When it comes down to it, whether you just picked up your first camera this morning or you've been at this photography thing for decades, we all have one thing in common...
We're all trying to get better.
The great thing about photography is that it's incredibly accessible - anyone can get started in photography at any time.
But the process of perfecting photography skills - or at least getting as close to perfect as possible - is one that is time-intensive.
Having said that, there are a few things you can do right now, today, which will have an immediate, positive impact on the photos you take, regardless of whether you're a newbie or a seasoned veteran.
What if I told you that there's an upcoming photography gadget that simplifies the process of taking a photo?
And by "simplify," I mean revolutionize the way photos are taken.
It's called Arsenal, and it's the world's first AI photography assistant.
Here's how it works...
With one tap of your finger in the Arsenal smartphone app, Arsenal finds the ideal settings to take a photo for the present situation.
That means that it takes care of all the "behind the scenes" stuff so you can focus on fulfilling your creative vision by focusing your attention on improved composition, framing, and so forth.
It's able to do that by intelligently searching thousands of images in its database. Once it has a baseline of suggested settings, Arsenal fine-tunes the settings by analyzing 18 separate factors, from dynamic range to diffraction to the motion of the subject.
In other words, using state-of-the-art machine learning, Arsenal helps you take better photos, no matter the shooting conditions.
Heck, Arsenal even allows you to tackle photo-stacking in-camera in just a few seconds - a process that up to this point was a laborious one done in post-processing. That gives you the ability to get deep depth of field, images that are in focus from front to back, and long exposures without having to buy a filter.
Not bad, right?
But here's the best part...
Arsenal doesn't just do it all for you. It helps you learn.
Once you take a photo with arsenal, you can review the settings it used to get the shot to help you better understand things like exposure, white balance, and the like.
And when you develop the skills to control your camera's settings manually, Arsenal lets you do that too - wirelessly right from your phone.
Add in live preview on your mobile device, easy sharing of your photos to social media, and quick time-lapse video creation, and you've got the makings for an incredibly powerful photography device.
I know, it almost sounds too good to be true. But just look at the featured image at the beginning of this article as proof that Arsenal knows what it's doing.
If you need more convincing of the power of Arsenal, just check out the video above and see this thing in action!
Another great way to expand your photography skills and take better photos is to simply challenge yourself to try new things.
This could be something as simple as changing the eye level of your shots like the photographer above is doing.
It could also mean getting out of your comfort zone...
It's one thing to get comfortable taking a certain kind of photos, like landscapes.
But it's another thing entirely to be able to take all kinds of different photos, from landscapes to portraits to macro.
Now, I'm not saying that you need to pursue every type of photography and become a Jedi master at all of them. Rather, pushing your boundaries to other areas of photography will help you develop the most critical skills needed to get better photos.
For example, if you primarily shoot landscapes, taking on portraiture will help you more fully develop your understanding of aperture and depth of field.
Shooting moving subjects like athletes or passing cars will similarly give you experience working with shutter speed and how to freeze or blur motion.
By putting yourself in challenging situations, you can use the knowledge and skills you acquire and apply them to the types of photos you most enjoy taking.
Using the landscape photography example, you can more knowledgeably use aperture to perfect the depth of field in your shots by virtue of your portrait work. Similarly, you can use what you learned practicing shutter speed in sports photography to create beautiful motion effects in your landscapes.
The point is that if you want to create better photos, you can't get comfortable. Challenge yourself to learn and be more creative, and your photos will be the better for it.
Use a Prime Lens
A prime lens is a great learning tool, especially if you're new or relatively new to photography.
Where the kit lens that came with your camera is some type of a zoom, a prime lens has a fixed focal length, like 24mm, 50mm, 85mm, and so on.
That means that you have to physically move around your subject - getting nearer and farther away - to get the shot you wish.
Not only will this get you out of your comfort zone and challenge you as I noted in the previous section, but it will also help you think more purposefully about how you want to frame the shot.
For more advanced photographers, a prime lens is advantageous because it will usually produce sharper images than a zoom lens. Notice how sharp the flowers are in the shot below. This is due in part to the sharpness of the 50mm prime lens that was used to take the photo.
What's more, by shooting at the same focal length for each shot, your images have a consistent look and feel. That's helpful if you're putting together a portfolio or taking a series of photos.
Regardless of your level of experience in photography, having a good prime lens (or two) is a great investment.
And speaking of investments, here's a bonus tip: don't spend your money on accumulating a ton of gear.
Instead, focus on getting the gear that will help you advance your skills - a camera body, a couple of lenses, a solid tripod, and, of course, Arsenal.
Do that and follow the tips outlined above, and you'll be well on your way to creating images that have a ton of impact!