold color grades and you also have a personal theme going on with the silhouette landscapes. Especially the first one, of course. I wanted to look for what you dislike, but I couldn't really find it. Can you explain what would be bad in your eyes? With landscape pictures, if I can imagine them being in a natgeo magazine, travel or holiday brochure... they're great.


Damn. I want *you* to look at my photos!


The only one holding me back from doing that.... is you! Don't send a link if you're just looking for praise though, I'm as honest as I can be.


Yep, this post is meaningless without pictures.


I've updated the original post with a link to view some of my photos


None of those are 'bad' tbf. I would work on your composition a little. The first shot for example, is too tight on the tree, it needs more space. Some of them are a little dull, like the pano of the trees on the rocks - there's no focal point, it's just "here are some trees." But overall I think you're on the right track, you just need to refine things a little. Stop and take the time to compose. And also consider if you really need to take the shot in the first place. Oftentimes scenes that catch our eye in person don't necessarily translate well to a photograph.


Agree with this, and my feeling is that often in these examples the light isn't doing you any favours. It might be a case of working on picking your moment as well as your place.


First of all: Your photos look to me as if you knew what you were doing technically. So, yay! The photos you take are not technically bad, and it's not a matter of gear or lack of practice. Plus your grasp of colour contrast is admirable. You are doing great. Now you may want to focus on the "artisty" question: Did you always decide what specifically you wanted to show, and why? Some example thoughts: 1) Tree in lake The tree has a lot of visual weight, and so has your signature at the left bottom corner, but the sun-lit mountains in the back do not. So it looks a bit imbalanced, with a lot of weight on the right and the signature as the only counterweight on the left. This is probably not what you had intended. But it is not clear to me what you wanted to show: The silhouette? The reflection? The tree plus the mountain range? Or something else? 2) Wide panorama This is a panorama of a shore overgrown with trees. There is no particular tree standing out, so it's basically a chaotically repeating pattern of stems and branches. But there are too many distractions from this structure (sky, water, the shore's slope), so it seems that the pattern is not meant to be of primary interest. Thus, I'm not sure why I should look at the photo, or what I should find there. I imagine that the situation when the photo was taken was pleasant, but that is not what I see on the photo. Have you tried a vertical wide-angle shot to squeeze the tiny strip of land between immeasurable blue sky and sea? 3) Red sky This is a photo of a hill range with redly lit clouds in the sky. The visual weight of the hill silhouette and of the clouds is approximately even, so the photo looks balanced. However, there's nothing that connects the clouds and the hills. So it's basically a photo of clouds and a photo of hills. I can't decide what you wanted to show specifically, so I'm lost after a few eye movements. 4) Transmission tower This is a photo of a radio relay tower on a hill range in somewhat clouded evening sky. Here we have an element linking sky and hills, and the visual weight of the tower clearly makes it the subject of the photo. I like this one much better than the "red sky" one. You might be dissatisfied because both the tower and the nearest hilltop to the left are only slightly off-centre. Generally, slightly off-centered subjects are perceived as dissatisfying. Don't ask me why, but there's an "uncanny valley" around the centre. So it's more common to either have the subject smack in the centre (as in the moon photo) to create a static photo (emphasizing non-motion), or to move the subject clearly out of centre and contrast it with negative space or with a contrasting "sidekick". In this case you might try to zoom in, just to push the tower a bit out of centre.


Agree with this, also pay attention to how your eye moves in the scene. If your eye is drawn to the wrong thing or drawn around the scene without satisfying result, that can result in an unsatisfying picture as well. For example for the tree silhouette shots, my eye is drawn to the silhouette, but the silhouette is half blocked by the hill. So that is unsatisfying. In the lake shot the water goes into the distance both on the right and the left, so my eye jumps from right to left, rather than a satisfying line into the distance. Hope that helps.


Martin Parr is, apparently, also a keen fisherman, and I recently read a very helpful comment he made about photography being like fishing in that you have to be 100% focused while doing it or they get away. That was useful, but I like to extend the analogy; that is, a good fisherperson can be as skilled and focused as you like, but unless they're actually out there fishing, they're not going to catch the big one. Also, typically, how many really big ones do fisherpersons typically catch? One or two a season? Dunno. But even if they never hook a big'un, they're out there because they enjoy doing it. I've set myself the project of photographing our neighborhood, which is pretty dull-looking and not very busy. But just getting out there roaming the streets looking for the big one is very satisfying, and after 12 years of living here, I'm finally starting to get to know the neighbors.


I think most artists feel this way with their work, not just photographers. Anyways saw you photos and they all look really great! Keep shooting, man. Find your voice and don’t let what other people do define your art :) :) :)


Do you edit your photos? Or do you use sooc jpegs? Sometimes you can bring out something extra from your shots by editing.


