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10 Tips to Help You Become a Better Photographer

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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Comments
Neville Lobo  7 years ago

I liked tips number 3 the best. I sometimes find myself sitting blank with no idea about what to shoot. So I’ve decided to do some photojournalism for myself whenever I don’t have time to travel. Its a nice way to keep working on my photography and a way to learn more about the people of my city.

Geo  7 years ago

Great tips, Thank for sharing.

Gavin Will  7 years ago

Learn how your camera works and the theory. No point turning up to an event and not being able to take decent pictures since you cant technically work the camera. Get used to changing the controls in the dark / by touch and quickly. Otherwise you may miss some great pictures

(PS smashandpeas you cant see the fields on the comment form if Javascript is off)

Lee Milthorpe  7 years ago

Hey Gavin, thanks for posting the tip and for pointing out the issues with the contact form. I’ll get to work on that asap!

Neal  7 years ago

my only addition to the list is an amendment to #8 ….
find some way to have your camera on you ALL THE TIME. What i did was buy a camera bookbag that holds my laptop and stuff along with camera and 6 lenses… that way i am never without the camera.
This leads me to always look at things through “a lense” because i always know that the camera is right behind me

Tracy  7 years ago

Great article with very helpful tips. Thanks!

Landscape Photography  7 years ago

I agree that tip no.3 is really important in helping to push yourself beyond what you normally shoot and know you can shoot well.

Thanks for the tips.

m chamalimba  7 years ago

all is good and truly there is a future ahead. thanks 4 the tips .to me all are brilliant and very enlihtening

Verneitta  7 years ago

I really needed what you said. I’m a beginner. and it so totally applies to me.

BlueRose  6 years ago

I am a beginner to DSLR photography and struggling my way through several of the above points, so its nice to feel I have achieved something right LOL!

I would add “keep a record of things that you learn or interesting points to come back to” I find that I can only retain so much and its not til I have an opportunity to put it into practical use that I “really” remember it.

To that end I started my own beginner photography blog, the writing of the articles has been really helpful about making me think about things, and made me a bit braver about experimenting outside my comfort zone.

http://lensaddiction.wordpress.com/2009/12/13/3-new-stuff-i-have-learned/

SSB GERA  6 years ago

All the tips given are worth knowing. A humble request from my side is, please try to give guide lines in the same way in other fields like wild life photography.

Therese  6 years ago

This is a great site and some great tips. I’ve got a small digital camera and have taken photos for years. I really want to buy a new camera but my price range is max 200 euros. Any suggestions from people who know. I’ve taken mostly close ups with this digital as landscape or far away are disastrous. Any ideas appreciated.
Thanks.

mydivabydesign  6 years ago

Thanks for the tips. I take before and after photos of my decorating and home staging projects. I always feel like my pics come out as snapshots instead of professional looking pics. I took photography class for two years, but I still have problems with focus. I don’t need glasses, but most of my pics come out blurry. It’s frustrating!

Tan  5 years ago

Wow, this is really awesome.
Tip No. 10 is something I’m battling with and every now and again I think … “What makes me worthy enough to call myself a photographer?”

Thank you and I’ll be back soon to keep the other 9 tips in my head and on my desktop!

senait  5 years ago

wow the tips are nice. i love number 4 and 9. thank you

Lorne Turner  5 years ago

Thanks so much for these helpful tips. It alwys comes back to basic principles so I appreciate the reminder to keep it real.

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