Become a Better Photographer*

Wednesday, 18 February 2015


I'm not, nor will I ever be, in the position to call myself a photographer. Much in the same way that I can play the guitar but I wouldn't consider calling myself a musician. Still, I put some of my photos out into this big scary internet place and with that comes a few people asking about photography, what to do and how to do it etc. With that in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to chuck something together that might help you take your photography further.

Again, I am enthusiastic about photography but I have not had any training. I've worked with a photographer or two during events and fashion weeks, picking up a few things along the way. I love the experiences I have had but it has all been very trial and error. Day by day I become more tempted to take it to the next level with some form of training, as soon as I can get the free time. 


Now, less about me. Here are a few things that may help...

Use Your Camera More

It is the obvious of obvious. The more familiar you are with your own personal camera the better you will be able to use it. This way, when you are faced with a perfect image you will be able to quickly (and hopefully successfully) capture the shot without hesitation. 




Experiment

One of the best ways you can learn to take better pictures is to shoot more. The cameras that are on the market these days are such fun to use because they have such extensive features. You can try new techniques; mix up both the angle or lighting to see the image a bit differently than usual. I'm currently experimenting with changing settings to monotone - it helps you see the world in a different way which can really help with taking shots.


Practice Makes Perfect 

(Or at least, 'Practice Makes Better') No photographer knows it all so remember that you too have a long way to go. Never let yourself get to the point when you feel like you do not have to practice or try new things. Keep playing with your photos so you continuously learn as time goes on.

Set Aside Time

Life gets busy at times, trust me when I say that I struggle with time to crack out the camera and run around. Even if you are currently investing time in furthering your education you should be sure to set aside time each day or every couple of days to get out and take some photos. It is always easy to comes up with an excuse as to why you cannot do something but consider this important time for yourself, your hobby and your sanity. Few things are more relaxing than time spent between person and camera.


(Image: Richard Nixon)

Research

Sort through magazines, newspapers and online photographs to see what other photographers have done in the past to get great shots. Some would say to study the angle at which they took their shot and try to put yourself in that person’s shoes, however I would also say to get out there and take what you want. Look up on photographical rules and terms such as the rule of thirds, hard light and soft light, and line of sight. Your own style is the most important factor in all of this, but inspiration and knowledge helps!

Also, take a look at a post that has popped up on Buckets & Spades, What Does Photography Mean To You?. Mat is a lot more inclined toward colourful photography than I am, which continuously pulls me back to his blog (alongside the content, of course). I feel like it's important to ensure that you look at a broad spectrum of styles, not only the one you usually practice.


Take A Class

Utilise an online photography class or even one in person... If you get the chance then shadow/understudy someone. Learning from someone more experienced than you can enlighten you and help you develop new skills and techniques. Even participating in a photography club or group that is in your area will help you learn new things.

If time really is the issue then consider investing in an online education. The process is so much more simpler than attending college in person and it is much more appropriate for those who are looking to further their education whilst devoting the majority of their time to other endeavours. I've not undertaken anything like it myself, but I have looked into websites such as NCC Home Learning. There are many different courses available and the process of enrolling and completing the work is very simple.




Time is of complete importance amongst all of this. If you love photography, I encourage you to spend as much time on it as possible. This could involve the simple act of taking your camera with you to work (if you walk) and seeing if you can take some shots during this mundane routine. Why not? What else is that time going to be used for? Find the time and your photography will improve. Simple. It's a fantastic skill to have, mainly because it's a skill that is so closely related to making memories.

Cheers guys,
O&U.