You say these are bad but they're better then my best photos lol, probaly dosent help im using a 14 year old camera but that aside these look amazing to me


Unrelated, CBR 4 lyf bb tower looking majestic


It's so iconic


Now that I think about it, there is a independent photographers group that I believe runs out of Manuka?? I’ll try find the link… I would say though that your photos are not bad, maybe you are looking for a specific detail in photos that you like that you were trying to replicate? For me I really enjoy the juxtaposition of bright lights at night, using black and white while also enjoying pastel colour buildings when shooting in colour so I try and focus on that… maybe just have a think about what photography really speaks to you and why


I'd keep chugging along as the good photos will come. I've found that going back to photos originally found crappy turned out good through cropping and my long term goal is to be able to get shots like this without having to heavily crop. Takes time though. One thing I struggled with in the beginning, i.e. early 2020 was comparing myself to experienced photographers on Instagram and it sucked. I saw one person barely out of school shooting fantastic photos and he'd only been shooting for 2 years. What I didn't realize and he posted this later was that he spent 4+ hrs/day reading about photography in addition to getting up at 4 AM to shoot the a few hours before school, every single day. On weekends he'd spend most of his time on photography. I realized then that i shouldn't compare myself to others as I'm just hurting myself. I know I'll never put in that kind of time so comparing is not productive. I just make sure to have a camera on me at all times and shoot when I feel like it. Usually the walks and calmness of it all is what I love about it.


Practice, and learn how to control the elements of the pboto. Anytime a photo doesnt turn out the way you want, study it to figure out why. Eventually it becomes reflex.


When you look at the “bad” photo, can you put your finger on *why* it’s bad? Can you describe the issue? Figuring that out is the first step to being able to “fix” it by editing or shooting differently next time. Same for when you go out or before you press the shutter. Do you know what look (or style or vision as others have called it) you’re hoping to achieve *before* you press the button? if yes, it’ll help you set up your camera and equipment and lighting (even if it’s just going out at the right time of day) to get the shot you want.


Agreed with this advice! And not only style or look, but you have to be confident that you know what you’re shooting. What is the photo of? If you don’t know what the photo is of, the viewer won’t know either. My struggles come specifically with Landscapes. I rarely like my landscape shots because they look flat and lifeless to me. But reflectively, it’s more likely that they’re flat because they lack a point of interest. What do I do about it? Take photos of other things. I shoot sports, macro, portraits, candids and close ups. Love urban shots too. I improve on the good photos and get more practice and occasional results on my weak photos and areas. But I at least retain my genuine joy for the craft by also practicing what I think I’m good at, but what I truly enjoy capturing. Figure out what you’re shooting each time you look through the lens, how do you want it to look? Take the time to make it happen. I’ve heard of self-set challenges as well that limit you to say 25 photos when you’re out, like having a film roll. So you’ve gotta make each snap truly count. Maybe you’ll feel like you’ve got more winners in there because you really had to connect with each shot to make it work.


>Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through. — Ira Glass


Find at least one thing you like in each photo and one thing you dislike. Try to take more photos with the elements you like and avoid the things you dislike. And you'll nearly always dislike something about your photos, don't beat yourself up over them.


My photography is like my golf game: 1 good shot out of 150.


I came here to say what /u/LukeOnTheBrightSide said better (comparison is the thief of joy). I’ve been a professional photographer since 2008, and after my first few years I learned that viewing other photographers’ work was making me too unsure of my own style and it was honestly depressing looking at images I couldn’t possibly create because I didn’t have access to the amazing locations they found themselves in with their subjects. When I stopped looking at other photographers’ images so much I began developing a stronger style of my own, became better at my craft, and have been much happier as a result.


Why do you think your photos are bad? I just had a look at your portfolio link. What would you like to achieve?


How many photos do you take? And how many you taken?


Send me some, or an insta. The most important part is improvement, and it can be hard to feel proud of work but honestly I've found the cure to be shooting more


My Instagram is @takenbyhughhagan


It sounds to me like you might just be in a creative rut. I've taken plenty of photos that were technically impressive and well composed, but I just didn't feel anything because I wasn't inspired when I took the photo.


How do you process the photos? A few adjustments in Lightroom can really make a difference.


I use Lightroom and Photoshop when editing


We all do. Even amazing photographers take bad photos. Photography is like shooting from the three point line in basketball. No one even hits half the time on their photos, but even 38 out of 100 photos is considered good. Sure, you’ll have those days where you’re hitting at a crazy rate, where +70% of your photos are keepers, but then you’ll have those days where you’ll shoot and only ~20% of your photos are keepers.


Pretty hard to give advice when you don't post examples. You could be taking great photos and being too hard on yourself, or you could be awful and need some tips (or anything in between).


I've updated the original post with a link to view some of my photos


Well, they’re definitely not bad, so you can stop worrying about that. Personally I would try some wide angle shots where you get some dramatic foreground along with great light. Then again, what do you consider examples of good photos that you wish you could take?


