10 Ways to Become a Better Photographer

Become a Better Photographer

I don’t know a single photographer who doesn’t want to get better.

Whether it’s learning a new photography technique, improving their composition, or simply getting more familiar with their camera.

Every photographer wants to get stunning shots that they can be proud to share with family and friends.

Personally, I hope I never stop improving. I find there’s always something new to be learned in the world of photography. There are always more stories to be told.

But it’s also nice to feel like you’re making some progress. So here are a few tips to help you improve your photography in just 30 days.

Enjoy the journey!

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1. Take LOTS of Photos.

We now live in the digital age of photography where you can fire off as many shots as you like without having to pay extra for film.

Back in the old days, you only got 24 (or 36) exposures per roll of film.

So firing off hundreds of shots would get quite pricey.

These days, you can make mistakes for free!

And that’s probably one of the most liberating aspects of digital photography.

Practice and experimentation is one of the best ways to become a better photographer.

Try shooting from different perspectives. Different angles. Play with the camera settings. See how they affect the photo.

Because the more you practice, the closer you’ll get to finding your own unique photo style.

Yes. There are plenty of rules and guidelines you can follow. But simply taking LOTS of photos is by far, one of the fastest ways to become a better photographer.

2. Get Inspired!

The Internet has made it easy to study the works of some of the best photographers online. Simply head over to Flickr or 500px.com, to get endless photo inspiration.

Simply type in your favorite subject to photograph, press enter, and you’ll tap into an endless amount of inspiration. Look at how they’re framing the shots. The composition. Find some that you really like and figure out what makes them interesting to you.

Then apply those lessons to your own photos.

If you click on any of these photos, you can also find out what sort of camera settings we’re used to capture some of your favorite shots. Of course, depending on the lighting and your location, you probably won’t use the exact same settings.

But it can often give you a good starting point. It’s always interesting to see the “recipe” behind each photo.

For example, if you’re looking to create silky smooth water, you can study similar photos on Flickr.com.

Flickr Camera Settings

3. Use a Prime Lens for 30 Days.

One of the best ways to improve your photography is actually to keep things simple.

You can do that by using just one lens. In fact I recommend using a 50mm lens for 30 days. You can get a very good 50mm prime lens for under $200.

The 50mm lens is super sharp and creates beautiful bokeh. It’s the perfect combination of picture quality, sharpness, versatility, and affordability.

It works great for portraits, landscapes, citsyscapes, street photography, and more. If I had to choose just ONE lens to use for the rest of my life, this would be it.

You can even add some macro extension tubes and make your way into the world of macro photography.

Plus, using a prime lens is honestly one of the best ways to learn photography.

Since you don’t have the ability to zoom, you have to compose your shots “on your feet”.

Meaning… if you want to get in closer to your subject, you’ll have to literally move in closer to get the shot. If you want to capture a larger frame, you’ll have
to move back.

The prime lens forces you to slow down and focus more on composition and framing.

So take the challenge!

Use a 50mm (or 35mm) prime lens for 30 days and watch how your composition and creativity improves.

Plus, by using just one lens, it gives you more time to enjoy photography, instead of carrying around gear and changing out lenses.

4. Focus on just ONE thing.

Untitled by Drew Butler on 500px.com

I know how hard this can be as a photographer.

We see a new technique or piece of gear and it’s like being a kid in a candy store.

We want to try it all!

But I would encourage you to focus on just ONE type of photography for 30 days.

It could be landscapes, street photography, macros, portrait, etc…

But choose one.

Because each subject requires a different technical expertise and mindset.

Instead, choose ONE focus so that you can master that subject completely.

If you love landscapes, explore as many mountains, lakes, and fields that you can over the next 30 days. Even within this one genre, there
are still unlimited possibilities.

If you want, you can get even more specific and focus exclusively on flowers, trees, or insects.

The more narrow your focus, the more you’ll master that particular subject.

The more you’ll be able to explore the many different angles, lighting, and composition of that particular subject.

And if you use just one lens for this particular subject, you’ll also notice that your eye for capturing great shots will continue to improve.

With minimal gear in hand, you’re able to focus exclusively on capturing a great shot. It also helps you master that specific lens as well.

By the end of these 30 days, you should be a Jedi lens master 🙂

5. Always have your camera with you.

When I started my online business, one of the things I started doing was carrying around a notepad. This allowed me to write down all of the different ideas I thought about throughout the day.

