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To help get you started, here are five free tips guaranteed to improve your photography.
1. Shoot lots and shoot often.
Think of photography as like riding a bike. You start off a bit shaky when you first start learning, but you get better and better with practice and persistence. Same with photography. The more often you shoot, the more variety of subjects, the more conditions you shoot in – the more knowledge you will gain and the better and more confident you will become. Don’t worry about mistakes. Mistakes can sometimes be painful, but take it from me, the more mistakes you make, the more you will learn.
2. Explore your subjects.
Don’t settle or give up after just one or two pics of a subject. Explore it. Push your boundaries. Really think about it. Think to yourself, “Ok, I’ve got a couple of snapshots now. How can I do better? How can I improve on what I’ve just taken?”.
Try this exercise: Try picking a subject, one single stationary object is best, like an intriguing statue, a car, a person, or a piece of furniture. Now for the rules. I want you to take 36 consecutive pictures of this object but, no two pictures can be the same. Every picture must be different or unique. Try looking at your subject from different angles. Get down low and look at it. Get up high if you can. Move to the left, and to the right. Do the lines change? Does the light change? Is it better from this angle, or was it better before? Move closer, or step back a little. When you take a good picture, that’s your new benchmark. See if you can find a better one.
Do this exercise in earnest from time to time and it will force you to grow by forcing you out of your comfort zone… in a good way. 🙂
3. Learn to see light.
Learn to see the light. Look at people’s faces when you’re with them, or when you’re out, or when you’re photographing someone. Look at their skin, and how the light reacts, reflects or bounces. At the end of the day that’s all we ever really photograph. The light. It bounces, it reflects, it skims, it scatters. It’s multi-coloured, and it’s beautiful. Look at the shadows. Are they harsh and brutal or are the soft and gentle? When you see good light, NOTICE IT. USE IT.
Learn to see the light and it will change your photography forever.
4. Be patient with yourself.
Try to be patient with yourself. Relax and have fun. Talk with your subject. Don’t just tell them to smile and be done with it. Try to build rapport or affinity with your subject. Get to know them. Ask them questions. Get them talking about something that excites them. When you relax, they relax, and vice versa. Relax, be patient and make sure you enjoy what you’re doing. It will show in your photos.
5. Be tough when you edit.
Try to be tough and analytical when you edit. If you really study or analyse the images when you edit them at home or where ever afterwards, you can learn a lot about your craft and about yourself. Try to identify why this image worked and why that one didn’t. What is it specifically that you like about a particular image? Is it the light? Is it the composition? Is it the colour or the emotion? Don’t just study your own images, study other peoples images also. If you see an image that you like, or one that you really don’t like, one that causes shock or makes you laugh, question it. Try to understand why you react the way you do to certain images.
Learning or improving your understanding of images and of visual language will have a big impact on your growth and enjoyment as a photographer.
Well, thanks again and I sincerely hope these tips can be of some benefit to you. They’re all keys to my success over the years and I hope you can take something from them on your own journey.