Every time a pick up a camera I say to myself “Self, I’d like to take a really great photograph today”. Seriously, that’s the first thing that runs through my head. Not, “Self, I wonder what hijinks we’ll get into today” or “Self, you’re looking pretty good today”, nope… My first concern is that I capture something truly great. I imagine you feel the same way, every time we pick up our cameras we imagine capturing awe inspiring photographs. There are a few tried and true tips that have helped me create better photography, click on the titles below to expand them.
Using the tips below I have improved my photography exponentially.
Sure, you could photograph everything that crosses your path but you’d end up with a bunch of ordinary shots. Instead of taking the “spray and pray” approach try to be more selective about what you’re photographing. If it helps, try to think of your camera as an old film camera with a limited number of exposures with a high cost to have them processed. Thinking in this way will help you to narrow down your potential shots to the ones that are interesting, it will force you to visualize what the shot will look like after you’ve taken it home and processed it (Ansel Adams called this Previsualization).
Use Multiple Compositional Elements
Remember the Pyramid of Composition? The pyramid of composition is a tool I created to help photographers create more dynamic images. The idea is that as you progress as a photographer you are able to incorporate more compositional elements into a single photograph than you could as a beginner. Your photography will get more complex as your abilities as an artist improve. You can read more about the Pyramid Of Composition here
Lightroom, Photoshop, or Aperture… Pick your poison, just make sure you process your images. Not processing your images is the difference between shooting with a Polaroid Instant Camera or using a 35mm analog camera and processing the film in your own darkroom (assuming you know how). Digital Image processing is like using a magic wand compared to the days of darkroom post processing. The key here is to not process your photograph into a hot mess of pixel bending madness, be conservative.
One of the toughest parts of creating great photography is finding really unique subject matter. One of the reasons Street Photography appeals to me is because of the vast number of fleeting moments that pass by my lens each time I venture out.
Never Stop Learning
You should challenge yourself to find unique photographs by thinking outside of the box. Look for things that are unusual or rare. Remember that what is usual to you may be unusual to the other side of the world.
It sounds like a no brainer… If you want to get really good at something you practice it. Photography is no different from mastering basketball, quidditch, or origami, you’ve got to pick your camera up daily or weekly. Learn the ins and outs of your gear, study your art, review other examples of great photography.
Finally, I would like to expound on that last tip of “Never Stop Learning”. One of the reasons I love photography is that I don’t think I will ever completely master it. There is always something new to learn or some new subject that I’d like to photograph. There are hundreds of different types of photography to try, and a limitless amount of new gear to use. Revel in the fact that you couldn’t possibly learn everything there is to know about photography in one lifetime, photography will always keep you on your toes.
The best photography resource you have is absolutely free… The internet is full of great advice from professionals all around the globe.
The five tips above aren’t fancy, there is no silver bullet in photography, but if you think about them each time you pick up your camera you’ll surely improve. What would you say was the best photography advice you’ve received? Feel free to leave a comment below and let us know what advice helped you improve the most.