10 Tips to Help You Become a Better Photographer
Written 7 years ago by Lee Milthorpe
There are so many different sources of material out there to help you improve your photography, but reading website after website and a book or twelve isn’t always the best way to improve your shots. Whilst reading all these lessons, tips and tutorials, we tend to forget something that would help us much more. All the knowledge in the world is useless unless you know what to do with it, so here are my top 10 tips to help you learn how to improve your photography.
1. Learn Where You Need To Improve
Before getting better at anything, you need to work out what you actually need to work on. Write a list of things you don’t feel confident with, it can be as long or as short as you like but try to keep each one as narrow as possible. When you have your list, concentrate on just one item from it and spend time practising, researching and doing everything you can to improve that particular aspect of your photography. When you feel confident with it, cross it off and move onto the next one.
2. Be Critical
When you take a photograph that you’re not happy with, don’t just scrap it. Spend some time looking at it and work out what you don’t like about it. Write your thoughts down so you can look back over them later. You might start to find a pattern where it’s the same things that you aren’t happy with. If that’s the case, go back and add it to your list.
3. Set Yourself Assignments
A great way to improve your photography when you know what it is that needs improving, is to set yourself assignments. This gives you a challenge, something to aim towards and it helps keep you on the right path. Make it achievable though and preferably something that you will enjoy doing. If, for example, you want to improve your close up animal shots, don’t just take a thousand photographs of the dog, set yourself a challenge that will take you out of your comfort zone, like getting yourself a shot of a squirrel holding a nut.
4. Try New Things
The worst thing you can do is take shot after shot of the same things, with the same settings. Even if there’s something you’re brilliant at, it’s always good to make changes to make sure you don’t get complacent. You might learn something that will improve what you are already great at but it’s even more important for beginners, trying new things will definitely speed up the learning process.
5. Be Patient
I’m terrible for this one but it’s a really important trait to have! Don’t expect brilliant results instantly, becoming a great photographer takes time and isn’t something that can be learned overnight. It’s even more important when you are completing your smaller tasks to not give up at the first sign of failure.
6. Find Inspiration
When you are feeling confident with your camera and you want to experiment a little, it can be a challenge to come up with new ideas and it might be a good idea to take inspiration from other people’s work. Look around the internet, in magazines, even in shopping malls where there can be many promotional posters. Try taking ideas from the material rather than copying them, so you can develop your own unique style.
7. Learn From the Best
Following on from finding inspiration, take some of that inspiration and work out what makes it great. Critique the photographer’s work, look at why that particular shot is so good, what do their photographs have that yours don’t? This is a great way of improving your own photography, as you look closer at photographs rather than just thinking ‘that looks nice’ and moving on to the next.
8. Shoot, Shoot and Shoot Again
There’s no better way to learn than getting out there and experimenting. You can read a million books but you will still learn faster just by doing it and learnig from your own mistakes. Spend some time taking shots of the same subject over and over again in different ways. It could also be a good idea to record what settings you used for each photo so you can work out what worked the best when you look back over them later.
9. Listen to Feedback
When you are improving, get other opinions instead of just judging your own work. There are plenty of people out there willing to help your photography, even if they don’t realise it. Tell people you don’t just want to know if they like a shot or not, but you want to know what they like or don’t like about it. Also, it’s not just other photographer’s you want feedback from. People who have no idea about photography can still give an opinion that could make you realise something you could have done to improve the shot, so get feedback from as many different sources as possible.
10. Don’t Give Up
The final tip is the most important of them all. If you really want to become an amazing photographer, it takes time, dedication and commitment. Everyone has to start somewhere, and many people do give up when they get impatient or frustrated, but stick with it and you will get there.
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