By Daniel S.
1. Wait, visualise, compose… shoot.
Do you remember the first time you shot photos with a digital camera? There was no film to burn so you could snap like crazy. One way to improve your photography is to stop and think; unless (of course) you are shooting action. Have a look at your subject, think about the result you are after, visualise the image and take the time to compose the shot. Treat the shoot like you only have one roll of film, with 36 precious images.
2. Change Up the Flash
Traditionally a flash unit will sit on top of the camera pointing directly at the subject. This is often not the most interesting light and for ‘people photography’ is not very flattering. The light is often harsh and causes shadows. We sell a range of flash accessories that will enhance your flash photography. Firstly, diffusers are good to stop harsh shadows and to generally soften the light. Secondly, an accessory to get the flash unit off camera is a great way to change the mood of the photograph, allowing for more dynamic images. Have a look at our post on flash accessories for a little more information.
3. Learn About Your Camera
When was the last time you sat down with your camera manual and had a good read? It is good practice to learn about your camera; the settings, the features and the limitations. Learning about what your camera can do will help you when you are out in the field taking photographs.
Keep the manual in your bag and revisit it as you need it. Are you already completely familiar with your camera? Modern cameras are filled with hundreds of options; have a browse through the manual anyway, you are bound to find a setting that you did not know about or had forgotten how to use.
4. Get Inspired
Go to the library, read a photography or art book, peruse the Internet, go to an exhibition – there is some amazing work out there waiting to be discovered. Have a look at what other photographers have done or are doing. How does it relate to your work? You do not want to copy someone’s work directly but everyone needs inspiration and much great art builds on existing ideas.
As a sidenote, beware of the pull of the Internet – don’t spend your precious shooting time behind your computer. This leads to our next point…..
5. Get Out There and SHOOT SOME PHOTOGRAPHS!
Having ideas for photographs is essential and doing test shoots can be a good way to learn how to use the equipment. But the best way to improve your photography is to get out there and shoot! Want to be a documentary style street shooter? Get out there and shoot some street images. Want to be a fashion photographer? Get a friend with a good sense of style and organise a shoot.
Some of the best learning is done when trying to solve a problem, like finding a solution for a specific lighting situation. We would not recommend photographing a wedding with no experience but shooting some practice portraits of friends is a great start. Every high profile photographer started somewhere, quite often with a cheap camera and an idea.