5 Free Ways To Improve Your Photography

By now you must have come across plenty of articles and videos that promise to improve your photography. They either want you to buy something, or they promise to teach you some “techniques”. And while not all of such content is helpful, most of them are redundant. There are plenty of ways to improve your photography by bringing in some minor behavioral changes in yourself. Photographers Tony and Chelsea Northrup share some of such unique tips that’ll help you to improve your photography:

Learn To Edit

Editing has always been a vital part of photography. While most new photographers associate editing with digital photography, it has been in existence from the days of the film. Legendary photographer Ansel Adams for instance was a skilled editor in the dark room himself. Having said so, there are many photographers out there who feel that editing is a tedious and a challenging task. The feeling of learning a whole new thing develops a sense of resistance among individuals towards editing. Then there’s another pool of photographers who feel that editing is cheating; but it’s not. It is a part of the creative process.

“Photographers have spent countless hours, and days, and weeks in the dark room making their pictures perfect.”

There is nothing wrong with editing your photos. It has more advantages than disadvantages (if any). Therefore, it is quite essential that you learn the art of editing your photos. Editing your photos also help you to develop your own style. This is quite useful if you are a professional in the field. Once you develop your own personal style of editing, you have your own unique selling proposition (USP) that adds value to the image while making them stand out.

Another advantage of learning to edit is that it teaches you how to take a better picture. Once you’re into editing your photos, you develop the skill to imagine the final image in your mind even before pressing the shutter button. You thus get wary about the small things that can hamper the photo, and invest more time in making the image better.

“I’ve learnt so much about photography just from learning to edit.”

Plan Your Photos

If you’re a good photographer, you can make a good photo wherever you are. But for others, you cannot simply pop-up to a place and start taking good photos. Amazing looking photos need proper planning. You need to understand how the light is going affect the environment you’ll be shooting in. And that needs a lot of planning.

However, with the modern technologies that we have, planning has become a whole lot easier. For instance, Google Earth is a quite handy application that lets you see the cityscape in 3D. You can even adjust the time of day in Google Earth and see how the sun will affect a particular area.

There are other apps like PhotoPills and Sun Seeker that can help you determine where the sun and the moon will be at a particular location, during a particular time. And don’t forget the basic weather app in your phone. Before showing up at a particular location, be sure to check out how the weather will be on the day you get there.

Shoot What You Love

You don’t always have to photograph what others are photographing. Don’t make it a habit of photographing for the sake of making others happy. If you’re passionate about something, make that a part of your photography.

“Sometimes, biologists become animal photographers and they end up being some of the best because they understand animal behavior.”

If you are passionate about cars, try shooting more of them. If you love photographing pets, take more photos of them. Who knows, but you could end up starting a professional career with pet photography.

“Take the time to be conscientious of what you love when you’re shooting it, and focus on that.”

Study the Greats

There are just too many photographers out there today. And sadly, most of the work that we see around is mediocre. You don’t get to learn much looking at mediocre work. Therefore, it has become very important today to study how the best of the best work.

learn from the greats to improve your photography

Going through photo books of well know photographers is a simple way to try and understand how they used to work. When studying their work, pay attention to their composition, and also try to grasp the story telling aspect of photography.

Even movies and TV shows can be a great source of inspiration for photography. Pay attention to how they use visuals,  colors, contrast, and lighting for effective story telling. Trying to recreate the work of the best cinematographers can teach you a great deal.

Game of thrones inspired lighting

Game of Thrones inspired lighting

“You can learn so much while just sitting there watching TV.”

See Like a Camera

“Things never quite look like how you see them with your eyes.”

With two eyes, and the processing power of our brain, we get a three dimensional vision. Further, our brain also tends to process some distractions out. The cameras on the other hand do not have such ability. It is thus important that you see like a camera before taking a photo. You can do so by simply closing one of your eyes. This takes away the depth perception, and also lets you see more of the distractions that might be creeping into the shot.

Also, when you’re taking a shot, you tend to associate emotions and other senses with the photo. For instance, if you’re taking a photo at the beach, you hear the waves, feel the wind, and may be even smell the ocean. Such senses and emotions when associated with an image, make it special. And even if the image seems great to you, other people can shrug it off as a mediocre photo.

“Your camera doesn’t capture everything that you see and feel.”

This is why it becomes essential that you learn to isolate what you see from the feelings and emotions when taking a photo. See like a camera does, and develop a robotic eye for composition.

These are some really great tips from the Northrups. What tip has helped you to improve your photography?

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One response to “5 Free Ways To Improve Your Photography”

  1. Priscilla A Galbraith says:

    Maybe I’ve missed some thing in the helpful explication here – but – I’d like to rephrase this sentence above
    FROM: “… it becomes essential that you learn to isolate what you see from the feelings and emotions when taking a photo. See like a camera does, and develop a robotic eye for composition. ”
    TO: … it becomes essential that you learn to INTEGRATE what you see WITH YOUR feelings and emotions when taking a photo. See like a camera does, AND develop an EMOTIONAL eye for composition.”

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