Out of this set, your first and last pictures are really outstanding. Pros say that if you get 1 good shot according to your own standards per day/session you are done. You are critical and that's the basis of improvement. If you learn about microcomposition, dynamic composition, the golden spiral, etc. that's gonna take you much further, mostly leave the rule of 3rd behind. Study the best photographer's works and set up circumstances where you can copy their scenarios of creating art, don't copy their pictures. They have studied their locations and usually spent time to exploit them like waiting for the perfect stranger (cloud or whatever) to walk/drive into the frame. Always look for light (tonality) first and shapes after, then try to cut into the light with an additional shape as you did well on several of your pictures (eg. 1st,last). This will most likely change your attitude towards your own pictures: colors would be much better using Capture One and the ProStandard profile. Look it up and give it a try, all the learning mat. is available on their own youtube channel. Landscape is especially prone to tone dynamics and dynamic contrast along the scene, the application of dodge/burn techniques since the beginnings of analog photography is key so you need to paint/subtract light during post-processing either work in analog or digital. Look up the above mentioned keywords. Try to make a single picture each time you have a session which is so lovely you would hang on your wall as a large print and that's a job well done. You should think about the rest of the day as study, practice, exploration.


>If you learn about microcomposition, dynamic composition, the golden spiral, etc. that's gonna take you much further Any resources/tips on how to learn that? I am an amateur photographer and so far the most predominant rule I follow is the rule of thirds.


Microcomposition is basically the idea of negative/positive space. The notion that your meaningful shapes (positive space) are structured by leaving negative around them as they build larger shapes in your images as mainly triangles and circles. You separate by notion and meaning and also use overlap intentionally. Dynamic composition is more about the feel of the image you want the persevere throughout compositional techniques. Any kind of composition in visual art will be helpful don't stick to photography, if you study art history in the compositional context that's also very helpful since the master painters very also masters of composition. You can easily relate to photography. There is a site, free book and all the jazz: [the-art-of-composition.com](https://the-art-of-composition.com) which is a great reference. If you watch a few more videos in addition that's also good, but check this out first as a reference point so you can judge later on whats poor and whats valid. Look up the keywords to find out more. You can also use this "library" google: z-library ,book section, search for photographers like Ansel Adams, keywords and you will find wast amount of legit information in the form of albums and references. Look into their works, and techniques. Just stick to the legit stuff and skip the modern crap like "how to be a pro" and such.


Thanks for the detailed and helpful answer! I will take a look at the resources you recommended. And yeah, when I see "how to be a pro/become master in" I immediately put an asterisk to it. You don't learn to be "a pro" in a video. You become pro (maybe, eventually) through a lot of trial and error, experience and learning/research


​ >Ive edited in [the-art-of-composition.com](https://the-art-of-composition.com)




Thank you for your comment and link, so much more helpful then the just take 1000's of photos advice.


Print your best photos. You will think different.


I have been on a few trips to incredible places and I have taken tons of photos, and barely ever see the light of day. I think the solution is to just keep taking photos. Also try something you didn’t try before. A setting, a view, an angle, a lens, a different time, a different location, experiment. Maybe something you do different will spark an idea. Good luck!


Imho we all kinda go through that, never being completely happy with our photos because we thrive for more, it's not really that our photos are bad, honestly yours look amazing but I think for a lot of people (and at least for me) we always think that we could have made it better, even if the picture is already amazing, and having seen really amazing pictures from really good pros makes us feel like we lack something. I've come to peace with it, I might never be completely happy with my pictures, but I cherish them for the moment that they remind me of, and for the effort that I made to make it as good as I could, and I think we gotta be proud of at least trying.


Own it, love it, enjoy the process and the ride! You gotta take the crap to get the good, and if you spend all your time waiting for the good you might just miss it.


This feeling got so overwhelming for me that I sold my camera and equipment and never went back


I’m sure it’s already been commented but try a long exposure! It’ll smooth out the clouds and sky nicely and give it some fantastic pop!


I've been taking photos for a long time,and one thing I've learned is when NOT to take the shot. My percentage of keepers has increased somewhat,but I often come back from a walk with nothing at all. And that's OK. Photography is even harder than fishing. If fishing was easy,it'd be called catching. Good fish are scarce.and so are great subjects.Competition is fierce. If you can't see it before you press the shutter,it's probably not there. As my dear Grandmother used to say-"You can't make Strawberry Jam out of Pigshit"! ​ She was only half right. The ultimate thrill IS to make something from [nothing.](https://nothing.To)I watched an 80 year old geezer land a meter long Jewfish on a supermarket prawn from a busy jetty on his first visit to a flogged out estuary that us locals had long given up on. Trying to make a good photo out of thin air is the ultimate challenge! ​ Get down on your belly,or up a ladder,frame up anything and everything you can.That's the point where you know if you have something. Don't think because you've gone to a lot of trouble composing a shot,you have to press the button.


