How to Become a Better Photographer
1. First and foremost, get comfortable with your camera! It is your tool for creating your photography. Digital cameras can be complicated. You don’t have to know how to do everything on your camera. If you can get to a point where you are able to achieve results that you like, that’s good. Your camera should work for you. Not the other way around. That way you can gain confidence and further your techniques and style.
2. Think in terms of series when you shoot. You can do more than one series at a time as you might not always be able to shoot rain or whatever the category is that you want to focus on. When you look at a series of photos you can then compare them and see what works best and what doesn’t really work. As well, working on a series of photos means that you can create a body of work that is cohesive. Not just a bunch of one off cool shots.
3. Look for ways to broaden or fine tune your approach. There’s always a better method or approach. You can do this by looking at the work of other photographers and artists. Go to a museum or gallery or look at books or even the internet if you must. Famous photographers and artists are great but not necessary. Look for elements that jump out at you and see if you can incorporate them into your work.
4. Take a class or a workshop. This is a great way to learn new and different methods to do things. Sometimes it’s about technical aspects and others it’s about style. Meeting people that share your interests is good too. My motto is that I can always be better and do things differently. Photography will keep me busy for life!
5. Print your photos even if it’s on a standard printer and basic photo paper. Seeing your photos printed is really different than seeing a digital copy. I often print 4×6 photos on cheap photo paper to decide if the photo really works for me. It is another perspective ad possibly a better method to be objective about your work. If nothing else it’s a slower method of viewing.
6. Always ask yourself why you do things the way you do and if there might be a better way. For instance, it’s easy to always shoot in Aperture Priority. But why not switch to Shutter Priority? Much can be gained from trying new things.
7. Think about what you really like in your work and develop that. You should always be happy with your photos first and not be so concerned with what others think. Yes, it’s great when others like your work. Especially when they’re not friends or family. That is to say that there’s no feeling of obligation to like them. Your friends and family should obviously like your photos!
8. Seeing is an often overlooked sense. That is to say that we take it for granted and edit out much of what is in front of us. Sometimes it’s good to just stop, take a deep breath and have a slow look around you to see things more clearly. Some of the best photos are really of very ordinary things.
9. Be happy! If you’re not enjoying it, you’re not likely to like what you produce.
Republished from Issue 25 of the Shoot New York City Newsletter. You can subscribe here.