- Photography Composition Tip: How to Use Perspective
- Become a Better Photographer Today in 9 Easy Steps
- Get Out of Your Comfort Zone By Taking the 30-Day Creative Eye Challenge
- Want to Be a Better Photographer? Do These 4 Things
- 6 Tips for Landscape Photography With a Telephoto Lens
- Three Portrait Lenses Photographers Can't Live Without
- A Beginner's Guide to Exposure Compensation
- How to Become a Better Photographer Without Taking Pictures
The great thing about photography is that, in the grand scheme of things, it's relatively easy to learn.
I mean, you can read a tutorial, watch a YouTube video, and go out and shoot with your camera at any time.
That accessibility makes photography easier to learn than other art forms, if you ask me, anyway.
But how to be a better photographer doesn't just involve reading tutorials (though you should read this one!) and watching videos.
With that in mind, here are six unique ways to get on your photography game, and for more details on each tip, check the Learn More links at the end of each section.
Think About Perspective
Some photographers have a tendency to point their camera at the subject and start firing off shots.
The problem with that is that there isn't any creativity in terms of perspective when you do that.
Rather than standing there and taking all your photos from your eye level, take some time to experiment with perspective.
If you're photographing a landscape, get down on the ground and incorporate some foreground interest or shoot at a steep upward angle.
And, yes, when I say get down on the ground, I mean it! Sit down, kneel down, heck, even lay down to find the best angle.
When you're taking a portrait, grab a ladder, go out on a balcony or climb into your kid's treehouse and shoot from above the model.
When you're adventuring in a city, find ways to get up high, get down low, and move around the subject to find a fresh perspective.
The point is that if you take some time - even just one afternoon - to focus on nothing but perspective, you'll open your eyes to seeing things in a whole new way, and that will only help you create more dynamic photos. It could end up being the one thing that drives you to be a better photographer!
Look for Inspiration
This one's easy...
Sometimes all you need to trigger your creativity is a little inspiration from other photographers.
And I don't necessarily mean famous photographers, either.
Editor's Tip: See what your photos would look like as a fine art print.
And by looking at what they do, you can begin to develop your own ideas of what does and doesn't make a great photo and learn how to get better at photography.
But don't just look at their images - if possible, investigate what camera they used, the settings needed for the shot, and so forth. Read captions. Explore how the photographer planned the photo. Heck, ask them questions to see if you can get even more details about their workflow.
By diving deep into each shot you admire, you'll learn much more than if you simply look at the photo!
Try Photography Exercises Like Putting Limitations on Yourself
It might sound crazy, but limiting yourself in regards to how you take photos can actually open your eyes to new ways of getting great shots.
Like I mentioned above, spending an afternoon working on perspective can do wonders.
But so can using just one lens for a day or a week. That's especially true if it's a prime lens because without zooming capabilities you have to learn how to frame shots by actually walking nearer to or farther away from the subject.
Additionally, you might limit yourself by genre and only take macro photos for a week or require yourself to shoot images that only have the color blue.
You might limit yourself to using only your mobile phone, require yourself to use an off-camera flash or work exclusively in shutter priority mode to practice freezing or blurring movement.
By spending time on a single aspect of photography, you get many more repetitions than you normally would.
And as they say, practice makes perfect!
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
There's something to be said for finding your niche, but sticking with the same subject matter all the time can lead to some pretty boring photos.
To spice things up, get out of your comfort zone and photograph subjects that aren't normally part of your workflow.
If you typically photograph landscapes, find some cityscapes to challenge your creativity.
Editor's Tip: Check out some creative props for portrait photography.
If you normally photograph people, try your hand at nature and wildlife photography.
Switching things up not only forces you to think more purposefully about things like composition and framing, but you also have to consider different camera settings, how the light interacts with the subject, and so forth.
And you don't have to stay out of your comfort zone for long - even spending one day photographing something else can do wonders for your creativity and skills!
Switch Up Your Lenses
Another way to expand your photography skills is to challenge yourself to use different lenses.
A wide-angle lens offers a totally different view of a subject than a telephoto, and as a result, you have to learn how to see the subject, frame the shot, and compose the image in different ways depending on the focal length of the lens.
This also helps you get familiar with things like distortion and compression, which varies across the spectrum of lenses.
So, rather than taking all your landscape photos with a wide-angle lens like usual, switch it up and shoot landscapes with a telephoto lens.
Likewise, rather than using a standard lens (like a 50mm) for portraits, see what you can do with a wide-angle lens.
You might find that doing so opens your eyes to seeing your subjects and composing your photos in ways that you never thought about, and that will certainly help you become a better photographer.
Learn How to Use Exposure Compensation
One of the things that can easily derail your photos is if they're too light or dark.
You can learn how to master the exposure triangle to get better-exposed images, but an easier method is to learn how to use exposure compensation.
Essentially, if your photo has generally light-colored tones, the camera will often underexpose the image, or make it too dark. On the other hand, if the subject has mostly dark tones, the camera will tend to overexpose it, or make it too bright.
To correct for this, you can use your camera's exposure compensation function.
If you take a photo and it's too dark, dial in +1 exposure compensation and shoot again. You'll notice the image brightens up.
If you take a photo and it's too light, dial in -1 exposure compensation, and the image will darken.
Get more details about exposure compensation in the video above by Tony and Chelsea Northrup.