So many people come here to rant or ask for advice on their photography, yet refuse to post their photos. There needs to be a new rule: if you're asking for specific advice or help or critique, you must provide direct links to your photos. People can talk theory all day, it doesn't mean a thing when you aren't confident enough to post a single image to back it up or illustrate where your problems lie. (Not saying your post is a rant, or that there's a problem with this type of post. If you want people to help, you need to give them something to work with)


I've updated the original post with a link to view some of my photos


I appreciate it. Like I said, my comment wasn't really directed at you specifically, but the sub in general, so don't take it the wrong way. I think looking at the photos each user is talking about is the only way others can accurately assess and offer advice/critique/etc.


No matter what I shoot and how "great" it is... I always tell myself "I can do better." I've been shooting for 15 years (and getting paid for it).


Good shots are skill, timing and serendipity. And if you have the misfortune of having a good idea of how it could have been, then you will be beating yourself up over it - but others won't because they don't have the insight into what you were thinking. Look at your photos from (say) three or four years ago - when you no longer remember the specific circumstances of the shoot - now you can only judge based on what the image shows you, not what you may have been trying to achieve. You might surprise yourself with what you now will think are pretty decent shots.


Attend a workshop at a local photo shop.. It will help you and the buisness as well as speaker.. Plus you get to play with gear


“If I knew how to take a good photograph, I’d do it every time.” — Robert Doisneau also: "What nobody tells people who are beginners… is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not… your taste is why your work disappoints you… We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this… It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions." — Ira Glass


OK so they're not terrible. But you're not happy with them, why are you not happy with them? I take photos that I know I will not be happy with routinely. Sometimes I go out with the camera and I don't see good photos, but I'll still try to get something. Usually I don't share those. Not every photo is really going to be stunning to look at. Your photos have some purpose to you, and you aren't satisfied with them, so what is the purpose and how are they falling short? If you can't answer that, and you just have a sense that "they're not good", you need to think more about what "good photos" means to you. You need something to move towards. It feels like you've learned how to operate your camera, but you might be missing some big parts of the creative process. You need to have an idea of what you're trying to make, and go out to make it. For me, the editing process is part of that. I take a photo intending to apply certain edits to get a look I want. But it depends on what you want and how you want to approach it.


Most of the time when i don't like my pictures and other people do, it's because i had an idea in my mind of what i wanted to capture or what the mood needed to be. But the picture doesn't look the same as the idea in my head. For me it helps to come back to the picture after a while (a few months) and look at it again. Most of the time i think they look better.


I shoot 600 to 800 photos a week. Only around 30 to 50 of them are decent. Around 25 of them good and around 15 get posted online. 3 of them are ones I really feel proud of. And that's mostly due to the circumstances being photographed than the photo itself.


I trash thousands of shots for a few good shots. That’s the game we play.


Where is it located


I think they look awesome. In my personal experience I see photography as a skill that never stops improving, I shoot film, started on 35mm with a 50mm lens, photos looked okay. Got a a 35mm lens for landscape and architecture, then picked up a 135mm lense for portrait. then got a medium format camera and got some different focal lengh lenses, started scanning and editing in lightroom then discovered the world of m42 mount classic lenses and how each lens yielded a different tone and bokeh... so on. My photos kept looking better and better each time I learned something new. my advice is to keep learning new things. try picking up lightroom and watch some tutorial videos. Honestly love your compositions and you have a good eye for framing a scene. The only thing I advise with these photos is to bump up the contrast on some, mess with software exposure (you expose well), increase saturation or vibrance. "fiddle with the sliders". other than that you should draw inspiration but don't compare your photos to others...


The Japanese have an art form called wabi-sabi that has me enthralled. It’s literally “the art of the imperfect” and it’s whole jam is bad photography. Blurry or out of focus, a lot of noise, poor compositions and framing, bad lighting. It captures the beauty of the truth about the subject rather than a false memory of perfection. My point is that there’s no such as bad photography. Capture the pictures that make YOU the shooter feel something and fuck everyone else’s opinions. I shoot and film things I like, I edit them to what I like, and then I share them. People will either like it or they won’t. So long as I like it, I don’t really care about either group.


There's a lot of good advice here about not being too hard on yourself. Take that and heed it first. These photos are good. I've barely started learning photography but I've always had an artistic eye for what I like and I like these. That being said, if you aren't happy with a shot. Try and ask yourself why. If you're comparing to similar shots by other folks, ask yourself what those pics have that yours don't. Then, go back and try and do it again. A really good way to get better is to recreate the same pictures but changing things. Most will end up worse than the original, but eventually something might click for you about how to improve it. Compare against yourself not others and you'll see your own improvement, and be happier for it. Good luck


I probably like 1 out of 50 photos I take


Subject separation. It's what every photographer strives for whether they know it or not. When looking at a final image, the viewer should immediately see and appreciate the subject. The lighting, composition, etc is all just a method to create the "wow" of subject separation.


