5 Things You Need to Do to Become a Better Photographer

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Good photographers aren’t made overnight. And most accomplished photographers will admit that their earliest attempts at the craft were pretty unimpressive. In this inspiring interview, San Francisco based photographer Jim Goldstein shares his advice for novice photographers looking to improve their skills:

Goldstein’s earliest experience with a camera left him feeling incredibly discouraged. His first roll of film came back from the developer without a single good image, and he temporarily gave up the hobby. Now, as a successful professional photographer, he shares what it takes to go from snapping those first failed shots to creating photographs that make you proud.

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How to Get Better at Photography

1. Have fun.

Taking yourself too seriously is a good way to get frustrated or quit altogether. Remember to keep photography fun. Enjoy the experience of learning and come to terms with the fact that getting great photos requires time and practice. And lots of it.

2. Know your equipment.

There are no shortcuts. If you don’t understand depth of field, aperture, or shutter speed—just to name a few of photography’s technical aspects—you’ll get discouraged quickly. The key to getting the photos you envision is to know how your camera works.

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3. Focus on your subject.

Free your mind of other worries and focus on the subject you’re trying to capture. Photography is more than pressing a button. To make art, you must be present and focused while you’re out shooting.

4. Follow a routine.

You can prevent many common mistakes simply by coming up with a routine to follow each time you go out to shoot. Keep a mental or physical checklist: charge your batteries, format your memory cards, clean your lens, check your camera settings, etc. When following your list becomes habit, you’ll be less likely to make silly mistakes.

5. Never give up.

Goldstein’s most valuable piece of advice is to keep at it. Every photographer, no matter how experienced, has been tempted to pack away his or her camera after a disheartening shoot. Do not give in to this temptation.

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“Don’t take failure as an excuse to stop… No great photographers were masters overnight.”

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