There are a thousand ways to learn new things in photography. Plenty of photographers are eager to share their tips and even more are willing to sell their tips–for a price. Honestly, the price is probably worth it. If you can find a photographer who you admire, try to take their courses and read their books. This is one way to learn photography but not the only way.
Photography is about seeing better and improving your skills. When I say “seeing better,” I mean improving your discerning eye. As photographers improve their skills their discerning eye has to keep one step ahead. Without a discerning eye, it’s difficult to improve.
How do you train your eyes to see better?
Study photographs that look the way you want yours to look. What makes them so appealing? Is it the color, use of line, subject matter, shallow depth of field, ect.? Are there any techniques you see there that you don’t know how to do? Make sure you bookmark the pages of your favorite photographers, a great site to use for this is Pinterest.
You can follow my Pinterest boards here.
Be critical when you view photos.Think about why you like them and what makes them work. This is the #1 way to improve your photography. Want to take it to the next step? Try the practice exercise below.
1. Choose a photo from a photographer you really admire. Ask yourself these questions and write down the answers.
- What is the overall mood of the photo? Is it dark, happy, fantasy, sad?
- What is it that makes the photo appealing to you?
- What draws your eye?
- Are there any techniques that you don’t know how were done?
2. Now, do this exercise for two more photos from the same photographer. What do the photos have in common?
3. Try to create a photo in the style of this photographer. You can try to reproduce an image exactly or try making an original photo in the style of this photographer. If you plan to display these, it would make good sense to attribute your inspiration.
4. Repeat with many photographers until you develop your own style. You don’t want to be a carbon copy of your photography idol. Learn new tools for your photography arsenal by observing and copying then use these tools in your own way.