Ask for criticism
Take fewer photos
Stick to the basics
Forget it’s a DSLR
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The Internet is full of advice on how to be a better photographer, how to be successful, blah blah. Ok, I don’t want this to be one of those articles, even though it might sound like it’s going down the same path. Actually improving your skills in photography doesn’t really depend on the articles you read, but rather on what you do after you read them. So if you are expecting any magical recipes to save you the trouble, you are in the wrong place. There are no quick fixes, but there are ways to achieve fast progress, that is if you are committed to it. Here are 5 things you can start doing relatively quickly that will benefit your evolution as a photographer.
Telling people to tear down your photos is not the easiest things you will do, but hearing what you need to hear is important if you want to become a good photographer. The main idea is to tell the difference between helpful feedback and useless criticism. Some people will tell you that one or more photos are bad, but they will also tell you what you did wrong. Others will just say they don’t like it and leave you with a bad taste in your mouth.
I know everyone is telling you to photograph as much as you can if you want to become good. To be fair, it is partially true. In order to become good at something, you have to do it a lot but it matters how you do it too. Firing your camera like a machine gun doesn’t really count as taking a lot of photos. What I’m trying to suggest is not really photographing less, but thinking more before you do it. If you take some time to think before you push the button and make sure everything is where and how it needs to be, you will probably take fewer shots without realizing it.
Picasso said “good artists copy great artists steal”. It’s important to know how far you should go though. In art and photography, having originality as a purpose is likely to work against you. Why not benefit from the limitless resource of ideas that are flowing around everywhere? If you steal an idea, you’d better make sure you make it your own. That means you have no excuse for replicating the exact image.
This time, I’m talking about camera gear. I know a lot of you love having a lot of gear and would buy cameras just for the sake of having them. But the harsh truth is none of this actually helps improve your photography. Sometimes it’s best to stick to the basics: one camera, one lens and unleashed creativity.
Use your imagination and think of your camera as a manual analogue camera from the ‘70s. That means you don’t have any autofocus, any auto-anything for that matter, no LCD to chimp all day and only a few shots available. It might sound silly and it’s certainly not easy to stick to, but it might just give you the right mood and take your attention of the camera and put it on the subject.