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14 Ways to Quickly Improve Your Photography

    14 Ways to Quickly Improve Your Photography

    Do you feel that your progress as a photographer has stalled? Everyone experiences this at some point. You’re progressing along swimmingly, learning new methods and enhancing your sense of composition and light like a pro, and then suddenly, you’re stuck.

    But have no fear! There is no silver bullet for becoming a better photographer, but the tips and tricks I provide in this post will help you take your photography to the next level.

    Keep in mind that certain shooting methods will work better for you than others, so if you don’t like one, feel free to move on. Hopefully, you’ll find a method that helps you rediscover your capacity for original thought.

    Okay, let’s just jump in!

    1. Visit an art museum

    I can’t stress enough how important it is for photographers to have respect for the arts. While many photographers view conventional art forms (such as painting) as different from photography, the two are actually rather intertwined; if you want to improve your photographic skills, you should start appreciating and studying the arts.

    Spend the day learning about the works of famous painters by checking out a museum. Having a pen and notepad handy is even better. Write down your thoughts on why a specific painting or piece of art stands out to you. Jot down the features and justifications that you enjoy most. Make a note of the things you don’t like as well, just in case.

    Most major urban centres include at least one art museum. In reality, many urban areas include many. I recommend doing some online research if you don’t think there is an art museum in your area. Check out several nearby universities, too.

    Moreover, admission to many museums is free (or at least discounted) on specific days. Even if your town’s museum charges admission, there are other ways to save money on admission—for instance, if you have a debit or credit card issued by Bank of America, you may gain free admission to more than a hundred museums around the country.

    2. Try new perspectives

    Spend a day thinking about how you may broaden your perspective. Focus on certain camera vantage points and analyze their efficacy. I bet there are approaches you haven’t tried yet, so don’t be afraid to do so. The extent to which you can push yourself in this exercise depends entirely on you.

    Bring a ladder to the photo shoot if you intend to use a higher vantage point. Climb a tree or otherwise get above your subject if you don’t have access to a ladder. This will give you a fresh perspective, and shots taken from above nearly always enhance the beauty of the subject.

    When taking pictures of flowers, try shooting from below. I know this seems gross, but trust me, you’ll reap the benefits in the end. To capture the opacity of the flower petals in direct sunlight, experiment with the sun’s angle.

    Trying out various camera angles is a great way to broaden your photographic horizons and add some interesting effects to your repertoire.

    3. Take a trip to your local zoo

    For purely selfish reasons, going to the zoo is one of my favourite photographic activities. Because I don’t have a customer that specifically requests a certain look, I’m under no obligation to produce anything in particular. I don’t feel obligated to give my photographs a certain mood or atmosphere. There are hundreds of exotic species, and all I have with me is my camera.

    The majority of zoos also offer discounted admission at least once every week.

    Here’s a challenge: next time you visit the zoo, attempt to shoot pictures without showing any signs that the animals are contained in cages. That is to say, think beyond the box when framing your images such that cages, bars, and glass are not in them.

    This might be difficult at times, but the payoff is well worth the effort. To avoid taking a photo that seems like it was taken through a fence or features a rock that was digitally altered to look like something else, try a different angle. I guarantee you’ll have a great time while you sharpen your framing abilities with this outlook.

    4. Use a tiny memory card

    I know it sounds counterintuitive, but limiting your options will help you take better images. Reduce to the barest minimum. The ability to take a large number of pictures quickly is convenient, but it has the potential to stifle your originality. Because you can take so many pictures, it’s tempting to just keep shooting all day in the hopes that one or two may turn out to be good.

    In its place, think about Taking the smallest memory card you have the next time you go out to take photographs (not for a client, of course!). Pick one that will only let you snap a handful of pictures and leave the others at home.

    (If you only have access to large-capacity cards, you may want to mentally restrict yourself to 25–50 images for the day. Just make sure you know your limit before you go, and don’t exceed it under any circumstances.)

