Once we get hit with the photography bug, we want to improve, improve, improve! The first thing you really need to master is the technical side of photography. You will be free to be creative, work on projects, improve your composition for high impact images and improve your editing skills.
- You must be comfortable shooting in the manual mode. You need to really understand the effects and limitations of each component of the exposure triangle. You need to understand metering and how the different metering modes will affect your photographs. If you’ve had any exposure to me (pun intended!), you know I harp on this constantly. Too many photographers are learning in an automatic mode, such as aperture priority, and never really understanding what’s happening with their settings. You will be able to create such better pictures when shooting in the manual mode!
- Schedule time to take photographs. Write it on your calendar in detail. Write down where you will go, what time, what gear you will bring. Once it’s all written, you’ll have a checklist, so you can pack quickly and go! Life is busy! The only way you’ll get better photographs is to shoot a lot.
- Get better at editing. Some of those amazing photographs you see are because of good editing. Schedule time to watch a five-minute video on whichever editing program(s) and plug-ins you use. Imagine if you spend five minutes watching and ten minutes practicing five days a week. You’d learn more than 20 new techniques per month! Remember, we have training videos that are set up in this fashion: http://onlinephotoworkshops.com/courses/
- Sign up for a class, online or hands-on. Register for a workshop. You may think you know everything, but you don’t.
- Join your local camera club and go to all of the outings. If there isn’t a nearby club, put it out on Facebook that you are looking for some photo buddies. Shooting with other photographers will really help you grow. You’ll see one of their photographs later and think “I didn’t have that vision! Next time I’ll be more aware of that idea.” If you are local to SW Florida, join us on one of our free photowalks: http://understandphotography.com/schedule
- Start a project. You may have a brilliant idea that’s been mulling around in your head, but it seems too big. Write it out and break it into small activities. Or start a very small project. Chris Smith, my guest on The Understand Photography Show for December 14, 2019 has a free download on his site called “Ten Projects to Spark your Photographic Creativity”. Go ahead and download it and then join us over in the Understand Photography Facebook Group. We’re going to go through his book, one project per week. Join us for the fun!
- Enter a competition. If you’ve never done it, now is the time! You can easily find online competitions, camera club competitions and even art gallery/museum/association competitions. Yes, they cost but not that much. Just remember, photography is subjective so even if you don’t win anything, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad image.
- Here is the toughest one: Ask for critiquing. You can join a photography group and ask via the internet. If that’s too tough, hire an experienced photography judge to critique your work and make suggestions for improvement.
Photographer, instructor and speaker.
Peggy Farren is an award winning, professional photographer, author, instructor and speaker. She’s been interviewed and featured on TV and in many national and local publications.