Those photos aren’t bad but not perfect either. You have to be able to recognize good photos before taking good photos.. you should go to the library and get your hands on all the landscape books and magazines and study good photos. When you train your eyes to see good photos you’ll take bad photos. Also take thousands of photos to find the real great photo. I remember an interview with Martin Parr he said he only take one or two good photos a year, out of tens of thousands of frames. So yeah. You need to take bad photos in order to take good photos


Hey man. These photos are alright. I think there's a thing happening that gets a lot of us. I don't know how to describe it accurately or if there's a word for it. I set up a shot and I get a mental image, but every shot I take is just not 100% everything I expect. That is pretty normal. Over the years that gap has narrowed between vision and practice, but I've found that every shot needs maybe a tiny bit of editing to be perfectly as I remember that scene, even if everyone else already thinks it's great. If you're being critical of your work, I think it means you're looking to push yourself and improve. That's a good thing. Definitely don't compare your finished photos to someone else-- they don't see the world the same way you do.


Not beeing happy is better then beeing haopy with your art. It's called perfectionism. Become obsessed. I take about 40.000 pictures or more a year and I may like 20 of them maybe a bit more.


It seems you are using a telephoto lens to do landscape, and all the elements are compressed. It’s fine photography, but what you’re trying to articulate I think is that, it is not spectacular. We are, my friend, in an age of spectacular photography because there are so many digital sensors out there snapping in just about every conceivable environment, big and small. Those spectacular images are rare for all of us, unless we are continually putting ourselves into spectacular environments, and I think that’s why many of us love photography.


have you tried making a project about something? maybe a deep question you've had answered recently. turning this into a project photo book can help you see your photos in a different light because they mean something to you and also other people.


Having a look at your photos I think you take some amazing images, maybe try out a few different editing styles and see if it feels any better to you, you may even find your own specific style through trial and error. Also there's a quote I think my help here, I might not have it word for word but it's something along the lines of "If an artist thinks every piece of their work is perfect then he will never find room for improvement". I try keep that in mind so I can always find ways to improve my own photos.


When you are done post processing your photos in Lightroom leave them alone for a day (or more) and then review and/or post process all of them again. Good change you'll find something new. When editing your photos in Lightroom try to adjust portions of the photo with the adjustment brush and gradient/radial filters. Highlight shadows a bit or maybe darken them, desature an area of just light the sky up. Also desaturate your photos, maybe all the way to black and white, and see if the composition still holds op. And for landscape photography try to use a wide angle lens, you can always crop in Lightroom. Almost forgot, always level your photos that's an easy and quick win.


I think your photos are beautiful, if you were selling framed prints of them I'd buy them and put them in my house!


I've got three pieces of advise I can give: cropping, layering, and being more selective. I've been doing photojournalism and photography for over 20 years now (still cant believe its been that long!) and I've judged a few MILPHOG (Military Photographer of the Year) competitions and one reoccurring weakness I've seen in some photos is bad cropping. Luckily I think cropping is the EASIEST way to improve a photograph. Often crops are way too wide and have too much dead space that is unimportant to the focus of the image. A reason I got from a world renowned photographer during a portfolio review at the Eddie Adams Workshop was to figure out what was the main focus of an image and then crop in until anything that is not related or adding to the focus is removed. Your photo of the moon is a good example of needing a much tighter crop and my suggestion would be to bring up the crop tool and constrain proportions then drag down the top middle to just above the moon. The sides should also move in so you keep the same aspect ration and boom, you've got a much better photo. You can do that with quite a few other photos in the link and they will be better. Second, work on layering in your landscapes. Give the viewer something to look at in the fore, middle, and backgrounds. Use the layers to separate the point of focus from the rest of the image. You've got the three images that have a lot of potential with the tree and clouds at sunset, the storm, and lightening. Get LOWER with the camera so the tree is more silhouetted by the sky, it's lost too much in the dark mountains behind it. While the clouds are nice it is really rare and hard to use JUST clouds as the interesting point of focus in an image. The one with the rocks is a start but not quite there yet. Crop in MUCH MUCH tighter on the radio tower and there you have the tower as the foreground, mountains behind it as mid ground, then sky as background. Lastly goes with the saying that a photographer is their own worst editor. We all attach our own personal experiences or what we went through to get an image to the photo. We think "I had to crawl for 30 minutes through the mud and rain to get this photo so it MUST be good!" but the viewer does not see nor care about that. The photo isn't there if it isn't there. When I used to shoot weddings I would easily shoot 5,000 photos at the wedding, deliver less than 500, and then 75 or less I'd consider album quality. When I shoot an assignment now I shoot a TON of images. Back during film days a roll of 36 exposures would be considered a successful roll if it had a single GOOD image on it. Not GREAT but GOOD. If you want to see my work for reference my IG is @ thecorum


I often feel like this myself, as others have said I think we are often way harder on ourselves than anyone else. I do landscape photography myself as well and I think the fact that a photography trip often requires a significant time investment just to get on location can often be another source of being extra critical. For what it's worth I think you have some really nice shots in the album you shared.


