So, you’re interested in photography. Well, me too, and I have been for quite some time. I remember making my mom drive me out to the countryside when I was 14 so I could capture the setting sun in the distance. My photos sucked, but that’s beyond the point.
Over the years my skills have improved, and I have learned quite a bit. There’s a lot of technical photographic information out there, and many of it is important. But, at the end of the day it all comes down to just a few basic tips. If you can follow these, you can and WILL become one of the photographic masters you have always looked up to.
Shoot, Shoot, SHOOT!
THIS. Perhaps the most important. You must shoot every day, and shoot everything. Keep your camera by your side wherever you go. Don’t discriminate on the subject matter, and shoot anything you think looks interesting!
The setup. Believe me when I say these things never leave my side. (Including the coffee)
Reflect And Breakdown
After you shoot, sit down and take a look at your photos. What do you like, and dislike about them? If you could go back, how would you capture it differently? How does your image compare to other images with similar subject matter? Take note of the lighting, composition, and color. Note that editing also plays a large role!
Me in my natural habitat. Editing photos in gorgeous cafes.
Keep A Photography Swipe File
A swipe file is a compilation of images that you love. They could be from anywhere: Nat Geo travel, professional portraits, landscapes, etc. It doesn’t matter, as long as they look good to you! These photos will influence your work, and provide you with inspiration. If you have a certain style you like, find photography that subscribes to that style, and follow them. Check these out daily, and reflect on why you like them. Break them down piece by piece!
Recently I have been interested in shooting food/lifetyle photos, so much of my swipe file contains images like these. This is one of my favorites, shot by my good friend and incredibly talented photographer Bank. Check him out on Instagram at @bankpyt.
While shooting is more important, continue trying to hone your skills through resources available online or in person. Enroll in an online course, or watch more YouTube videos. There is an immense amount of free information online, and I take advantage of a lot of it. It has helped me progress into the professional photographer I am today. Check out yesterday’s blog post for a list of several of the free photography resources available to you.
Sorry to break it to you, but you’re not gonna master photography by starting out the window and looking really cool. Get out there and utilize those resources!
Master Your Camera
As I stated before, you should have this baby on you AT ALL TIMES. Master that bad boy! Learn the ins and outs of your camera, and learn how far you can push it. Experiment with it. Take it out and shoot long exposures at night. Learn, make mistakes, it doesn’t matter. Mastering your camera is crucial to your success!
I know what you’re thinking… That monkey is ADORABLE. Yes, yes she is. This was taken late at night on the streets of Chengdu, China. See what’s in my right hand? You guessed it, my camera. She never leaves my side!
Connect And Collaborate
Make an effort to reach out and meet other photographers around you, regardless of their skill set. We all have something to teach each other, and many of us are willing to help out those that are just starting out. Hit up your local Instagram hashtags and start shooting out messages, tell them you like their style and want to accompany them on a shoot. Ask them questions. Join Facebook groups, Meetup groups, online forums. There are a TON of photographic communities just waiting for you to join them 🙂
I can guarantee that by following these 6 incredibly simple tips, you would dramatically improve your photography skills in a very short amount of time. The great thing about photography is that you don’t have to sit in a classroom all day to truly master it. All you need to do is get out there and shoot 🙂
PS: I would LOVE if you introduced yourself in the comments below. Tell me who you are, and tell me why you are interested in photography. I’d love to connect with each and every one of you! Feel free to share a photo as well, put those reflection skills to work and tell me why you love it so much.