So, you’re armed with your compact camera or your first DSLR. Now you want to re-create those stunning photographs you’ve seen showcased online or in a photography book. Before you get to that stage, you need to learn the craft. Photography isn’t just a case of pressing a shutter button. It’s an art and a skill. For some, it can be a long and difficult learning curve. For others, it can be a natural talent. Either way, there are certain things you can do to improve your photography and help you develop your skills.
1. Don’t buy the most expensive equipment straight away
It’s possible to get very nice photos with an inexpensive compact camera for under £100. A more expensive camera doesn’t mean you’ll get better photographs, although it does help – but only if you know how to use it to its potential. Only upgrade your equipment when you’ve reached the limits of your current gear.
2. Join a photography forum
There are a huge number of established websites out there offering advice on equipment and shooting – CameraLabs and Digital Photography School are two I use, for example. If you’ve got a query, chances are somebody else has asked the same thing previously. Get involved, get researching, get asking.
3. Keep your camera with you at all times
Ok, so that might not always be possible. But photo opportunities often come when you least expect them. If you can keep your equipment relatively simple, you might be able to take advantage of some of those unexpected opportunities. Or, if your phone has a camera, use it to take reference photos of scenes you’d like to return to with your regular camera.
4. Make a list of shots you’d like to get
Look through other photographers’ albums on websites like 500px to give yourself fresh ideas of shots you hadn’t previously thought of. These might include shots such as a frosty field at dawn, or maybe a elderly person smiling. Learn from other people’s work.
5. Don’t overlook mundane subjects for photography
You might not see anything interesting to photograph in your living room or garden, but try looking at familiar surroundings with fresh eyes. Often a simple subject makes the best shot. Try standing in one particular spot and, while looking around, try to take five or six shots of different subjects/features – try different levels of zoom and varying camera angles to add variety.
Author – Oliver Pohlmann