Tips for Improving Your Photography Craft
Think of the most inspiring photographer you know. Perhaps this person is one of “the greats,” or maybe they are a local photographer whose work you admire. At one time, they took their very first picture. They picked up a camera and did the only thing they knew how to do at the time – “point and shoot.” Now, their photography toolkit is full of tips and tricks. Yours will be too after you read these 10 great photography tips for improving your craft!
Tip #1: Focus on your craft rather than your camera quality.
Perhaps you are not yet able to afford the “ultimate” camera and lenses you have your eye on. Believe it or not, this is much less critical than you may think. Rather, the great majority of what makes up an amazing photo is up to you. Composition (what to leave out and what to put in), arrangement, shooting mode and editing can take nearly any photo and make it pop.
Tip #2: Scout location AND light.
When it comes to photography tips, use of light is another huge factor in whether your photos turn out just “okay” or fabulous. This tip really comes down to scouting your location in advance. What times of day is the light best? What is the best vantage point to set up and catch the light? How can you keep the sun behind you and still capture the shot you have your eye on?
Tip #3: Shoot in RAW mode whenever possible.
If you have a choice between regular JPG and RAW mode, shoot in RAW. This allows you to change your mind after the fact and adjust lighting, sharpness, anything really!
Tip #4: Learn as much as you can about shutter speed.
No one photographer can master every tip, but out of all the photography tips you have to choose from, you can bet the one tip all the pros have mastered is shutter speed. When you choose the right shutter speed for the shot you want, you sidestep so many common preventable issues, from bleached to blurred images and more.
Tip #5: Aim for one great shot in every batch.
Even Ansel Adams didn’t go for greatness in every shot. Rather, he aimed for just one great shot per month! The wonders of digital photography are many, but perhaps the most wonderful of all the wonders is the ability digital photography gives you to take many photos, review them after your shoot, keep the ones with potential and simply delete the rest. With this photography tip, you can start to hone in on where your strengths and passion lie without burning up film as you do.
Tip #6: Revisit locations again and again.
Each time you shoot at a certain location, you learn new things. Photography tips can only get you so far – the rest you will have to push yourself to do on your own. One way to really push yourself is to return to a location over and over and try new angles, new techniques, new lighting and just see what unfolds. As you become more familiar with the location itself, you can really hone in on aspects you want to strengthen in your photography work.
Tip #7: Before you shoot, examine the background.
As far as photography tips goes, this one is a must for outdoor portrait shoots (for people or pets). One thing you absolutely need is a background that enhances the star of the shoot rather than steals the limelight!
Tip #8: Know what does what on your own equipment.
Whether your camera is simple or fancy, you want to be sure you know which button or lever to push to get a certain result before you arrive at your shoot. This not only gives you lots of confidence, but ensures you never miss the perfect light or the perfect shot because you are fiddling with your gear!
Tip #9: Seek feedback constantly.
This is one of the most fun photography tips to follow, because it takes you out of that oh-so-solitary photographer’s studio and puts you in the company of others who love photography. Seek to build a community of fellow photographers whose work you love and whose insights you trust, and invite their feedback as you hone your craft. This will strengthen your work over time and give you camaraderie with those who share your interests.
Tip #10: Make as many mistakes as you can!
Only by becoming totally willing to make mistakes will you be able to learn and grow as an artist of photography. Playing it safe may give your work consistency, but it won’t lead you to greatness. Rather, try everything, learn the rules before you break them, then break them and see what transpires. It might just be the photo that launches your career!
If you follow just these 10 photography tips over the next year, you can look forward to a year full of growth, discovery, friendship and a continual unfolding of your photography gifts!