Every aspiring photographer reaches the point where they truly want to excel at their craft. When you get to this point in the photographic journey you start taking it seriously. This is where pure talent is honed with skill and sharpened with technique. Here are 5 tips that will help you get started in a perpetual cycle of learning and improving your photography.
1. Learn to See What Others See
They say imitation is the best form of flattery, but really imitation is the best form of learning. If you really think about it, just about everything and anything you learn starts with some sort of imitation, whether it’s walking, or talking, or writing, etc… Photography is no different. Most people think that they don’t want to study other’s arts as it may influence them and steer them away from their own style. Quite the opposite is true, the more you study other photographers, the better you will get at shooting photography. Studying other photographers will help you discern what style and elements you like and don’t like. While looking at other photographs ask yourself, what do I like about this image, what works or doesn’t work, what techniques did the photographers use? Learn to see what others see.
2. Perfect Practice Makes Nearly Perfect
I can’t say this enough, there’s a reason why the 10,000 hour rule is called the 10,000 hour rule. You will need to put time into your craft. It’s really the only way you can get better at photography. When you shoot, plan what you want to shoot, even if you are into the more fly by the pants street photography. Have a plan and goal of what you want to shoot, and try to execute it. You won’t get a perfect shot every time, but you may get one or two great ones in a sea of mediocre ones. What I mean by nearly perfect is that perfection is a pursuit, just like the pursuit of happiness. You will need to pursue perfection, but know in the back of your head that human perfection is a myth… only God is perfect.
3. Analyze After the Shot
After your done shooting from your hours of practicing, analyze your shot. What could you have done to make the shot better (even if you think it’s the greatest photo in the world). Take a long hard look at your photograph. Were there certain camera settings you could have changed, was the composition the best it could be? Self analysis is very important for growth in your photographic journey.
4. Ask for Feedback
Seek out a photography forum in the type of photography you want to shoot. In moste photography forums there’s a critique/review section where you can submit images to get feedback on. You’re going to have to grow a thick skin. Not everyone is going to love all of your images. But everyone has a say on how to improve images. Be mindful of “trolls” who just provide negative feedback, seek feedback from those who want to help others improve. What also helps is to read photo critiques of other photographers. One of the forums I first started following is the shutter stock critique forum. This is place where some seemingly harsh, yet helpful critique is given. You’ll find that you will learn what others say about photographs will help you on your photographic journey. Shutterstock is a stock image site that will only take good quality images. The critique area of the forum is for those who want to get their images approved (their approval process is pretty strict).
5. Learn the Rules, Break Them, and Learn Them Again
Learning the basic principles of art and photography will help you immensely improve your craft. Learn about the “rules” of photography such as the rule of thirds, symmetry, leading lines, light and shadow, the golden ratio etc… Experiment with them, and then deliberately break the rules. Then learn the rules again by recognizing what rule you broke in the first place. Hopefully you’re eyes aren’t crossed, but you get what I’m saying… at least I hope. Learn the rules, break the rules, and then learn the rules again.
So there you have it! 5 tips that will take your photography to the next level. Let me know if you have any other tips!
Thanks a lot for reading,