I’ve yet to meet a photographer who doesn’t think they can improve some aspect of their skillset. For beginners, it might be how to improve their composition or how to avoid their photos being blurred. For more advanced photographers it might be how to use a new piece of technology or even shooting a different genre to what they are accustomed to. For example, I recently added a drone to my photography kit and so it took some time to learn how to use it properly and safely. But I’m by no means an expert yet and it will take more practice to get to the level I would like to be at. Whatever level you are at, there are always ways t improve. So here are some ideas for you to implement to improve your photography skill set.
The easiest and most common way to improve your photography is to simply take more photos. That doesn’t mean keeping your finger on your shutter button and shooting at high-speed burst mode. But rather, it is about shooting more photos. Photography is like any other skill and the more you do it and practice the better you will become. So set yourself a target of doing the type of photography you are interested in a few times a week or month. But instead of just wondering around aimlessly and shooting, set a plan and treat it like a real shoot. You will be far more likely to do it well if you have prepared.
You can also set yourself a target of practising something that you may not be good at. For example, if you struggle to shoot in low light conditions, make a point of practising this over and over again until you see an improvement in your photos.
Do something new
As photographers, we all have a genre that we specialise in and enjoy doing. For me as a travel and landscape photographer, locations and people are what I prefer to take photos of. But at the same time, over the years, I have also photographed weddings, events and food. So even if in the long term you prefer to stick to what you enjoy, it is still worth trying out some new things. Besides the new skills that you will learn, it will also help you take your mind off what you usually photograph which can sometimes help you when you then return to your forte. So make a plan of trying out some new types of photography over the course of the year. You never know you might end up enjoying the new genre more than your thought.
Watch and read
One of the biggest advantages photographers have these days is the sheer wealth of information that is out there for them to access. You literally have access to thousands of photographers who generally all write blogs, create videos and have social media accounts. Not only can all of this inspire you to improve your own work, but you can also find answers to specific questions you may have. For example, the LifePixel blog alone has almost 500 posts on pretty much all aspects of photography.
But all of this information can seem overwhelming so try to set yourself a learning plan that you can follow. Let’s say you want to improve your portrait photography. Instead of watching a few videos and then switching to videos about landscapes, spend a few days or weeks purely on portrait photography before moving on. Make a list of things you would like to learn, what you want to improve and then practice what you have watched or read. It will help you retain the information better.
Join or attend…
Whether its events, workshops, talks or camera clubs, being surrounded by others who share your passion is a great way to improve your photography. For most people, photography is a lonely hobby or profession. Even when you are surrounded by people like, say a wedding photographer you are still usually on your own. So look to join a local camera club or even go on a photography workshop where you will spend several hours or even days with other people who love photography. Often this can lead to you forming friendships with people who you can then practice photography with (like a photography buddy). You may find that having someone to bounce ideas off, for inspiration or support really helps you improve your own photography.
Get better equipment
Ok, you may think that I’m contradicting myself as I have always been an advocate of people not using the phrase that I hear often: “if only I had a better camera my photos would be better” as an excuse for their photography. I firmly believe that anyone can take great photos with any camera. So I would always recommend that you spend your time and money in actually improving your photography rather than improving your kit. However, there are some exceptions when it comes to photography equipment where the quality does make a difference.
The two obvious candidates are your tripod and your filters. Using cheap or flimsy tripods and filters could mean you end up with poor photos. For example, a flimsy tripod might mean vibrations make your photos blurred. And poor quality filters could mean your photos suffer from colour casts. Over time you will naturally improve your kit, so make a list in order of priority and upgrade when you can afford it.
Over the years I have met many amateurs or even experienced photographers who have gone on to achieve great things with their photography. They all have one thing in common in that they were all willing to work hard and practice to perfect their craft. Photography is something that I believe anyone can improve in. Of course, some people have a natural talent whilst others just have to work harder. Use the ideas above to see if you can improve your photography.
Photo credits: Kav Dadfar – All rights reserved. No usage without permission.