    When you put yourself in a box, you have to give serious thought to every move you make. You’ll learn to think critically about elements like composition, lighting, and camera settings, which will lead to improved photography.

    5. Take your camera everywhere

    As Chris Orwig puts it in his book Visual Poetry, “Even without taking pictures, carrying a camera enhances life.”

    I totally concur. Having a camera on your person is a certain method to instantly heighten your awareness. It makes you view the world as though a camera were up to your eye. It encourages you to stop and take things in wherever you are.

    For a set amount of time, make it a point to always have your camera on you. Shoot photos with the knowledge that no one may ever see them. Make images of mundane activities or brief occurrences that are not ordinarily considered photo-worthy. The challenge is to find fresh meaning in these seemingly inconsequential occurrences. This advice is useful even if all you have is a smartphone with a camera.

    6. Always be a beginner

    You stop being teachable the moment you believe you are the greatest at anything (or even the best in your circle). Think at it this way: you have a lot to learn. Maintain a beginner’s mind at all times.

    Many folks I’ve met are convinced they know everything. When you try to share some new knowledge with them, they insist that they were previously aware of it. Alternatively, they are closed to new ideas because they are set in their ways. Your originality will perish under those conditions.

    Put your ego aside and be open to criticism and advice from more experienced people. Sign up for a photography club. Join a discussion board and chime in. Even if you think you’re at the peak of your game, I believe there’s something new to learn from other, less seasoned shooters.

    7. Pick a color

    To get your imagination going, try this:

    Do yourself a favour and choose a hue. The next step is to design a portfolio around that hue. (If you have the luxury of time, use a rainbow of hues!)

    If you want to focus on blue, look for topics with lots of blue tones. Try shooting along the river or looking up towards the clouds. Don’t go inside until the sky turns a sad, beautiful blue after dark. Look for blue walls that have diverse textures and paint hues.

    Find a field of sunflowers or spend some time setting up a still life with bananas and pineapples if you’re drawn to the colour yellow. Aim your camera directly at the sun to flood the scene with warm light.

    The purpose is to stimulate serious consideration of colour’s impact on your photographs. Many photographers lack the ability to work with color, although doing so may greatly improve their photographs.

    8. Shadow a photographer you admire

    Photographers, as a rule, are kind, friendly, and helpful people. There are some photographers who won’t help a student out, but there are also plenty who will go out of their way to guide a budding artist.

    So connect with an awe-inspiring photographer and learn from them. Request that they join you for lunch. You could even be able to shadow them and pick their brain if you’re lucky.

    Take them on a picture stroll and then offer to treat them to supper or drinks on you. Developing into a master photographer is a challenging endeavor; a guiding hand from an established photographer may make all the difference.

    To take things to the next level, offer to hold lights during photoshoots or even to carry their equipment. Just by seeing how they deal with customers, you may learn a lot. The same holds true if they are landscape photographers; offer to help them transport their equipment while they explore potential shooting locations. Take mental notes and pay close attention to what they do!

    9. Read about (and practice using) the golden ratio

    The golden ratio, discovered by Fibonacci, frequently appears in nature, architecture, and art; other names for it include the golden mean, the divine proportion, and the rule of phi. You may use this aesthetically pleasing ratio to improve your compositions.

    The golden ratio is like a more advanced version of the rule of thirds. A few helpful overlays, such as the golden spiral and the phi grid, might get you started writing with the golden ratio in mind.

    Then take your camera and go outside to practice. Experiment with the golden ratio to see how it affects your compositions, then think about how your pictures might look if you used a different method, like the rule of thirds. I’ve found that learning about things like the golden ratio greatly improves one’s odds of taking images that others will want to look at.

    10. Find an unfamiliar setting and stick with it

    Grab your camera and flip to a mode you’re not acquainted with if you’re not sure how to use it. Then make a pact with yourself that you won’t go back to your old method until you’ve adjusted to the new one.

    This method is especially helpful if you are still learning to operate your camera in Auto mode, but it can be used to master any of your camera’s capabilities, including in-camera focus-stacking, AF tracking, and your depth of field preview button.

