Every photographer knows the struggle that comes with determining once and for all what makes a truly great image. In fact, many people worry so much about nailing what makes a photograph good that they forget to anticipate elements that can make a photograph bad.

No worries if that sounds like you! Even the world’s best photographers had to deal with a bit of a learning curve before really hitting their stride. Here are a few things to watch out for that might be taking more away from your photographs than you realize.

  1. Your horizon is crooked.

Perhaps the absolute most distracting issue you can see in a photograph is a horizon that’s off-kilter. Even if it’s only off by a little bit, it can still absolutely ruin an otherwise good photo. That said, start paying special attention to whether or not you’re holding your camera straight. If your camera features a gridded viewfinder, definitely use it. It’s there to make your life easier.

Can’t see the actual horizon and want to make sure you’re capturing the image properly? Look for cues – like trees that are slanting diagonally – to clue you in.