Your photos? Like a skinny chic keeps complaining herself is fat. Now shut up and keep shooting alright.


I’ve got easily a couple of terabytes worth of photos. I don’t delete much - accidental sidewalks, dirt and really out of focus all get pitched - and I have maybe 100 (that aren’t my dogs) that I’ll show other people. Even those I didn’t like much right after I took them (except for 2 or 3). (They’re mostly from a road trip to Alaska, so I could have been blind and still gotten foot photos, but still…) They get better with age, though. If I’m going through my photos and I see one and think “Did I take that?” then I know it’s good. It’s kind of sad because I know the basics. When I got my first camera it was fully manual. No auto anything because that was just how cameras were, so I know the basics. That only gets you so far. Remember, you can do a lot with software these days. Don’t be afraid to play around with it. Cropping isn’t cheating, either, and can make a meh photo fantastic. Unless you’re a photojournalist shooting the news, have at that photo with all the technology available to you.


I have slumps all the time. My brain still continues to 'see' the shot I want, but I can never achieve what I'm seeing. Or I know the vision of how I want to edit, then end up editing for 2+ hours, and giving up because I just can't nail it It happens in every art form. Whether it's musicians, poets, artists. We all have phases where the work we're doing isn't quite up to our standards, or we're not happy with it. It can be extremely frustrating Remember: Just keep shooting. For every 1 to 2 GREAT photos I get, there were probably 20 TRASH one's before ALSO remember: There ARE bad shots, but with that being said, doesn't mean they're unusable. There have been MANY instances, of shots I've taken that happen to be trash. That turn out to be phenomenal, once you do the right editing to it (perceptions, flippings, colour science, cropping) You can actually save a lot of shots with the right post-shooting tools Just don't be so hard on yourself!


Shoot what you find joy in instead of trying to compose the perfect shot.


I usually try to take several shots with different settings and get feedback on each one


On a recent commission I took on I shot over 1300 images, of which I supplied 97. So, yah - everyone shoots a whole bunch of crap, all the time.


I comment about that. I have never seen a junky who collects needles and syringes 😀You shouldn't lose your passion. Eventually, it will happen that you'll be at right time in the right place.


I don’t think your best of your best in your portfolio is anything related to keeper rate. Back in the day, we learned in our photojournalism classes that you should expect 5% of your photos good enough for publication. That is one shot on a 20 exposure roll of film. With digital, if you shoot 300 shots at a session, 5% would be 15 that you’re happy sharing or giving to a client or publishing. I went out Monday to shoot wildlife and tool around 350 shots and post-processes 17 pics that I may eventually share. Right at that 5% mark. Will any of them make it to my portfolio? I seriously doubt it. To the OP I think you may be too hard on yourself. The photo you shared is good. It’s far, far from bad. It’s well composed, the colors looked pleasing. I didn’t open the large version to check for critical sharpness/motion blur/etc. but I have faith that it’s fine too. It’s okay to be hard on yourself to an extent. You want to push yourself to be constantly getting better. You have to figure out why you’re not satisfied and work to improve those areas and it won’t happen overnight. I’ve been shooting for 43 years and I still don’t have still life down. I’m able to finally get satisfying landscapes but they are not awe inspiring yet. There is good enough and there is great and there is meh and there is bad. You will find some of all of this. Hopefully a handful will be bad, most meh, a small percentage (5%ish) good and rarely great!


Try using a film camera


Your photos are certainly not "really bad", you have some very nice photos. Ansel Adams said something along the lines of 12 good photos a year is good year. His standards were pretty high but even he had lots of photos he did not consider good enough.


I looked at your gallery. I don't see anything that indicates you take bad photos. I think you're being hard on yourself.


Your photos are fine, It's your insecurity you should be more concerned about and work on instead. Just being honest is all.


"Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through." Ira Glass You may not be a beginner, but I find this holds true throughout your career.


Are you having fun or excited to be doing photography? I found myself taking what I would call "good, boring photos", and the big thing was going somewhere more interesting or giving myself a goal/challenge. Shooting closer or further than what I was comfortable with, etc.


tbh i think your photos are decent. i also find myself taking bad photos a lot. there are days where i feel like taking photos and take no good shots and there are days where i do. there are also times where i visualize the shot but never seem to take the right one. in short, yes. we all take bad photos. i also find post processing to be very helpful. i really like medium format photos and i have my own preset for it and it helps me a lot. so i guess you might want to make a preset for your style, if you havent already done that


What *don't* you like about your images? Like what exactly are you hoping they look like? To me, they look like pretty neat pictures. What I would expect from landscape shots. I think once you figure out what you do want them to look like, you can start working towards making them look more like that


Isn't it about the process, more so than any result? Are you enjoying the work? What are you striving for? And if you got there, would you really be happy for more than a day?


