Like most careers and hobbies, photography requires a lot of practice to master. If you are thinking of going professional, you especially have to improve since the industry is highly competitive. In this case, your practice will have to involve studying and lots of experimenting. You will have to practice smarter, not just harder. Here are some important ways and tips that could help you become a better photographer:
1. Invest in yourself first.
In photography, the only way you can invest in yourself is by continuously learning and improving yourself. As a photographer, you should always aspire to enhance your work and style. You can do this by simply studying other people’s work. Examine their portfolios and try to understand what made their photographs great. See how the photos were composed, how the light was manipulated, what moods were chosen, and what was done to make their photos great.
By studying and making an effort to improve, you will be able to develop your unique photographic voice and style. Make it a habit to visit curated galleries, to read about the best photographers, and to build your appreciation of what is truly beautiful. Through deconstructing the work of other photographers, you will be able to recreate and improve your own work.
2. Master lighting and composition
Ask any seasoned photographer, and they will tell you that lighting is the single most important thing you have to master if you want to go pro. Light dictates much of what you will do with your camera -- from its settings to how you will direct your subject. It only makes sense that this is the first thing you consider to master. Once you do, you will know what kind of light will give you contrast, or soften the details. This will teach you when to use lighting gear like flashes and diffusers.
Second to lighting is composition. Composing your shot is what will set you apart from hobbyists who take photos of things that interest them. In a sense, composing is making something interesting. In certain niches, composition makes a photo. Food photography will require you to master composition and styling, much like portrait photography will. Always keep in mind that what distinguishes a photo from a work of art is just giving your photography some thought.
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3. Learn to shoot on manual
Camera modes are surely useful when you’re in a pinch, but shooting on manual will definitely give you more control over how you want your photo to look like. While you’re learning, switch your camera from auto to manual and see how tinkering with shutter speed, ISO, and aperture can improve an image. It’s also a great test of the mastery of your camera’s settings, and how you can produce a clean shot out of it.
4. Experiment with subjects
Every time you shoot a photo, there is a subject that you need to completely understand to deliver a story. As a rookie photographer, you have to understand that you cannot choose what or who you will be shooting for a day. This is why you have to experiment with subjects while you practice. Challenge yourself to take a spectacular photo of an object that you are not very familiar with. If you do this every day with a different subject, you will be able to train yourself to treat each one as your photo’s star, whether you personally enjoy the subject or not.
5. Don’t delete photos
While starting out, you’ll surely be taking more bad photos than good ones. It may be tempting to delete those that you think are bad, but it might be a smart idea to hold onto them while you’re in the early stages. Treat your first photographs as your personal archive. The only way for you to know you have improved is by comparing your Day 100 work from your pictures from Day 1. It’s helpful to see which areas you have improved on, and which areas you’re still having difficulty with. This will determine how you will proceed with your practice.
Additionally, leaving your photos saved will give you the chance to review it later. Allow time to pass before you review your photos since temporal distance helps you earn a fresh perspective. You might even like the photo that you thought was bad while you were shooting.
6. Learn new techniques and gear
Once you have mastered the basics and made significant improvements, it’s time to start experimenting with new techniques. Photography offers a wide room for creativity, which is why great photographers have developed new techniques, including high-speed photography, splash photography, and long exposure photography.
Having gears handy will also open new creative horizons as they aid with capturing photos that require precision. Invest in something like the MIOPS Smart+ Camera Trigger, which will help you take nearly impossible shots through its handy trigger. The smart gear also offers advanced trigger modes, including Lightning, Sound, Laser, and Timelapse among others. With this tool, exploring new techniques and niches will be easier, and will make your process more seamless and efficient.
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7. Welcome critique
Like any professional out there, photographers face criticism regularly. From clients, colleagues, or even from yourself, criticisms should be welcomed as long as they are constructive. Take note of what will help you improve your work, and what will result in better photos next time.
8. Enjoy yourself
There is no room for improvement where you do not enjoy yourself. While photography is technically-heavy, you should always go back to your passion and your interests. You should be prepared to be uncomfortable while trying out new things, but also make sure that you enjoy the process that goes along with the learning.
Once you have mastered the fundamentals of photography, it may be worthwhile to take these tips to mind. Try these out and shake up your routine to see what works best for you. Your tools wouldn’t do the work, so you have to improve your technical skills and your eye for detail. We cannot stress this any further -- tools are only as good as its user. As a photographer, you should always aspire to improve in order to do better with your camera and gear.
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