Wow, this place sucks.

So I'm sure this has happen to all of us, oh, I don't know... at least a million times.  You're out trying to take some awesome pictures and you're presented with want could only be called, an environment that is less than aesthetically pleasing. Whether you’re shooting portraits, environmental photos, or just taking some random shots with your iPhone, there are plenty of ways you can work around the fact that you’re in a not-so-interesting location.

1. Shoot From Interesting Angles 

There first thing you need to do, is take a moment to look at the scene, visualizing angles that will make your composition more interesting. Sometimes, shooting from a higher, or lower, angle than you would normally shoot will make all the difference in the world, and will also help take attention away from the aspects of the location that are not as interesting as others.  You'll be amazed at moving just a few feet can reveal or obscure in your photos.  That ugly thing on the wall... move a few feet to your right and poof, it goes away!

An unconventional angle makes this typical (insert "boring") shot a lot more interesting.

2. Experiment with focus

If you are photographing people, try shooting with a wide aperture in order to blur out the background, and bring focus to your subject. If you are not photographing people, look for interesting details in the location, and focus in on the details, rather than the entire scope of the scene.

3. Lighting 

If you have a flash, or any type of light, a little bit of light can go a long way in upping the interest factor in your photos. Experiment with low and high key light, and also, similar to focus, look for interesting details in the location to accentuate with lighting.  Using lighting to highlight an area of your photo is an easy way to direct focus and can be easily faked it Lightroom.

4. Time of Day 

A location may be uninteresting at one time of day, but at a different time of day, it may look completely different. Try shooting in the golden hour – either early in the morning, or late in the evening, to achieve golden, hazy light. Or, think about how the scene would look at night, shot with a long exposure. Heck, you'll probably shoot in the middle of the day and ignore all of this advice, but then I can at least say I told you so!

5. Post-Processing 

When in doubt, you've heard me say it before and I'll say it again (and probably a few times more after that) go to Lightroom and Photoshop! The danger in post-processing photos from an uninteresting location, however, is the tendency to over-edit. This is a situation where you really, really don't need to over-edit, as it will appear as though you are over-compensating, thus drawing attention to the uninteresting location. Keep it simple – see how the image looks in black and white, or try your hand at (extremely minimal) HDR, in order to bring out more highlights and shadows.

If your image isn't working for you, has an uninteresting sky, or you're just not digging the colors, try it in black and white.  What's the worst thing that will happen... you'll have an ugly black and white photo. ;-)