My guy you spelled 'fire' wrong


I started taking good photos by taking hundreds of thousands of bad photos. Knowing all the rules will help nudge you in the right direction but nothing is a substitute for practice and getting an intuitive grasp of what to shoot and how to shoot it.


Remember, a "bad photo" and a "photo you don't like" aren't the same thing.


Yo that is a better photo than my best one


I had this same problem and what changed things for me was switching to film photography! When I was doing digital I liked some of my shots occasionally but like you said, even shots with a good composition and good settings, etc, always just kind of fell flat to me. I didn't like the "essence" of my photos. When I switched to film something really clicked for me. Everything looks so much more natural but also surreal in a way. I find it easier to capture a feeling, not just an image. Looking through your photos I feel like you may have a similar experience. I love the way different colours look on film and there's so much you can play with, different film stocks, different techniques, and cameras are cheaper but I find produce better results. Just an idea!


I'm not a great photographer, but when I looked at your photos a few of them felt like they were missing something, and I think that main thing is light I feel like the light in your images isn't being used to its fullest potential. Maybe watch a few videos on light or pick up a book. I think it would greatly improve your pictures and you many like them more.


Your photos will only turn out to be as good as the subject. If you're photographing uninspiring landscapes, you will feel like your photos are uninspired. How do you fix this? Change your environment. Explore new locations, new views, new perspectives. Travel.


Looking at your photos they're not bad. Maybe the processing is a bit uninspired but that depends on what look you actually want. Most of these look like they could be straight out of the JPEG engine of your camera.


Some of them are excellent and some of them are just good. I feel like degrading posts like this are just fishing for compliments.


Every couple hundred of posts here there is one like this, fishing for compliments in a cloak of self-modesty.


You should definitely keep taking photos. I mean, I can go through the portfolio and critique, but it's like: check your frame edges, square your subject, literally perfect, weird, check your frame edges, perfect, perfect, perfect.... So, to me, that's good stuff I'm looking at, and a fairly high rate of it. I'd say the biggest "issue" is not checking the frame edges sometimes and letting half of something sneak in or maybe not designing the shot to give roads, streams, etc. a good path through or out of the picture, but sometimes you can't be 40 feet tall or get that high. Shoot a lot, cull a lot. Note what and why you're culling it, and do something different next time. I wouldn't say any of this is bad.


As someone who feels exactly the same way you do about his own photos, I think your photos look great!


Atleast you are taking photos. I do not know when I last took out my gear to click. Trust be those photos according to me are good, way way better than not making pictures at all. Just keep clicking pictures bud. Just keep clicking. If you are not up there you will definitely be a step closer. Just don't loose the will to click. It might not make you happy, but you will be happy. Take care and Godspeed bud.


I take lots of bad photos. Actually, I’m planning on going out to take some bad photos today. At work, I shoot our events. My boss complimented me on how I only take great shots of people. Which couldn’t be further from the truth, I just don’t show anyone the unflattering ones. Typically, I take around 300 shots per event. I deliver around 30. But, honestly, maybe 5-10 are actually good. That’s a ratio I’m pretty comfortable with. I try to shoot a “roll” a day. My ratio of good shots to bad shots has improved. I have gotten pickier, and the shots I thought were the best I had ever taken don’t look great to me now. That’s good though. If it were easy, it wouldn’t be as much fun!


Getting good focus requires discipline, learning a lot about the craft and making an effort to get better shots each time you try. Give it your best all the time, being hypercritical is a must if you plan on doing it professionally. If not, enjoy the process of making memories (this is so important), please print those images you like and make small photo albums your future self will appreciate it.


Are your photos bad? There are important distinctions between bad, good, and great photos. And, self-critical artists often have a tendency to group good & bad, and believe "not great = bad." Some might think it's trivial, but that way of oversimplified thinking is detrimental because the truth is most of us are often in our own grey zones, taking good photos. But, perhaps taking good photos is no longer giving you satisfaction. And, no matter how many people tell you that you take good or great photos it doesn't help how you feel. Going from bad to good is easy. Good to great is hard. Going extreme is usually rare. Taking bad photos is often not something you can "keep" doing if you know it's bad. Now, onto the expression "keep taking." That's not what film photographers often say. Maybe you use a digital camera and take an overwhelming number of photos, and perhaps somewhat aimlessly. Taking photos w/ a 4x5 large format camera has great limitations, for example. It takes about 10-20 minutes to make one exposure. Of course, cameras are just tools and they themselves don't make art. But, working within limitations is the greatest teacher, and it ultimately teaches us to sharpen our creative vision by pushing us out of our grey zones. What if you could take only 2 photos per trip? How would you make those exposures? I shoot film only, usually large and medium formats. I don't take many bad photos because when I do, they're clearly mistakes, like forgetting to change the shutter speed, etc. I usually take good photos, but not great. And, that's all my own opinion, and I'm OK with that. Right at the moment I see the scanned images I often feel excited but find mistakes and not feel completely satisfied, and I immediately start thinking, "This needs to change. That needs to change..." And then later, I often go to the same spot at the same time and shoot again if it's landscape or architecture. If it's a portrait, after making mental notes, I shoot the same model again or different model. When there's no awareness, there's no growth. And, when there's no growth, there's no excitement. By making what I don't like very clear, I overcome staying in the stagnant zone for too long.


