Practice Makes Perfect…and Gets Better Photos

The effort you put into your photography directly affects the quality of your photos. It is a rule of life. Sometimes people are lucky, but most of the time, the result of little effort is little reward. Gary Player, a world class golfer, always said that the harder he practiced the luckier he got.

Why is practicing photography so important?

Our brains are amazing, and when we repeat something, it creates pathways to the brain. We develop something called muscle memory. This is really important in sports and physical activity and, to a degree, it affects your skill acquisition with photography. You don’t have to think as much; everything comes more naturally.

As you learn digital photography and acquire skills and techniques, they need to be regularly practiced in order for them to become entrenched in your mind. They should become second nature to you. A pianist has to practice her scales, even though they are tedious and monotonous. There is a good reason for this. When it becomes second nature, it allows your brain to concentrate on the intricacies of the performance. The same goes for photography. The creative photographer doesn’t concentrate on getting the techniques right but rather on the creative side of image taking.

3 Exercises to Make Practicing More Pleasant

1. Go on a photo walk

Get out of your home and into the outdoors. You’ll have more subjects and there is more variety to the images you can create. There is just something about the outdoors that makes you feel good. Set yourself a goal as to what you want to achieve and then work toward it. You’ll get good exercise and great images.

how to practice photography

Photo by Jim Lukach; ISO 100, f/8.0, 1/125-second exposure.

2. Shoot one subject in 50 different ways

This may seem difficult, but once you start it gets easier. Find something that you like or that appeals to you, then attempt to take fifty photos of it from different angles and in different ways. This really pushes you to the limits but what it gets you thinking outside the box and trying news things. I can promise you that you will come up with some great images.

3. Take the alphabet challenge

You can do this anywhere–indoors or outdoors. What you must do with this little challenge is take the alphabet or a series of letters in the alphabet and shoot objects that either begin with the letter or look like the letter. This task gets you thinking and, of course, practicing your photography.

photography practice

photo by Bob West

The object of these little exercises is to give you ideas so that you’ll take more photos. One of the biggest hindrances for new photographers is deciding what to shoot. If you are not taking photos, you aren’t practicing. And practice makes perfect.

I teach photography for a living and my mantra is “practice, practice, practice and when you have finished practicing, practice more.” It’s the concert pianist, the top golfer, and the talented artist who practice the most that become the most proficient at what they are doing. Happy shooting!

About the Author:
Wayne Turner has been teaching photography for 25 years. Passionate about photography, radio and video. He is a Radio CCFm producer and presenter in Cape Town.

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3 responses to “Practice Makes Perfect…and Gets Better Photos”

  1. Steve says:

    Practicing imperfect technique won’t help surely?

  2. Wayne says:

    Always someone to pop my balloon:-) thanks for the comment.

  3. Nadine says:

    Imperfect techniques will be perfected through practice only :) I’m doing so much reading about photography at the moment and do sometimes feel frustrated that I can’t get out to new places to practice; but doing the alphabet project or photographing the same things from different angles/dof/shutter speed are all good ideas that help the theory sink in.

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