In October 2019 the KIC:KIC (Keep It Consistent, Keep It Creative) Principles were released to help individuals improve their photography. Following these simple guidelines would ensure a steady curve of improvement in people’s work, by having a plan laid out with tried and tested techniques to develop their photography in a productive way. Since then, KIC has had some great feedback, and people who have used it have seen nice improvements in their personal work, and helped those who wanted to sell to achieve this in a professional and unique way.
Thanks to some great feedback, these principles have now been tweaked to make them even better, while we have also incorporated a name change to simply KLIC [Learning to: Keep it Consistent/Creative]. The logo of which highlights the “L” as a “Learning” symbol you would see on a car for example. It’s not perfect, but it is better suited to the photography field.
Below is the updated KLIC Principles. If you use these as a foundation to your work, you will see improvement in many ways, you will feel better in yourself when you look back at your work, and if you’ve been trying to sell but failed, you will succeed.
Keep It Consistent:
Don’t consume more than you produce
A lot of people spend many hours, probably too many hours in front of YouTube, watching photographer after photographer doing their thing. While in practise this sounds ok, it really isn’t! Once you start consuming more video time than producing your own work, you’re taking time out of getting yourself into the mindset of being consistent and creative. Spend more time producing (taking photographs, experimenting with editing etc) and less time consuming. Think for yourself, experiment for yourself and just be yourself as much as possible.
Keep to a single focal length per project
When creating a project, or out for a days shoot, keep to the same focal lengths. A series of photos is much more pleasing to the eye with one or two focal lengths telling the story of the days shoot it project. It keeps the feeling of the photos consistent, part of a story that you are telling. You’ll see this all the time with professional photographers when they want to keep their work cohesive. Use prime lenses as often as you can if it helps, you’ll learn the benefits that these can bring, as you work the composition around the lens and get much better results with a bit of practise.
Keep to a limited number of colour pallet’s when editing (styles/LUTs/Presets)
When someone looks at your image, it’s great when they can pick out the work as yours. A lot of the time it will be because of subject matter, but most of the time it is to do with the colour and style of the photo. Something that should be drummed into you and your work at all times is use a style, be it an LUT or a preset. The difference between your work and someone who does photography for a living is they will use a set of LUTs or Presets and use them on every image to create a consistent look throughout their work. Working from scratch each time is unrealistic if you ever want to get anywhere with your work. Make your own preset, or use someone else’s and tweak it, but get used to the fact that without them, your work flow will be much harder.
Keep to your own angles etc (shooting high, low, waist etc)
A lot of people shoot all their photographs while standing up, with their camera held to their heads. If this is how you shoot, then look for interest in your subjects as so many people shoot this way. Don’t be afraid to get to the floor for every shot, or up high, or from low by your hip. Whichever way you decide, try and make the majority of your work from this position as there is nothing more disconcerting than images taken from all heights when telling a story. Keeping one or two images from a different height to highlight an important part to your story.
Keep to posting only your top five best images per post on social media.
This one is the simplest of the KLIC principles! When you want to highlight your work only post a maximum of four or five carefully chosen images each time you post to social media! People don’t always enjoy piling through dozens of shots, it’s far easier to admire and love a small amount of well chosen shots. It is also easier to tell a story with your selected shots! If you can get away with it, just post one image now an again and your work will be appreciated by people much more than you think!
Just because everyone else is shooting landscapes, birds or portraits, don’t follow them because you have to! Try
and do something different, look around and photograph something you actually enjoy taking. That’s probably the thing you will enjoy shooting most, the things you enjoy! If you are entering competitions or selling your work, make that extra effort to be yourself and get an image that people know that you have taken.
Keep It Creative:
Just change one thing
This one is quite simple, but one which will make a huge difference. When you want to take a specific photograph simply take the photo and then stop and look at it. Ask yourself honestly what is wrong with the image and then take the photo again, maybe with a different angle, or different lens. Compare the two photographs and use the one you like best. The same goes for editing, make an edit in your editing software, and then leave it for something else before going back to it. Look at it again and change one thing about it, because, you know that usually you will not be happy with your first edit. Use this ideology for anything you do in photography and it will lead you in a path you didn’t think you’d reach.
Use multiple editing packages to fine tune your craft.
It’s impossible to fine tune your craft using just one software package, and when professional photographers say they use Lightroom or Photoshop, that’s usually just their preferred main editing suite, but they will have other programs which they use as plugins to fully unleash their creativeness. The more programs you try, the more you realise how limited just one piece of software can be, that’s why you see Photoshop and Lightroom matched together, because your creative process then doubles with the choice.
Tell a story
Photographs of random objects or places could just be random snapshots taken by anyone. Let your work that you put up on social media tell a story! For Facebook for example you can have five photographs showing in your post at one time without having to open up your images. Use these five spaces to tell your story… The first photograph to let people know where you are or what you are up to, followed by three of your best images of your story and bookended with a final, decisive image that wraps up the story. It’s an art, but people appreciate it much more, even if they don’t realise it was your intention, their eyes read the story.
Get it right in camera
This can’t be overstated enough times when you are dealing with photography. Yes, we have the technology to correct things after the event, but there’s more to getting it right in camera than simply camera settings. The simplest thing to get right is your horizon, every degree you are off means lost pixels in editing. Framing is another area where the digital age has made a lot of people disregard as it can be touched up in post, but getting the image to look as you want in camera will once again ensure no lost pixels from cropping. Exposure of course is the big one, but because people trust raw files more than ever, a lot of photographers are sloppy on this! Just get it right in camera so you don’t have to do drastic edits at a later date.
Look at other people’s work
Look online, read magazines, go to galleries and just look at other people’s work. But don’t look at their work with the eyes of a photographer, that is a fatal mistake, look at their work and just look at its content and what makes it so interesting. Absorb everything, but take only the parts that you want to take away from it… And then be different! With that in mind, follow the KLIC Principles and when you have an idea, go out and shoot!
Edit for your wall
A lot of people don’t understand the concept of this one. They’ll take a brilliant photo, edit the photo and then it gets no recognition, or it doesn’t sell or people don’t ask for a copy. If you want to make images to be hung on a wall, they have to be edited in a way that looks good on the wall. Remember, a photo on a computer screen or a phone screen will look nothing like it does when it is hanging on the wall. Do a test print of all your favourite photographs, hold them on your wall and see how they look. You’ll learn pretty quickly what really looks good and what doesn’t.
Of course many will say that they do it their way, or they follow no rules, however this is not about that, it’s simply twelve steps to improve your mind, improve your attitude and improve your chances of being recognised and selling your work if you so wish to do so. The tips have been proven to work, and combined they should make a powerful base for you to build on.
Feel free to share this PDF or blog page of the KLIC Principles. If it helps just one or two people, it will be something.
Please feel free to join in the discussion, send back feedback and join in with our weekly and daily specials etc at our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/GreatPhotographyWalksNPT/ where we enjoy learning, enjoy photography and enjoy meeting up.