10 Ways to Improve Your Photography This Year

Reading books, attending workshops, and browsing the Internet are all good things that can help you take better photos. The following tips will improve the way you create amazing photos and how you see photography.

improve photography

Photo by Mark S; ISO 100, f/20.0, 10s, 24mm.

1. Know your camera.

Your camera has lots of features that most photographers—including yourself—never use. You might not even know they exist or what they’re for. Aperture, shutter speed, and focus are fundamental and very important, but there are many more features that can help you be a better photographer and spend less time retouching and fixing your average photos. There are functions like multiple exposure, timelapse, mirror lock-up, and metering, just to name a few. Take your time to learn about them and get creative. Creativity will change your photography. Do you know where your camera’s manual is? Time to take it out, go through it, experiment with each function, and learn what you can create. You’ll be amazed.

2. Turn off the light.

Literally follow this instruction. Go into any room in your house and turn off the light, grab your camera, and let’s see how much you’ve actually learned about it. Sit down and change the shutter speed, aperture, ISO, focus mode, etc. If you can actually do this, it’s because you really followed the first tip and you know your camera well enough.

3. Enter photography contests.

This is a fun activity and a great way to learn. Look for contests that will actually provide critique and feedback. There are many contests out there that decide on the winner by how many friends you convinced to vote for your photo. But there are also some great photo contests—just spend some time looking for them.

entering photo contests

Photo by Laya Clode; ISO 500, f/5.6, 1/80s, 55mm.

4. Choose your best images and have friends rate them.

Print your 25 best images and place them on a flat surface. Ask each of your friends to order them from their favorite to their least favorite. When they’re finished, ask them why they placed them in that order. You might be shocked at some of the comments and how people that are not into photography view things. Their comments will help you understand some concepts that will guide you to improve.

5. Critique other photographers’ work.

Choose a couple of pictures that you like from sites like Flickr and 500px. When you’re done, compare them, analyze them, and critique them. See what you like the most and why. Look closely and see what the photos have in common. Look at the metadata and find out how they were shot and which settings were used. Think about why the photographers used those settings and what would have happened if the settings were different.

6. Join a photo club and go out with your photo buddies.

Photography is lots of fun when you can share the experience with others. Look for local photographers or a local photo club and plan outings. Going out with several photographers allows you to experiment with other cameras and lenses, learn new techniques, and practice. It’s fun and a great way to learn.

photo club

Photo by Drew Gilliam; ISO 12800, f/4, 1/100s, 35mm.

7. Learn a new photo technique at least every week

There are many different techniques out there, and nowadays it is very simple to find them and to learn from them. If you’re very visual, look for instructional videos online; they will guide you step by step. After you learn about a new skill or technique, go out and take a couple of shots using it. Practice makes perfect!

8. Shoot night photography.

Shooting at night is probably the best way to learn photography. Automatic does not work. You have to learn how to balance ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. You are forced to use a tripod, and by doing so, you learn how to use it properly and reinforce proper shooting techniques. You will also learn how to focus on the light. In the end, you will be rewarded with amazing images.

night traffic photo

Photo by Mesut Kaya; ISO 100, f/22, 30s, 16mm.

9. Learn as much as you can.

Research, ask, practice—and most important—cover a wide range of topics and learn about different styles of photography. After you’ve done that, you’ll probably know which style you prefer. Dig deeper, learn, and specialize; there is a lot to learn. When you become really good at one style, sit down, relax, and decide what’s next. Start learning a different style, it will be a completely new experience, and you’ll love it.

10. Show off your work.

There is no better feeling than someone commenting on your image and liking it. There are many ways in which you can show off your work. Post it online. For example, on SmugMug you can have your own mini-website. Enlarge and print a couple of your images and hang them at home or at the office. Build a photo page of your work on Facebook. There are many options, and at the end you will feel proud of your photography and motivated to do better.

Enjoy shooting and creating GREAT images!!

About the Author:
This article was written by Joaquin Duenas. PhotoBlog: theduenitas.blogspot.com. The Duenitas Digital World is based in Miami, Florida and covers South Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America.

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