Who this POST is NOT for:
I am going to share 5 ways to improve your photos. Simple tips to help you get your photography better. While the ONLY way to truly improve is with practice and asking for honest feedback from someone you trust, It is my hope that if you follow these tips you will gain a better understanding and what’s important. NOW my disclaimer. This post is NOT for anyone who is just starting out, if you are wanting to go from Auto to Manual this post is not for you. This is for someone who already has experience and is familiar with shooting and understands manual mode.
Get familiar with your gear.
It is easy to get bogged down with Gear Acquisition Syndrome (GAS) but it is important to realize that the best gear you can use is the stuff you have right now. Don’t allow yourself to pine for a new camera body if you don’t know the strengths and limitations your current gear.
Set up portfolio shoots.
Everyone has a busy schedule, so there is no need to add a certain amount of shots here, do what you can comfortably do with your schedule even if it is just one shoot.
The key here is to not just set up a shoot, show up, and shoot the way you feel comfortable with. Set goals ahead of time of something you want to improve on and focus on that thing throughout the shoot so it becomes a comfortable point for you.
Set up portfolio shoots based on what you want to be paid for. Focus your efforts on the types of photography you want to be hired for. Don’t just shoot randomly.
Storyboard your shoots.
I learned to do this when I was in school for Photography and Video Production. My Professor while it was his JOB to teach us these things he never made it feel like it was a requirement. It was more like a braindump- pre-session work so that in post we had no surprises. He made sure we showed up prepared. And storyboarding helps you do that.
This goes along well with the last segment. Go back and look at work you have done within the last 6 months and pull them apart. What could you have done better? THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING THAT COULD BE DONE BETTER.
Is this something you understand how to overcome?
The day of shooting it is nearly impossible to remember these things you casually noticed if you haven’t already mapped a solution to the problem. Think out exactly how you plan to overcome your weakness and have a “go-to” thing you want to do to fix it. This will increase the likelihood of you following through when the time actually comes about.
Focus on the light.
Carve out time every day to focus on light. This doesn’t necessarily mean photography related light. As often as possible, pay attention to the way the light hits certain objects and the shadows they create. The more you do this, the better you will understand the qualities of light, shadows, and density. Some light is pretty while another lighting can be harsh (which isn’t always a bad thing) you should be able to notice this and figure out which is which and more importantly which one you enjoy working with. Some fashion photographers enjoy a more hard light. While someone creating flat lays needs something even and softer.
Also, make time to focus on photography related light. Whether you want to perfect your natural light photos or learn about flash, dedicate at least 30 minutes every day to light. Read about it, experiment with it, etc.
Start Building a visual vocabulary.
Something I have found as I have grown in my craft is that I have a certain visual aesthetic that appeals to me. I developed this by using sites like Pinterest and Tumblr to find work that appealed to me. I also take myself into the REAL world and visit museums and look at magazines as well. The photos are there for a reason! Dissect the image, look for the direction of light, look at the composition and the styling. If there are people how are they being posed? This isn’t about copying work you find, its about having photography come together in your mind and when it does it starts to become easier to see elements of things you like, and THAT helps develop your style for things.
These tips things I learned as I went through formal education, but if you have anything to add I’d love for you to share them in the comments. If you know someone who might benefit from this post please share it with them. Sharing is caring. If you are looking for tips to improve your business photography check out this post. Designing stock images for your brand.