How To Become A Better Photographer
It seems like an age-old question. Many amateurs think to themselves, “How to become a better photographer…” Well, the answer is simple and yet different for everyone. Maybe that’s not something that you wanted to hear. However, there’s just no real right or wrong way when it comes to learning and growing as a photographer. I will gladly give you tips on what worked for me but everybody’s journey is different and everyone learns in their own way. The following are things that I did to become a better photographer, many I am still doing as the learning and improving never stops.
Photograph Everything and Anything, Everyday
Practice is the biggest factor in becoming a better photographer. The more you practice the better you will become. Try photographing something once a day in the beginning stages of learning. It doesn’t matter if it’s your dog, your room or what you ate for lunch. As long as you are practicing and using the right side of your brain you will progress. No matter the subject, the fact that you are exercising your creativity means you will understand your camera, light, and settings better. Think about completing the 365-day challenge!
Your Equipment & Manual Mode
I will never tell you that as a new photographer, hobbyist or aspiring professional that you need to have the best equipment ever. Equipment does not make you a better photographer no matter what. Can it make your life easier? Of course, but easy never helped anybody learn. A great starter set up is a crop sensor amateur body with a 50mm lens. The 50mm is so versatile that there will rarely be a situation where it doesn’t help your create what you’re going for. Start with this set up and learn it’s ins and outs. How far can you push them? This also brings us to manual mode. Just learn it! It’s so much better and once you get the hang of it it will be like knowing your ABC’s. The best way to improve your knowledge and understanding of the exposure triangle is to watch youtube videos and read technical photography books. You will need to learn how to translate the image you have visualized into the real thing. The exposure triangle greatly impacts that. Experiment with different settings capturing the same subject and how the images differ. Which one do you like the most?
Get Out There
If you want to know how to become a better photographer that captures people or landscapes you’ve got to get out there and find the people/landscapes to photograph. The sooner you put yourself out there and start shooting the subject matter that you want to get better at or paid for the sooner it will happen. You need to have the work in your portfolio that you want people to hire you for. It’s really important that you stick to one subject matter so you don’t confuse potential clients. Be a master of one instead of a jack of all trades.
Find a photographer that inspires you online and lurk everything they do. Crawl their website, social media platforms, etc. Find out what they’re doing, where they’re spending their time online and what’s inspiring them. Following photographers that you like can help you develop your own style by helping you better understand what you like in photographs. Analyze why you like their photos so that you can discover what about a photo moves you so that you can learn to create it for yourself.
Photo Books & Studying
Studying your face off is the quickest way to becoming a better photographer. If you want to be a great photographer you have to learn the ins and outs of the camera, light, and tricks to photographing your subject matter of choice. For example, if you’ve decided that you would like to pursue landscape photography you need to learn which equipment you’ll need in terms of lenses, filters and which time of day a particular landscape looks it’s best. Learning light is huge. Photography’s root words literally mean drawing with light. Light is your medium, know the ins and outs of how it works. There are great classes on Creative Live you can check out! Art and Photography books at the library are also great for training yourself to see different light patterns. Look through them and analyze what you see happening and then you will start to notice the light that happens all around you in everyday life and during a photo shoot. Which lighting pattern do you want to achieve in during your next shoot?
Experimentation is Key
If you’re practicing with the same light every time you shoot you’ll get really great at that particular lighting. Which is exactly what you want to go for. But what happens when you’ve mastered that? On to the next and experiment! Go photograph in the light that you normally wouldn’t, create something unique. You might find out that you love that light and style better. The more you experiment the more your imagination can roam free and take you to amazing places. Experimenting in Photoshop and Lightroom is another place to spend your time learning. All great photographers use these programs, you should too. However, learning these programs, Adobe Photoshop especially, is a very lengthy process. You may never learn it all just because there are so many different ways you can do everything. Fiddle around with your editing programs to learn the functions and how you can bring your photos to the next level.
Assisting another photographer in your field of choice will present you with a wealth of knowledge. Just be aware that many successful photographers are very busy, maybe even too busy to show a newbie the ropes. Keep in mind that they have worked very hard to get where they are and have probably invested a lot of money into their knowledge bank. Many are not willing to give out their hard earned knowledge for free, to their potential competition. Don’t fret though, keep emailing until you find a photographer that is willing to let you tag along. This connection building can also lead you to other photographers and maybe even one day to second shooting if you’re looking to get into the wedding industry. They can tell you their tips about how to become a better photographer too, if they’re awesome! 😉
Critiquing Yourself & After Session Notes
How to become a better photographer also comes down to being critical of yourself and always pushing to outdo yourself. When reviewing images you have created after your session is complete it’s important to look at them critically in order to develop. What could you have done to make them that much better and how will you do it next time? A way to really cement this into your mind is to write after session notes. What do you wish you did or hadn’t done? How did you feel this session went? Are you happy with the outcome? Why or why not? How did you feel during the session? Was the light what you wanted it to be or could a different time of day had been better? How do you think your subject felt? Could you have made the session more enjoyable for them? Did you make them feel comfortable? Really analyze yourself and your work so that you now where to improve.
I hope that this article about How to Become A Better Photographer has helped you along in your journey. If you are a photographer and believe I’ve missed something I would love to hear it. Feel free to email me! Read more articles and advice for photographers!