6 Steps to Become a Better Photographer

Regardless if you’ve been working as a professional
photographer for some years already or if you’re just beginning the journey
with a camera — you must have heard a couple of harsh words on your work;

  • Your photographs
    are dull and predictable.
  • These
    pictures are fine as long as you’re just a hobbyist.
  • With
    photo editing software I could become a photographer, as well.
  • Expensive photography gear won’t make you a pro!

We’ve all been there — deep in the pit of self-doubt as
artists. How to quite down the haters, to put the constructive critic into
effect, not to give up, and to keep doing better work? Let’s follow the process
step by step.

End The Photo Editing Software Dilemma

Digitalisation is a controversial matter in many fields
— education, literature, games, and photography, as well. That raises a dilemma
and the question of to use editing software or not to use? The answer is simple
— use responsibly!

Post-processing your pictures is not a sin unless you don’t
pay attention to the work with your camera itself. The main reason for the
editing software fuss is disregarding the art of working with the photography

People tend to forget that digital cameras have
different modes, too. E.g., you can find landscape photography mode on your
DSLR as well as specified software settings such as landscape lightroom presets.

And does the variety of working modes make digital cameras
worse than analogue ones? No, it doesn’t! Different modes not only make the
photographer’s work easier but also give them more possibilities for creative
thinking and develop their own workflow and style.

Make Friends with Film Cameras

Even though the digitalisation of photography and
post-processing shouldn’t be considered as an artistic regression nor the real
artist’s enemy, it doesn’t mean that we can just toss analogue cameras aside
and forget they ever existed.

Getting to know the history of photography is necessary to understand what we have to deal with today, like where different photography trends and techniques come from and to develop a deep respect for photography as a kind of craft.

Experimenting with a film camera will help you understand how your DSLR works and how to use it more consciously.

The limits of film photography will also make you a more
aware and attentive artist and a more careful camera user. You won’t be able to
shoot as many pictures as with your DSLR. Photographic film has a determined
number of frames that you can use and you have to be extremely careful while
changing films in the camera — it can get overexposed very easily. However, you
can find tutorials on overexposed films restoration with a little help of image
editing software.

Keep Moving

Come closer or walk a few steps away, squat or lay down
on the ground with your camera. Photography hates laziness! Being in constant
motion while shooting is something you can learn most effectively with film
camera especially because of its limited focus length — and you can’t change
the lens!

One of my favourite exercises is shooting buildings at
different times of the day from completely different angles and positions. They
can be just as impressive models as people if you use enough creativity. And
they won’t move even an inch so you’re forced to do all the work.

Learn First and Then Stretch the Rules

Just as in any other kind of art, there are basic rules
and traditional techniques also in photography. To become a respected photographer
it’s essential not only to develop your own style and way of thinking but also
to be well-educated.

The most famous example is the work of Picasso — people
see his abstract paintings and say that they could doodle something like that,
as well. What they can’t see, it’s Picasso’s solid artistic education. Before
he created his widely recognisable style, he had received proper education

Once you get familiar with the basics of photography,
you’ll be ready for experimenting with the classic composition rules, ways of
framing, sources and direction of light, etc.

If you’re a professional photographer already and have
all the technical knowledge acquired but can feel that you’re lacking the
artistic sense, don’t hesitate to reach for the basics again! There’s no shame
in re-educating yourself or to complement your current knowledge.

Don’t Avoid the Company — Participate and Contribute!

Regardless of how much of an introverted,
individualistic artist you are, you just can’t avoid the company of other
photographers. Such isolation is actually unhealthy for your own art and slows
down your artistic development.

Contact with both professionalists and hobbyists lets
you get a wider perspective on your work. Honest people not involved in your
work directly are a source of constructive criticism. They might also give you
refreshing tips on your workflow that can easily become rigid and inefficient.

You can both participate and contribute no matter what
your level of photographic revelation is! Sign up to facebook groups and
special platforms for artists generally or photographers specifically. Look for
local photography clubs and courses in your city. If you can’t find any,
organise a meeting of befriended artists, yourself!

Read and Admire

Read textbooks, manuals, magazines, blogs… just keep
reading and improve your photography knowledge constantly. Don’t forget to
educate yourself on art generally, as well. Films and paintings can be a great
dose of inspiration for you.

Admiring other artist’s work is crucial for your
development, as well. Look for photo galleries and exhibitions, film and
photography museums, and absorb their spirit! Don’t stop educating yourself and practice every
single day. The engagement and hard work will pay off quicker than you imagine!