Becoming a Better Photographer


There are many things I have done in the last few years to improve my photography skills and most of it is not in a classroom.  All and all, I like to take classes and attend workshops but those are more for outreach and fun.  I can not afford to start my college career over and get a degree in Photography so I have had to come through the school of hard knocks.  It is because of this that I am always reaching out to learn from those around me, and I am continuing to grow with each image I take.

If I can give you budding photographers some advice, first and foremost you need to start shooting every day.  If you are committed to getting better it will take a lot of shots to get there and your skills will get better with time and critique.   Think of this as you would anything you want in life then ask yourself how much time are you willing to give it.  If you feel like you have little time than you only get a little better, it is as simple as that.

When you are done shooting anything I invite you to post your photos everywhere and invite critique in, don’t be afraid.   Photographers will typically critique your photos (if asked) and then you will learn, but you have to be ready to listen.  Flickr has many discussions and educational forums that cost you nothing.  LinkedIn has photography groups and there are also classes specific to your camera and camera body.  Go online and read all of the help sites you can.  Take notes and review your notes before shoots.

For compositions, color, and posing ~ this will come from a variety of sources.  If you are looking to do this for a living, these preferences will be determined by you and by your clients.  To learn what compositional style you like, one option is to study other photographers.  Simply google any photography term and you will be flooded with websites to search over.  From these sites you can learn by looking and even ask questions of the photographers.  Ask how they got the shot, what settings were used, and be honest about where you are coming from.  Send them an email on a specific photo and see what they say.  Soon enough you will develop a sense of style that is yours and see it evolve.

If you are not doing so already, the next thing I recommend is to shoot on manual for awhile and learn what everything does.  You can later move to aperture priority or shutter priority but the only way to control the shot is to understand the technology behind it.  From here you might take some classes and spend some more money on this passion.  Illuminate Workshops and The Art Institute has Continuing Education courses that are actually worth your money.

This is an expensive profession.  While there is always going to be higher end equipment then what you and I have, you have to start somewhere.

What kind of equipment do you have?  What do you want?  What is your goal? What kind of computer/editing programs do you use?

If you have a lens or two that you can swap out that is a huge plus, macro and micro.   Get a solid body and an external flash.  Though I will not tell you what brand that is, though there are many that will.  Just ask google.  Good luck!

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