It would be nice if there were a camera setting or function in editing software that instantly transformed your images into more sophisticated photographs. Unfortunately, no such setting or function exists, so creating sophisticated, tasteful and elegant images is something you must learn with practice. The idea of elegance is highly subjective and depends on the style of photography, but is more suited to interior design photography rather than serious documentary work. If you want to raise the level of sophistication in your photography, you need to avoid certain practices while perfecting others.
Avoid the postcard look
It’s common to see oversaturation in images where color is highly important, such as photographs of the beach, sunsets or sunrises. Although the color is a strong player, increasing it too much in editing gives the image a cheesy, postcard appearance that is far from sophisticated. Instead of ramping saturation way up, adjust the luminance and saturate in increments and remember that less is more in editing. When you’re shooting, look for compositions with colors that either match or clash for a unique effect. Research the role of colors on mood and intensity to help create a tasteful image.
Bring your style to popular subject matter
An unsophisticated photographer may copy shots that everyone else has taken and think they’ve done a good job. While taking another photograph of a popular landmark like the Brooklyn Bridge or the archway in Washington Square Park Arch is acceptable, you need to bring your style to the image so that it stands out from everyone else’s. Try shooting on a cloudy day, in the snow, from a new angle, or near sunset or sunrise to capture unique lighting, surroundings, and colors.
Pay attention to composition
When you’re out shooting, remain aware of everything in your image, including all parts of the foreground and background that may prove to distract and ruin the “classiness” of your photographs. Editing software gives you the power to improve less than ideal composition, so don’t be afraid to use it. There are times when you need to break the rules too because if you shoot everything applying the rule of thirds, your images can appear boring and lacking in creativity.
Don’t overuse presets in editing
Presets and Actions in Photoshop and Lightroom can be a useful tool, but don’t rely on them to improve your image. Some of the presets and actions aren’t high enough quality to create classy, sophisticated images so adjust the color and exposure settings on your own until you’ve achieved a truly tasteful version of your photograph.
An essential part of any sophisticated image is high-quality printing, mounting and framing from Baboo Digital.
Featured image by m01229