Photography is a tough art to master, and improving your skills takes time, dedication and lots of practice. Whether you hit the streets with a camera or take a more traditional, academic route to learning, there’s plenty you can do to give yourself a leg up. So, we’ve put together some top tips to help you improve your photography skills – perfect for beginners and intermediate artists alike.
1. Know your stuff
If you want to know how to develop your photography skills, it’s essential that you know the history of your craft. Everything from the famous pioneers to the modern day maestros, you at least should have a fundamental understanding. Not only will this save your blushes in conversations with more advanced artists, but understanding the development of photography is synonymous with becoming an advanced photographer.
2. Understand your camera
This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many would-be photographers don’t know the capabilities of their own equipment. How far is your zoom? Does your camera have autofocus? Is your camera a DSLR or mirrorless? These are all things you need to know in order to get the most out of your shots. Equally, this will help you to make adjustments on the fly, so you’ll never let the perfect shot pass.
3. Use your camera every day
One fact is unavoidable: if you don’t use your camera, your photography skills won’t improve. Much like a musical instrument, you need to practice a little bit each day to get better. Obviously, you don’t have to take award-winning shots every time, but the simple act of getting out there with camera-in-hand is vital.
4. Focus on movement
It’s all well and good taking shots of static subjects, but you won’t improve as a photographer until you master the art of focusing on a moving subject. The degree of difficulty will depend on your camera, but with most autofocus DSLRs, you’ll be able to track your focus by half holding the shutter button. Practice on a family pet, other people or even wildlife until you’ve got it down to an art!
5. Start a project
Having a goal to aim for is a great way to improve your skills. Not only will it ensure that you’re taking photos on a regular basis, it will improve your eye for a good photograph. What your project is will be entirely up to you. It could be the classic one shot-a-day for a year, or maybe you pick a particular area, mood or subject that you want to shoot.
6. Imitate an icon
If you’ve done your research properly, you should have a robust knowledge of established photographers and their respective styles. By imitating their technique, you can get a first-hand insight into their method and your photography skills will improve as a result.
7. Find your inspiration
What inspires you to get out there and start shooting? Is it the sunrise or sunset? Perhaps it’s even a specific place. Whatever fuels your creative spark, it’s important that you cling to it in the early stages of your photography journey, because you won’t improve your skills if you don’t love what you’re shooting.
8. Get comfortable with your equipment
There’s much more to the art of photography than just knowing where to aim a camera. From tripods and rigs to lights and editing software, you have to be competent with a range of equipment to produce standout photographs. Luckily, there’s plenty of resources to improve these basic skills, such as online tutorials, YouTube walkthroughs, and books.
9. Find a photography society
One of the best ways to improve your skills is to be around other, like-minded creatives. This is often the best way of gaining new insight, sharing ideas, and collaborating on shoots, which is effective for building your confidence as an artist. If you’re at university, this won’t be too difficult, and for those who aren’t, finding a local club is just a click away!
10. Build a portfolio
No one, including you, will understand the full potential of your work until it is fully edited and presented in a portfolio. This can be online or physical, but understanding the best way to present your work is all part of improving your skills.
Are you a working photographer with some other tips for the beginners out there? Let us know what you think in the comments below.