12 Ways to Be a Better Photographer Now
12 Ways to Improve Your Photography
Knowing Your Skills as a Photographer
Photography is a study in continual growth. Sometimes you have to photograph a lot of what you’ll eventually dislike to get to know your style. Professional or amateur, photographers agree that keeping active in photography improves you at your craft.
As an avid amateur photographer I've clicked the shutter thousands of times. In fact I've taken possibly over 100,000 photographs while learning and doing serious photography and I know I'm far from done. One of the things I've learned by doing this is what I don’t like. I've learned that I dislike certain angles, I've learned that I have to try to keep the camera level, what should be in focus and what needs to be out of focus. I've learned about framing and composition as well. Just about all of the things I've read about and sometimes even written about but I find there is no substitute for doing and regretting.
“Why didn't I change my angle and get a better shot. I know it was there.”
“Why did I take that shot there? There was nothing artistic about it.”
“My horizon is so far off the picture is unusable.”
“I was too tight on this shot”
“How could I settle for raccoon eyes with my subject? I should have used a fill light or my reflector”
“How could I not see all of that junk in the picture?”
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Is there a solution for all of this? I don’t think so. If you have great talent you may be able to get to the point you want sooner than later. You may be a quicker study than I (just about everybody is I often think) and maybe your regular efforts are paying off.
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12 Ways to Become Better at Photography
If you want to improve your skills quickly I have a few suggestions for you.
- Know the rules of composition off by heart. Can you name more than the rule of thirds?
- Know your camera. There are so many features on modern cameras that they really do take a while to learn. I recently got into a discussion about in camera metering and realized that I still have a ways to go to become an expert here.
- Keep a shot book. This is a listing of your favourite shots from magazines and other photographers on line. Review it regularly to see what you liked about the shots in your book. It could be the sharp angle one photographer chose to shoot a building, the placement of objects in the frame or the play of light and shadow. The idea is for you to remember those shots and how you might execute them.
- Try to shoot regularly. How will you ever get better? By not practicing you may have forgotten some of the subtle learning you have gained.
- Try to shoot at least 15 minutes per day. It takes discipline to do it and that is something needed to become great. If you can take an hour, all the better for you.
- Set up a table to shoot still life. Many lighting techniques can be learned by shooting something from your table. Shoot anything, fruit, a statue or your old camera.
Walking in Morning's Light
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- Take on a project. It could be as simple as a tree in a field. Shoot it in the morning, evening, covered with snow, high angle, low angle, up close and from a distance.
- Read everything you can get your hands on. There are several good e-books for very small amounts of money that are packed with good information. Subscribe to newsletters. There are many free ones with great information to spark your creative abilities.
- Learn to use your software to improve your post shot processing work. Learning any software that has a lot of features takes a while and has a steep learning curve but you need to spend time with the software to get proficient.
- Watch other photographers YouTube videos on processing and shooting. There are many good quality tips online.
- Join a camera club and compete. There is nothing like improvement when you are sitting in an auditorium watching a judge give opinions on the photographs that evening including yours.
- Take a class. Sometimes seeing how others do something or the teacher-coach can change the way you see things and make a dramatic improvement in a flash.
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In conclusion never give up on your chosen hobby. The key is getting over the sense of frustration when your photographs don't turn out like you want and keep shooting. Your efforts will be rewarded in time. Just keep trying to be the best you can be.
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