21 Essential Tips to Improve Your Photos and Make Them Interesting

You take pictures. You may want to show them on social networks, in festivals, exhibitions, and submit them to contests. But they are not often selected. Yet you feel that they are good. I know your problem.

In this article, I will share 21 essential tips to help you succeed in creating photos that will hold the attention of your audience.

Take a few minutes of your time to change your photographic approach.

A wildlife photograph of a northen lapwing chick in La Dombes in France. The photograph has been taken in backlight. Photograph in black and white.
A wildlife photograph of a northen lapwing chick in La Dombes in France. The photograph has been taken in backlight.

Creating Interesting Photos Is Difficult

If you are having trouble taking and creating photos that are interesting and captivate others, I do not think you are alone in this struggle.

It is difficult for all photographers. Every photo project must be recognized whether by an amateur photographer or a professional photographer. This is difficult. The difficulties are multiple. They can concern the photographic approach, the technique, the choice of the ground, the development, the marketing, etc. Each stage in the life of a photo is subject to countless obstacles.

If creating a photo was so easy, then we would not spend so much time reading magazines, technical books, art books. We would not ask ourselves questions on forums or at festivals when we meet other photographers.

After all these years of professional nature photography, I am learning every day. I sometimes thought that I had reached the end of the road of photographic knowledge. Each time I began to think this way, I realized that it was a mistake.

A photographer, a photo, and a technique always awakened in me new questions without answers.

One thing is certain: I know a lot about photography.

And yet it is true that it is impossible to know everything. I certainly know more than other photographers. But I do not know much. If I had to face all the photographers in the world explaining their photographic activity to me, I would be a small grain of sand.

I often say that everything has been done, but everything remains to be done. Each of us is a small cog in a gigantic machine called humanity. Each of us is indispensable if we try to understand it, but we are heavily dependent on others. We are connected, even if at times we feel alone.

I finally understood and admitted that defining a photographic goal was a mistake. It is impossible. Even if you achieve a goal, what do you do next? You must define another goal for yourself.

I think it is much better to think about improving a little every day. Every bit of progress allows you to move towards excellence without ever reaching it. This is called the compound effect. Since I became aware of this way of being and progressing, I am no longer stressed. I concentrate only on my creations. I have reached great serenity.

In the rest of this article, I will share with you some simple, practical, and useful tips that I think are essential for making interesting photos.

This is a list that will grow with time and experiences.

But one thing is certain. By following these tips, the quality of your photos will improve. You will take interesting photos that make sense. They will catch the attention of your audience.


Tip #1: Define Your Photographic Why

Your photographic why is the reason you take pictures.

It is your compass. For each photo project, it guides you in your choices of shooting, in the development of your photos and in the way you will show them. To give you an example, my photographic why is the following: "The purpose of my photographic activity is to help other people to reconnect with nature". All my activity in art photography or workshops follows this principle.

If you do not define your photographic why, you will not have any rails to guide you. You will get lost in the meanderings of photographic creativity.

The photographic why defines the personal reasons why you practice photography.

It defines your mission and motivation of your photographic practice.


Tip #2: Know What You Want to Do With Your Photos

When you take pictures, you need to know what you are going to do with them; what they will be used for:

Your photos can be used for:

  • A photo contesto.
  • An exhibition in a festival.
  • A gallery or exhibition
  • Social media networks
  • A magazine.
  • A personal photo album.
  • A commercial photo book.
  • A website
  • etc.

There are many reasons. But the most important thing for you is to know what yours is. If you do not know what you are going to do with your flat raw images, then you will easily feel drowned in the later stages of processing. When you are in the field for shooting, you will take everything that comes your way. Sometimes you will miss the light, or the scene itself, or you may not capture an essential expression of your subject. In short, your photos will have no impact.

Once you have defined the purpose of your photos and their usefulness, you need to understand the rules that govern your project.

For example, if you are taking pictures for a contest, you need to know the criteria and who the jury is going to be. Look at the winning photos from previous years.

If you are taking pictures for an exhibition at a festival, you need to know what kind of pictures are wanted. You need to know the purpose of the festival.

Every time is different. A competition photo may not be suitable for a festival photo. A photo for a gallery is not a festival photo.

Be concerned about the purpose of your photos. They will be better recognized if they are shown to the right audience in the right setting.


Tip #3: Stand Out, Create Photos that Look Like You

If you want to create photos that are different from other photographers, then you just need to make photos that look like you.

You are a human being with unique qualities, emotions, and an irreplaceable personality. Each human being is different from his neighbor. If you manage to analyze yourself, understand yourself and take pictures that correspond to you, then your pictures will be quite different from others.

Will they be interesting? That is a good question. The answer is simple. They will be interesting if you are interesting. If you are boring, your photos will be boring. They will not interest many people. Maybe you yourself will not like them. It is up to you to change, to understand yourself better and become different.

Creating unique photos will allow you to stand out and be noticed in the photographic noise. By photographic noise, I mean all the photos that are published every day and have no interest. Yet they are there. They generate a huge hubbub, a totally inaudible background noise. The only way to be heard, to be noticed, is to create different photos: photos that look like us.


Tip #4: Be Altruistic and Empathetic

If you want your photos to be interesting and hold the attention of your audience or viewers, you need to understand what they want from you.

I am not implying that you should only create photos for others. Try to create photos that look like you, so that they are unique and interesting to those who will look at them.

You must be empathetic and altruistic. Photography is a means of expression that allows you to exchange and share. If this communication travels in only one direction, from you, the photographer, to an audience, then your message will not be deciphered, and it will not be understood.

Photography is an extraordinary means of communication that has two channels:

  • You send messages with your photos.
  • You receive answers with comments from viewers.

If you do not listen to your viewers or your audience, they will lose interest in you, your photos, and your mission.

I recommend you to be altruistic and empathetic when you show your photos. You will understand what others expect from you. Once you are in the field, you will think about it. You will compose, you will frame accordingly. Your photos will become really interesting.


Tip #5: Know What Kind of Photographer You Are

I often say during my photo workshops and conferences that to create interesting photos, you have to know and understand yourself.

Claim your free guide to make your photo impactful and meaningful

Claim Your Free Guide '50 Pages of Tips to Give Impact and Meaning to Your Photos'.

We need to know exactly what kind of photographer we are. What category or genre we fit into.

By knowing what kind of photographer we are, we can choose the right direction.

I published an article on this subject. Click on this link to read it.


Tip #6: Identify Your Favorite Kind of Photographs

I recommend that you identify what kind of photographs you like to take. I have published an article on the different classifications of photography genres. Click on this link to read it. Personally, I have established a classification in two genres:

  • Illustrative photography.
  • Artistic photography.

Illustrative photography is factual. It allows you to reinforce a magazine article or a photo book text. It illustrates a fact or a situation.

Artistic photography allows the photographer to express himself, to translate his emotions, to transmit messages, to show his feelings.

I recommend that you identify the genre that suits you. You will then learn the rules that govern it. Your photos will be even better.

Tip #7: Do Not Take Photos for Everyone

I Want to Help You to Create Interesting Photos