Saturday, July 23, 2011

10 Tips to Help You Improve Your Photography

Reading books, attending workshops and browsing the Internet are all good things that can help you take better photos.  Read the following tips, they will improve the way you create amazing photos and how you see photography.

Know your camera – Your camera has lots of features that most photographers including yourself never use, maybe not even know they exist or what they are for.  Aperture, shutter speed and focus are fundamental and very important, but they many more that can help you be a better photographer and spend less time retouching and fixing your average photos.  There are functions like multiple exposure, time lapse, mirror lock-up, metering and many others.  Take your time to learn about them and get creative.  Creativity will change your photography.  Do you know where your camera’s manual is?  Time to take it out, go through it, experiment with each function and learn what you can create.  You’ll be amazed.

Take your camera into your room and turn off the light – Literally follow this instruction go into any room in your house and turn off the light, grab your camera and lets see how much your actually learn about it.  Sit down and change the shutter speed, the mode, aperture, ISO, focus mode, etc.  If you can actually do this is because you really followed the first tip and you know your camera well enough.

Enter photography contests – This is a fun activity and a great way to learn.  Look for contests that will actually provide critique and feedback.  There are many contests out there that decide on the winner by how many friends you convinced to vote for your photo.  But there are also some great photo contests, just spend some time looking and finding them.

Choose your best 25 images and have friends rate them – Print your 25 best images and place them on a flat surface.  Ask each of your friends to order them from their favorite to the one he or her likes the least.  When they are finished ask them why they placed them in that order.  You will be shocked at some of the comments and how people that are not into photography view things.  Their comments will help you understand some concepts that will help you improve.

Choose a couple of pictures that you like from sites like flickr and 500pix – When you are done, compare them, analyze them and critique them.  See what you like the most and why?  Look closely and see what they have in common, look at the metadata and find out how they were shot and the settings used.  Think about why they used those settings and what would have happened if the settings were different. 

Join a photo club and go out with your photo buddies – Photography is lots of fun when you can share the experience with others.  Look for local photographers, or a local photo club and plan outings.  Going out with several photographers allows you to experiment with other cameras, with new lenses, learn new techniques and practice new tips.  It’s fun and a great way to learn.

Learn a new photo technique at least every week – There are many different techniques out there and nowadays it is very simple to find them and to learn from them.  Google “Photography Technique Tutorial” and you will find thousands of them.  If you are very visual use the ones in Youtube, they will guide you step by step.  Another great resource is Google+, the amount of photographers participating is growing every day and the tips are awesome.  After you see them or read about them go out and take a couple of shots using the technique you just learn.  Practice makes perfect!

Shoot night photography – Shooting night photography is probably the best way to learn photography.  Automatic does not work.  You have to learn how to balance ISO, aperture and shutter speed.  You are forced to use a tripod and by doing so you learn how to use it properly and reinforces proper shooting techniques.  You will also learn how to focus on the light.  At the end you will be rewarded with amazing images.

Learn as much as you can – Research, ask, practice and most important cover a wide range of topics and learn about different styles of photography.  After you’ve done that you will probably know by then which style you prefer the most.  When you do, dig deeper, learn and specialize yourself, there is a lot to learn.  When you become real good at one style, sit down, relax and decide what’s next.  Start learning a different style, it will be a completely different experience and you will love it.

Show-off your work – There is no better feeling than someone commenting on your image and liking it.  There are many ways in which you can show-off your work.  Post it online, for example in smugmug, here you can have your own mini-website and share your work.  Enlarge, print a couple of your images and hang them at home or at the office.  Build a photo page of your work in Facebook.  There are many options and at the end you will feel proud of your work and motivated to do better.

Enjoy shooting and creating GREAT images!!

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