    I hate to be negative, but using the camera’s preset settings might severely limit your photography potential. You lose all control over the final appearance of the photograph due to these settings, apart from framing it and clicking the shutter.

    To get better results from your camera, consider shooting in either Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, or Program mode instead of Auto. The next day, make it your mission to photograph exclusively in that mode. You’ll be an expert in no time!

    By the way, reading the camera’s handbook is something I’d recommend doing if you haven’t already. The vast majority of photographers are oblivious to the wealth of information available just by thumbing through. On long flights, I’ve even been known to read the guide. (When else would you have time to do it?) As your comfort with one level of control grows, you may progress to the next and beyond.

    11. Consider the difference between inspiration and creativity

    It’s not hard to find lists like this one online, with advice on how to improve your photographic skills. Almost without exception, though, the lists will advise you to search online for examples of photography you like.

    While I can see where some moderation may benefit from this strategy, it’s not one of my top picks.

    Copying the work of others won’t help you find your own voice. If you’re seeking to improve your creativity, why copy the work of others? I think every photographer, no matter how experienced they are, would benefit from reading “Consumption: How Inspiration Killed, Then Ate, Creativity,” a blog piece by Owen Shifflett that has garnered a lot of attention.

    The bottom message is that you shouldn’t go online to research different poses and editing styles for your next session. I fail to see the specialness there. Studying the work of other photographers may be inspiring, but it can also lead to creative paralysis.

    Instead, get a piece of paper and a pen and start jotting down ideas. It will be difficult and time-consuming, but what if you manage to create something truly original in the end? Your very own unique thing?

    12. Find something you’re not comfortable shooting

    Getting out of your usual environment is a great way to improve your photographic skills. You can become stuck in a rut with your camera, composition, and lighting if you usually shoot the same thing, but by challenging yourself with new, scary themes, you can learn new approaches that you can apply to your normal subjects.

    Try shooting landscapes one weekend if all you ever do is picture families and elderly. Suddenly, you’ll have to adjust your camera settings to get the best results with your photos. Posing people, setting up a stage with a backdrop and props, and employing special lighting techniques like shallow depth of field and quick shutter speeds are all things of the past. You’ll need to adopt a wholly novel perspective on your topic instead. You can’t command a landscape to turn left or right, and you can’t utilize your flash to bring out more detail in one spot. A wide aperture, a tripod, a slower shutter speed, and a fresh understanding of composition and lighting are all needed for successful landscape photography.

    I guarantee that you will gain new insights and skills when photographing new things, which you can then apply to your more familiar photographic pursuits.

    13. Use a tripod

    The vast majority of photographers, especially amateurs, use a handheld camera. Tripods are rarely seen in the hands of amateur photographers, and I know of very few who always have one on hand.

    However, when a camera is mounted on a tripod, unexpected results might be captured. Everything comes to a stop all at once. When using a tripod, you can no longer quickly snap shots; instead, you must carefully consider the composition of each shot. If you want to take better shots, investing in a tripod will make you stop and consider what makes a decent image and whether or not it’s even worth hitting the shutter button.

    14. Meet other photographers

    As a photographer, what is one of the finest things you can do? Engage in a network of photographers! While virtual networking events are useful, nothing beats meeting like-minded individuals in person. You may potentially make some new shooting friends, which is always beneficial for expanding your skill set.

    Start by searching online for local photography clubs if you need help connecting with like-minded individuals. You may also seek for groups on or join the local chapter of the PPA. If you’re lucky, there’s a local photography club that meets up regularly for outings, critique sessions, and more.

    How to improve your photography: final words

    In whatever scenario, there it is.

    Quickly and easily boost your photography abilities with these 14 tips! Naturally, you shouldn’t practice all of these at once; instead, browse the list, pick out one or two approaches that resonate with you, and see what you can learn from them.

    Don’t forget to return here whenever you need a pick-me-up or feel like your progress has stalled.

    Have fun and develop your abilities!

    Okay, your turn:

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