Be it a beginner, amateur or hobbyist, all have a common query — How do I become a better photographer? Should I join a photography school, read the masters of photography or buy a high-end camera available in the market. The answer is simple — practice the art. You can become better at what you do by doing more of it. So to become a better photographer you will have to take more photographs. This makes way for the very first tip for becoming a better photographer.
Shoot, Shoot & Shoot Some More
I had been reading Chase Jarvis during the weekend. There was one particular statement that caught my attention. It reads, “The secret to shooting better pictures is simply shooting more pictures”. And this is what any pro would advice you to do for becoming a successful photographer. BTW have you heard about the 10,000 hour rule professed by Malcolm Gladwell. This rule claims that the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours. So get started with taking the pictures. Get started with shooting the images — shoot as a purist or shoot with post-processing in mind.
Master The Art, Master The Craft
Photography is both an art as well as craft. When you learn to visualize the world around you in terms of design elements (lines, patterns, shapes, form, contrast, depth, balance, harmony, rhythm and the likes) it becomes more of an art and when you try to capture the artistic details by tuning the camera settings, it reflects your craftsmanship. To become a smart and successful photographer you need both the things. First you need to visualize the scene to emotionally connect with the viewers and once you visualize the image, you should know how to capture your imaginations with your tool — the camera.
Perfect Practice Makes Perfect
Practice makes the perfect is an old age adage. But it is actually a perfect practice that makes the perfect. Simply pointing the camera at the scene and coming home with loads of crap images will not make you any better. When you look at the scene, analyze it in terms of color, contrast and composition. Visualize the story that it beholds. And then go for it — release the shutter. Thinking in this manner before shooting results in a better outcome.
Make Photography Your Habit
Include photography as one of your routine activities. Just like you go for a walk without fail and attend to your mails the first thing you enter the office, make it a habit to take the photographs daily. Better yet, design your daily schedule such that you take out one hour for a photo-walk; with just you & your camera.
Give Yourself Assignments
Photography assignments are a great way to learn & implement new tips & techniques. Set apart assignment to photograph a particular theme per week or take ten photos of one subject. Check out more ideas for photography assignments here. These assignments help you in keeping up with the commitment of shooting the images on daily basis and will also challenge your ability to create astounding images.
Work The shot — On Field As Well As Off Field
By now you might be well-versed with this pro technique — working the shot. I have mentioned it dozens of times earlier and yet this tip makes space for itself in each new article. Working the shot while shooting the images on field adds perspective to your story. It opens up multiplicity of options to make the shot happen. The same thing when applied during the post production can greatly improve the quality of images. You can try your hands at cropping the image, making the crucial adjustments, applying the filters, presets and a lot of other creative stuff. But how does it help me in becoming a better photographer? When you work your images in the image editor, you are in a good shape to understand the effect of various settings that can also be implemented in-camera.
Be More Curious
How do pros get the images they want? What is exposure compensation? How to activate the bulb mode? When should I use the manual focus? There are so many questions that come to your mind when you pick up the camera and read more about photography. This is a good indication. Ask as many questions as you can and try to satiate your queries by reading through the camera manual, experimenting with the camera settings or by reading the masters of photography. Your curiosity will trigger self learning & build creative instincts. These two things will help you in making the difference to yourself as a photographer. Play around with various camera settings, alter the perspective and try new angles and you’ll gain the experience that you cannot get by reading the books alone.
What do you do to improve your photography?