Does this sound like you? You’ve taken snapshots for years and enjoyed it. You’re at the point where you want to get better at photography but you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed. Well, help is at hand!
Here are 8 tips to get you started on the path to better pictures:
1) Don’t Feel Overwhelmed. It’s easy to see all the great photography that’s appearing in magazines, online and everywhere else we turn and think – “I’ll never be good at this.” Try not to judge your work against others. If you’re enjoying it and having fun, that’s all that matters. And if you are willing to work at it, you will get better over time and enjoy shooting more and more. Here’s a terrific recent blog post on judging our own work that is definitely worth reading: Why Bother?
2) Shoot what you Love. If you love shooting people, shoot people. But if what really charges you up is shooting driftwood on the beach, do that. If you’re shooting what interests you, you’re going to stick with it and make the effort to improve your skills.
3) Spend Time getting to know Your Camera. I know, I know, manuals are no fun. But camera manuals have gotten better in recent years. And there are some great third party guides out there. You don’t need to learn everything the camera does – but get the basics down – it will make your life a lot easier.
4) Look at Your Own Work Critically. That is, critically in a good way. After each shoot, go over all of your images carefully. What worked and what didn’t? What can I try next time to create a better image? Do I know how to do that or do I need help, which leads me to –
5) Consider Courses, Workshops and Private Tutoring. I’ve done a lot of this – and continue to. Photographers by and large are a helpful bunch. Ask a friend to help you if you’re stumped on something. Ask me! Join a local camera club – the fellowship and learning can be contagious.
6) Study the Work of Others. Go to photography exhibits at museums. Clip photos you like out of magazines as shoot ideas. Look at the photography section on Pinterest. Try to figure out the lighting of images that appeal to you. All of this can help inspire your own work.
7) Learn Editing Software. Yes, Photoshop is expensive and hard to learn. But there are plenty of simple photo-editing programs that are easy to learn. Photoshop Elements is $64 and is a fabulous program. By doing some simple edits to your pictures – in just a few minutes – you will vastly improve them. It’s worth the time to learn how.
8) Work Hard – and Enjoy! You may be reading these tips and think – Wow! This is a lot of work! Perhaps it is, but I can tell you it will surely be rewarding. Even the “work” part is fun. Take baby steps. Keep plugging away. Keep your eye on the prize, which is creating an image that satisfies you and those who see it. It’s a great time to be a photographer – take the leap!
Working both in the studio and on location, photographer Blake Robinson serves the Connecticut communities of Darien, New Canaan, Stamford, Norwalk, Westport and Greenwich.