A photographer needs three things to make a successful photograph, and each one is equally important: Composition, equipment, and editing.
1. Composition knowledge – In today’s world with Pinterest and constant ideas flowing in from multiple places it is easy to think “I want to try that!” Afterwards, people might wonder why their image didn’t turn out quite right, and it is usually due to poor composition. Although it is not a technical skill, knowing how to crop your photos and other aspects like the rule of thirds have more of an impact than many people may think.
2. The right equipment (and technical knowledge) – I know many people who have great ideas and compositions in their photos, but can’t quite get them to the next level without proper knowledge of their camera. A camera in manual mode is a great tool, but if you don’t know how to make it do what you have in mind, then you will most likely be fighting against it. Other people may have knowledge of their device and composition, but don’t have the correct equipment (lenses, camera bodies, etc..) which makes it hard to get the effect and sharpness that you want. I noticed that my images took on a whole new dimension of detail and clarity when I began shooting with pro lenses, which only makes photos better if you have the knowledge of how to use them.
3. Editing ability and software – Photos that come straight off your camera are like a canvas painted with a basic outline and structure, and the edited file after post-processing is like the finished and detailed painting. The original may look stunning, but the editing process always takes images from “good” to “great.” I don’t do drastic edits, but I have paired some captured and finished versions of my images to show how very minimal edits make a world of difference.
This photo was lacking some color due to the sun shining in my lens, but by adding more contrast (in a few ways) brings this image to the crisp and colorful image I wanted.
This image of my mother is a great example of how color temperature makes a world of difference. It is always better to shoot warm, but luckily this image was recoverable.
On overcast days there is only so much warmth you can add in-camera before things begin to look yellow. Starting warm and adding more afterwards makes the image feel more inviting and avoids any overly yellow issues. The final image is accomplished once a golden tint is acquired.
Similar to the first example, the original was hazy and lacking in contrast, but an easy fix makes it look sharp and contrasty once again.