I’ve been looking through my catalog of photos and I noticed something that I think you can only see when looking back: that my photos have improved dramatically just in the last year. While that makes me really happy, I have to be honest, I’ve not been putting in as much of an effort as Jon has to get better. He’s reading a book about the science of light (I wish I was joking), watches a zillion YouTube videos on how to improve his photos, how to edit, and go out shooting, plus he’s just handling his camera a lot more than me. But despite all of his technical improvements, sometimes when we travel, he picks one of my photos to edit, over his own. They’re usually not technically very good, but he often likes how I’ve framed them.
I credit years of design work to helping me have a pretty good eye for composition, but lately I’ve been thinking it’s not really enough. Perhaps I’ll explain in a separate blog post, but I’ve been thinking a lot about “leaning in” to what is working in life, and embracing the current that takes you somewhere. In this case, with photography and landscapes in particular, I seem to have a knack for it. I’ve gotten quite far just coasting, but I’m thinking along the lines of actually nurturing and honing my skills not only to improve, but to see if I can get really good. I’ve always enjoyed taking pictures – I’d just like to take it up a notch.
Here’s a few tips I plan to use to improve my photography:
1. Get Out and Shoot
Click! Click! Click! It’s the best way to get better! Take a lot of photos, go out and find things to photograph, and be interested in the world around you. I always enjoy going outside and finding compositions, but I also like creating little experiments in the studio with objects or knick knacks. There’s always something to shoot, even if it’s just your cat sleeping in his bed. Hey, it’s better than nothing!
2. Start a Project
I love seeing people come up with a series of photos, like this one and this one, and it inspires me to think I could come up with my own photography project. I enjoy visiting old, historic houses, so maybe that’s a project – or wearing my Wonder Woman costume in an unexpected place, like a grocery store or laundromat! Figuring out the project, no matter how big or small, is really part of the fun, and helps set a clear goal.
3. Join a Club
As far as I can tell, there are many photography clubs around the country, so why not join one and meet a few other photographers? We’ve got our eye on joining a group that specializes in natural landscapes, since that’s what we’re both interested in, but there’s basically clubs for all types of photography. The community is huge and there’s a lot of people to learn from, but they also hold regular competitions that will give you something to strive for with your work. I’m looking forward to the critique and feedback as well – it’s one of the easiest ways to improve.
4. Get Your Work Printed
I have so many photos I would love to print, I just haven’t gotten around to it. Well there’s nothing like staring at your own photo above your desk to get you eager to replace it with something better. It’s also a heck of a lot cheaper and who doesn’t like to decorate with their own art?
5. Take a Class
I’ve taken online camera classes on A Beautiful Mess and on Skillshare, but I understood very little at the time, given how minimal my experience was and with the iPhone as my primary camera. So to make sure I’ve really got a grip on what I know now, I’m going to go back through this Skillshare teacher’s classes and watch all his videos. And, don’t forget, there are also so many amazing classes on YouTube FOR FREE! You can find some awesome stuff, if you just spend a little time looking. Do you want to get better at editing? Making filters? Using lights? There are hundreds of well made videos on every topic that there’s really no reason to not be improving. Another option is taking a workshop, for in-person training, which is obviously more expensive, but might be more effective for some people.
Of course there’s a ton of things one can do – but these are just a few of the things I’m choosing to help me improve! My biggest challenge is getting out and shooting when I’m not traveling, so that’s where I’m going to start. Wish me luck!
Do you want to improve your photography? What do you struggle with the most? Share with me in the comments below!