Simply owning a good camera does not make one a good photographer. It could be said that it is not the camera but the one who holds the camera that makes a good picture. So, if your goal is to become a better photographer, there are quite a few paths that you might take to reach that goal. You must first learn the mechanics of taking pictures, and then you must learn the art of good photography. This article is about some of the paths to reach the end point of becoming a better photographer.
1. Get a good camera. Yes, an artist can make a good picture with a pinhole camera or a cell phone, but you will want to make your pictures the best they can be by mastering the mechanics as well as the art. Many teachers recommend getting a nice mid-range DSLR camera. With this kind camera, you can learn all the techniques of professional picture making, should that be your ultimate goal. However, if you just want to be better at the craft of creating images, it will still serve you well.
2. Find photographers you like. Study the photos that you have a personal interest in. Explore websites and galleries. But don’t just look at them, study them. Look at the composition and the lighting, trying to figure out what it is about the picture that makes it special for you. You then try to emulate the qualities that make it special in your own photography. Be patient with yourself, since this may not happen right away. Practice and patience will pay off.
3. Join photography websites. There are many websites that have memberships. You become part of a community where you can share your images by uploading them and having others comment and critique them. You will get lots of valuable feedback. But you will also forge some extremely valuable friendships that will help you along your way toward improvement.
4. Join a photo club or society. This is similar to the method described above, except you will be physically communicating with your new friends. Don’t be bashful about asking for help with your craft. There is nothing most photographers like more than explaining how they got that great shot. There are monthly meetings and the chance for going on outings with the club. Again, these experiences are where you can learn very quickly as you work together with your peers and compare your images.
5. Go on photography field trips/workshops. If you subscribe to photo magazines, you can find lots of ads for workshops and trips with a teaching photographer. These trips are usually a day to several days in length and have a limited number of participants so that each one can get personal attention from the professional. This is an excellent opportunity to learn new skills and hone some existing ones.
6. Take a class. There are a couple of options for taking classes. One is to take a class at the camera store where you buy your camera. Many quality shops offer these classes as part of the purchase price. Another place to find a class is at your local continuing education school. Check with your local board of education to get in touch with the right office. This kind of class can be for beginners or intermediate photographers, but the best part is that it is usually inexpensive.
7. Go to photography school. If you are serious about becoming a professional photographer, going to an accredited school of photography is your best bet. You will learn all the aspects of the art, and when you graduate, you will already be an accomplished expert. It is by far the best way to reach your goal.
Improving your photography skills can come in many different “colors”. Your first step should be to determine what your goal is. If you just want to get better at photography as a hobby, you can spend some time at the camera forums and practicing around the home. If, on the other hand, your goal is to become a professional, an art school will get you there much faster than any of the other suggestions. Most folks fall somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.
About the Author:
Wayne Rasku has been an amateur photographer since 2003. He runs sites related to photography classes in Atlanta, Georgia, and a Canon lens organization site.
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