So instead of taking up mental space, I could just write it down and move on to the next thing. This is a practice that I’ve been doing for years now. Taking a notepad pretty much everywhere I go.

As a photographer, you should always have your camera with you. You never know when a priceless photo opportunity is going to show up.

We’ve all had that moment where we missed a photo opportunity because we didn’t have our camera on hand.

If you want to become a better photographer, one of the easiest ways to do so is simply carrying it with you at all times. This will also get you taking more photos.

And like anything, the more you practice, the better you get.

6. Take Pictures. Even when you don’t want to.

Let’s face it. We all have days where we’d rather just chill out on the couch and watch Netflix.

I find that those are often some of the best times to go out on an adventure!

Grab your camera and find something interesting to shoot. Photograph something you’ve never captured before. Find something unique among the mundane.

Challenge yourself to take at least 10 photos per day.

You could do that in just 10 to 15 minutes.

But the compounding effect of that daily practice is astounding.

The more photos you take, the more likely you are to get a few gems.

Now… I’m not saying to fire off shots like a machine gun.

You still need to put some thought and effort into your composition.

But the more photos you take. The more mistakes you make. The better photographer you’ll become.

I’ve often found that the best way to get a great photo is simply to take a lot of them. Even the slightest changes in composition can produce significantly different photos.

Every time you change the perspective, you’ll get a new (and sometimes) interesting effect.

It’s hard to know beforehand which one of those you’re going to like best.

So don’t be afraid to experiment and make mistakes. Lots of them!

Many a happy accident has been created simply by being willing to make mistakes.

There is a creative freedom that comes when you’re no longer worried about getting the “perfect shot”.

7. Upload your work weekly for critiques.

There are hundreds of places online where you can share your work and get critiques from other photographers.

Getting feedback on your photos is one of the best ways to improve your photography. Because it gives you a completely new perspective on your
work.

You can share your photos in Facebook Groups, photography forums, or on Reddit.

Reddit has an excellent group called Photocritique.

It’s a group of over 300K photographers who share and help critique other people’s work.

It’s a very active group with lots of helpful community members.

There are also a number of excellent forums where you can get photo critiques.

Some of my favorites include the UglyHedgehog, Photography Talk, and PhotoCamel.

8. Get closer.

Robert Capa once said, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you aren’t close enough.”

It’s a simple piece of advice. But I find that it’s almost always true.

Fill the frame with what you like.

If you fill the frame with what you find most interesting, it creates instant impact and makes for a more powerful photo.

Often times, we’re just too far away from the subject.

Get in closer and you’ll often find the quality of your images often goes up.

It’s easy to leave too much space. Too much stuff around the main subject.

Things get lost in the clutter.

When it comes to photography, less is more. Spend some time thinking about your subject. What sort of composition do you want to create? What story do
you want to tell?

Then fill the frame with what you like and take the shot.

Of course, this advice won’t make sense for every photographic situation.

But more often than not, you can often improve your photos simply by getting closer.

The key is being willing to experiment from a variety of different perspectives.

9. Change your perspective.

Shooting at eye level can quickly become boring.

You can capture new and interesting photos simply by changing your position.

Get down low. Shoot from above. Shoot from below. Lie down. Move from side to side. Find a unique perspective that no else is seeing.

One of the best ways to practice this is with your pets. Bend down and shoot at the same level as your furry friend. This puts you into an entirely new world. And makes for a more compelling photo.

10. Take advantage of golden hour.

As you probably already know, light plays a huge part in getting great photos. And the golden hour is one of the best times to capture great photos.

Some photographers even call it the “Magic Hour”.

This is the time of day shortly after sunrise or just before sunset. During this window of time, the light is softer than when the Sun is higher in the sky.

It’s also a more diffused light. Which makes it easier to capture a more evenly exposed photo.

The light during golden hour is soft, warm, dimensional, and often has a magical feel about it. Giving you the ability to capture photos that are hard to replicate.

Even with the hundreds of filters, actions, and editing capabilities available these days, there’s nothing quite like the golden hour.

Of course, I recommend you practice in all sorts of lighting conditions.

But I would certainly make an effort to shoot during the golden hour.

Your photos will thank you for it 🙂

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