Tips and tutorials

10 tips to improve your photography

Are you taking the same photos repeatedly? Do you think your photos are mediocre? It is very easy to take ‘okay’ photographs, but it takes much more  to take stunning images. Here are some tips that will improve your photography and will make your images stand out.

girl with butterflies

Photo Credits: Photoflake/500px

 10 Tips to Improve Your Photography

Tip #1 Know your equipment: Have you ever bothered to use the manual that comes with your camera? I can say that most of your answers is a NO. Well, if you want to improve your photography, you’d better ‘study’ your camera’s manual. I have always seen people scratching their heads when I ask them about the specifics of their camera. Mostly I get a response, “I don’t know, I have just bought it” if you don’t use your camera’s manual, you take photos using the most easily usable settings on your camera. And the result will, ofcourse, be bad, which makes you blaming the camera.

a squirrel looking inside a DSLR lens
Photo Credits: Simon Phillpotts/500px

I repeat, use your camera’s manual properly. Read it again and again until you know everything about your camera. A camera has lots of features that will help you to take good photographs. And, ofcourse, not all cameras have the same features. But if you know what your camera can do, you can take the best pictures your camera can give you. For example, in most DSLR cameras, there are several focal points (small squares in the viewfinder) you can choose. By choosing these focal points you can focus on specific points — say, eyes. But, by default, the camera selects all the focal points. So, when you try focus, the camera selects a focal point which is close. As a result, you would get unfocused pictures. However, you can manually select the focal points which helps you to compose your shots in different ways.

So, unlock the true potential of your gear; dust off your camera’s manual, and start using it the way it could be used.

 

Tip #2 Get your basics straight: Learn different technical aspects of photography — aperture, exposure, ISO, shutter speed etc. Learn composition (the placing of the subject within the frame), post production, lighting etc. Almost all text books on photography covers these aspects. There are various e-resources available too. Understanding the technical side of photography might be the most boring or difficult part, but it will help you to improve your photography.

Buddhist monk reading a book and smiling
Photo Credits: Malcolm Fackender/500px

 

Tip#3 Study the work of professional photographers: You might be wondering why I am suggesting this. Trust me; it will transmogrify the way you take photographs. It worked for me, and it will for anyone. When you see photographs of professionals often, you will develop a ‘sense of framing’. However, just going through their works might not help you. You need to analyze, and study them — how they compose, why they are composing in such and such ways etc. Websites like 500px, 1x etc. has the best work of photographers all around the world. Search for your favorite type of photography and keep yourself motivated. Follow your favorite photographers (I don’t mean stalking them) first, and you will develop your own style in photography. But do  not imitate them.

 

Tip #4 Join photography forums and clubs around you: The more people you interact with, the more you learn. Find photography forums on the internet, join, and be active. Take part in discussions that you find interesting. In forums, some photographers share their experience, knowledge, which you can adopt in your photography. Find photography clubs in your place and join them. Go for photo walks and interact with fellow photographers.

 

old man looking through a magnifying glass
Photo Credits: Coltrane Koh/500px

Tip#5 Interact with professional photographers: Send your work to professional photographers and ask them to review it. By doing so, make sure you send it to the right person: if you send some of your landscape photographs to a professional fashion photographer, he could not help you much. So, ask those who have an expertise in the particular genre of photography. Most of the time you may get no response from them, but do not worry about it. It’s not because they don’t like your work or they don’t find it as worth reviewing. Professional photographers are busy people.

 

a man begging
Photo Credits: Simon Nicoletti

Tip#6 Showcase only your best works: The difference between a professional photographer and a rookie is that a professional knows which photographs are good, and which ones are bad. Even a professional makes mistakes. But he only shows the best photographs to the outside world. So always showcase your best work..

 

Tip#7 Be open to change: Develop a habit of learning more and more. Kill your ego and learn from others. If you find someone using a particular post processing technique, ask him/her to share it with you; try it out in your workflow. Photography is an art and let it evolve inside you.

 

Tip#8 Experiment, experiment, and experiment:  I consider this as one of the most important practices to improve one’s photography. Take photos every day. Apply your theoretical knowledge in the field. Transfer the images to your computer and analyze them – what went wrong, how can you improve the images etc.? Make sure you will not make the same mistakes next time. Practice makes you perfect. But practicing mistakes will get you nowhere.

a rusty shack in a field
Photo Credits: Lurie Belegurschi/500px

Tip#9 Learn post processing: Although most people think processing is not a part of photography, learning it would do no harm than good. It’s a controversial topic. I am not getting into that – right now. But I can tell you that, when you learn some aspects of post processing, it will help you to do better in the field. You will understand what are tones? Who to read histogram? Whether a scene is good for black and white photography or not, what is contrast? etc.  But there are some dos and don’ts in post processing – over vignette, over contrast, over saturation, artificial lens flare etc. are some of them. Make sure you are within the limits.

fighter jets flying in different directions
Photo Credits: Jinsoo Park/500px

 

Tip #10 Avoid criticizers: Yes, The criticizers. They are everywhere. They are mostly one of the first people who comment on your photographs. Interestingly, most of them hardly take photographs.  Although a positive criticism improves your photography, sometimes it demoralize you too. If ,you think, criticism is affecting you in a bad way, avoid it until you can handle it. Ignore those who try to bring you down and have no good photographs to show.

 

Need more? Here is some more tips: 5 more tips to improve your photography

 

 

 

 

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Vidhu Soman

Vidhu is an enthusiastic photographer from Kerala, India. His desire to share his knowledge and experience on photography was the motivation for creating Shutterstoppers. His dream is to provide a platform for people all around the world to exchange ideas and information on everything related to photography. In addition to photography, he also has a keen interest in traveling, philately and science.

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