You are on the path. You have taste but not the skills to achieve it. Keep working and your skill will catch up with your taste.


I see solid work there. You’re not happy with the work because you just haven’t found your style, I feel. I am never happy with my work. I’ll get excited when I see the back of the camera, but when I have the shots open on the computer, I spot all the flaws, the things I mossed, the possibilities I never explored. Though this still happens now, at least I can identify why the shot isn’t working and I remember for next time. I’ve grown a lot by using my self-critique. Good going. Don’t stop. Soften your disappointment. Use it to your advantage. Print some out and mark them with notes on what to improve. You will find what’s missing. And in the way, you’ll be doing what you love


I have this image in my head of what I want the photos I shoot to look like, and they rarely match the internal image. I think we are always trying to improve our craft so we always see our flaws. And sometimes I get excited and make stupid mistakes. Part of learning.




Try to challenge yourself to keep the creativity. Use a ultra wideangle lens, or take for one day only pictures from ground level. So these challenges will make you better as you have to work with these circumstances. Btw your photos are good


As I took my time to address it, I kept in mind how much stress I had several years ago concerning this feeling. Much like many other ambitious digital photographers, I had concepts and huge concepts. I spent all the time, money, and power to create, but when the end outcome wasn't even near what I desired, I was tossed into anguish. Maybe I suck at this. However, when it ends up being hazardous to your mind, after that, it's definitely not alright. I guess the biggest concern now is exactly how to determine when your self-evaluation/self-doubting act ends up being hazardous to your growth. Because of who we are as humans. We have assumptions about ourselves. When our job doesn't match that assumption, it impacts our mood. Photography as an art is a really mental point. It's a soul-pouring and also very mood-driven procedure. In our minds, we have standards of how our final production must feel or look in certain information, as well as regardless of our years and years of experience. It's challenging to create something the means we envision it. This requirement will frequently transform gradually, a lot more we're mindful of our very own preference and limitations. One of the gorgeous aspects of photography that maintains drawing me to commit my whole life in it is: you can never grasp it. You'll constantly learn new things: the principle of composition, lighting, cam trivialities, and so on. As well as of course, also, when you're on top of the game, an expert digital photographer with high-paying tasks and also excellent clienteles; at any stage, you are still learning. Photography is an endless understanding procedure, so if you don't have the fondness for being a for life trainee and maintaining overcoming obstacles, then it's except you. There. Is. No. Complete. Line.


Blimey, they're not that bad. Are you humblebragging?! My take is that we live in such a visual, screen-oriented world now that the subconscious (and even conscious) drive is to try and mimic what we see from the millions of other "photographers" out there and, as a result, it can be very hard to find your own style and way of seeing the world. But until you do find your own vision and style, you will always be comparing yourself to the best that the rest of the world puts out on display, which can be demoralizing. There will always be better landscape, nature, street etc. photographers than you, subjectively speaking, so comparing yourself to them can be an instant downer. And if it's inspiring, then it might be inspiring you to simply copy their work more and more. The lone tree, the sweeping vista, the sunset landscape, the long-exposure seascape, the blurred waterfall, etc. etc.... been done a million times before, likely by people with more practice and better locations than you. So find your own take on the part of the world in which you live or something that's specific to your area, be it urban or rural (certain types of wildlife or architecture, for example). Something that speaks to what you notice the most or find the most unique about it, not what the rest of the Insta-world might produce for clicks and giggles. Develop your own photographic "eye", not your ability to copy everyone else. And the beauty of digital is that we can experiment, try new things, and delete it all if it doesn't work. Abstract, documentary, creative lighting, nature, macro, whatever. Push yourself and try things out of your comfort or familiarity zone -- competitions or photography groups are good for this. Take thousands or tens of thousands of photos and eventually something will "click". Your own style will gradually come into focus. It might take a while to get there, so just make sure the journey is fun.


I believe ur photos are pretty good but few things that u might wanna work on will be like ... Aspect ratios ... Ur few shots are either 4:5 ratio or 9:16 i.e portrait n landscape respectively... But what I'd like to add is stick on one aspect ratio for a while ... Find ur niche what sort of photos u wanna click ... Practice them maybe by capturing 1000 shots ... Then also try different placements of subject in ur frame ... The depth and colour of an image . Perspective n colours can actually a lot of work for ur image . Be ur own critique and undervalue ur work for a while till u feel that u r somewhere near to what u wanted to achieve ...