ARE YOU WILLING TO BECOME A BETTER PHOTOGRAPHER?
Almost all human beings have gotten their life crossed with photography at one point or another. But there are people that have not just got their lives related with the magic of being photographed, but also they (and I include myself here) also have gotten close to making photographs. Some of us have been hit by the photography cupid, and are willing to become not just better photographers, but committed ones as well. In the following bullets I’ll go deeper in simple tips that in my own and personal opinion are fundamental for becoming a better photographer.
Carry a Camera always with You
If I could offer just one single tip for evolving into a better photographer, carrying a camera always with us would be it without any doubt. Moments happen in front of our eyes without expecting them, and the images that I haven’t had the opportunity to capture due to simply not carrying a camera with me, have been haunting my guilt for ever.
Some people have told me opposite opinions on this suggesting that having a phone is practically the same thing thanks to the technological capabilities phones have today, especially in terms of imagery. And I don’t doubt about those capabilities, but the thing is that if you have a camera with you, there is always a feeling bugging you for not making some images. In fact I have sometimes felt guilty about not taking more pictures, but that is a topic for another day. This self-imposed bug will push you to being aware of moments that need to be photographed, and that is also the important thing of always having a camera with you. Not just for the beautiful and serendipitous moments that could cross your eyes, but also for inviting you to be more aware of such moments.
Engage with people
As a Social Photographer myself, I have come to the conclusion that engaging with people is really important. Many people will be excited of just telling you their stories, especially the old folks. But this could be taken to several fields or styles of photography, not just street or social documentary. Wherever you are a fashion or a wedding photographer, always have good social skills in order to become closer to the “trusty” zone of people. If you are not good socializing, maybe Landscape Photography could be your thing. Of course there are exceptional cases, like the one of Vivian Maier, who produced a large body of street photography work, and wasn’t much of a social person persé.
Learn about Composition
Composition is known to be one of the most important elements in photography. Learning and practicing it will increase the meaningful quality of your images. Composition is the most tangible characteristic of photography if you like. Composition is demanded by the readers’ eyes, and is the photographer who decides how, the elements are inside one shot. It depends entirely on the photographer’s hand, and the interpretation of it in the reader’s mind.
Composition is the adequate selection or presence of the elements studied above inside an image as a whole. And is one of the greatest responsible of transmitting the message of an image. Many people limit themselves just to “The Rule of Thirds” composition wise, but there are many other elements to consider. I’m a huge fan of Ted Forbes, and he crafted this amazing website that will teach you better on this.
Invest in Photo Books
Investing in the minimum piece of gear in order to take pictures is obviously necessary, and the definition of “minimum” shouldn’t be so fancy. After getting yourselves that minimum valuable piece of gear, slow down your buying frenzy, and detour your cash into something most inspirational, photo books. This will definitely will be a great source for inspiration, and while drive you to become a better photographer as well.
Resources: 10 best Books for learning Adobe Lightroom
Shooting film is one of those things that every photographer should try at some point of their life. The magic moment of unveiling images you had small idea about how they would look, is just mind blowing. Digital formats have made our minds take good shots for granted. Shooting film will improve the following aspects of your photography by the simple fact that you’ll be thinking more every frame you shoot:
- Keepers Ratio
- Avoid or at least do less Chimping
- More thought process behind a shot
- Decisive moment mindset
Teach Someone Else about Photography
If you love Photography, you’ll love sharing the knowledge. Teaching someone else will make you learn more in a different way. We all appreciate when somebody explain things to us, give some of the knowledge back.
Watch movies with a Photographer’s eye
Movies have Cinematography behind them, and watching movies with an aware photographer’s eye, will make you appreciate more the use of light and the decisions behind frames.
Look at your Old Photos
Go back to your old archives from time to time, you’ll come back to them with a more objective eye, and if your objectiveness is true and right, and the image still thrills you, then it is a good picture indeed.
Don’t publish right away
Many times we over appreciate our own images, and we treat them as treasures, even when they are not so great. When this happens, it will be pretty likely that your images didn’t had that special fermentation that only happens when letting things cool down and are seen later with fresher eyes.
Practice, practice, practice
As John Free says, you just need to practice, practice, and practice. Many of the things that you will do in order to become a better photographer will be nothing unless you practice. If you are a photographer, go out there and shoot.