It's Time to BECOME a Better Photographer - Digital Photography School
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It’s Time to BECOME a Better Photographer

This might sound a little odd coming from a guy who owns a photography blog…. but….

I think it is time that some of us need to spend a little less time reading about photography and spend a little more time doing some photography!

The Photographer – by San Diego Shooter

As I look back on my life to the times that I’ve most rapidly learned new skills (including in photography) it strikes me that in every instance the experience was ‘active’ rather than ‘passive’.

While I’ve certainly learned a lot of theory in different areas of life by reading books, listening to others speak and even by watching others do things – I’ve only actually acquired a new skill by practicing or putting into action what I learn.

By no means is learning bad – it often is a great foundation for taking action – but many photographers I meet have incredible knowledge of the theory of photography yet rarely take photos themselves.

As photographers we need to be willing to step out of ‘learning’ mode and into ‘doing’ mode.

  • This starts with picking up your camera and taking it with you – everywhere
  • It continues with a commitment to regularly lifting that camera to your eye and taking shot after shot
  • It means sometimes stepping outside of one’s comfort zone and feeling a little awkward or self conscious to get the shot
  • It means a not being satisfied with the first shot but experimenting with new angles and fresh perspectives on subjects
  • It means not only knowing the ‘rules’ or principles of photography – but having a commitment to practice them (and breaking them)
  • It means going beyond understanding the ‘specifications’ and ‘features’ of your camera and actually experimenting with using them
  • It means ‘thinking’ about your photography – planning shots, setting yourself challenges and then critically reflecting upon the photos you take to work out how you could improve
  • It sometimes means sharing your images – not simply to show how good you are and get ‘nice shot’ remarks – but in the hope that others will point out where you might improve
  • It means all of these things and more (share your own below) but most of all it means picking up your camera and using it.

Good photographers are not all about ‘action’ – there is certainly a place for learning, reflection and a certain type of ‘passivity’ (or reflection) in photography – but if there’s one common thing I’ve noticed about great photographers over the years its…. they take photos.

dPS is a site dedicated to helping photographers of all levels learn about and increase their knowledge of photography. As a result we produce daily tutorials with this end in mind…. however…. all of this is a waste of our time (and yours) if it doesn’t actually improve our photography.

This is why we’re increasingly passionate about our weekend challenges, forum assignments and are always asking you to share your shots with us. We’re hoping that in doing so we not only help you understand more but give you a little bit of a push to get out there with your camera and learn by doing.

Image by panaromico

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

  • Vcki

    Thank you!!! Thank you!!! Thank you!!! I loved this article! It’s SO true! My camera goes everywhere with me!! There have been a few times when I’ve left it at home and those were the times I wanted it most! So, now, even if I’m going out on a date (the guy I’m dating is a photographer too, so he understands….lol) the camera is with me! I know my skills have become much better and I’ve had to step out of my comfort zone a number of times recently. I look at all of it as an adventure!!

  • steve nilsen

    Very sound advice, and good sensible teaching. We cannot expect to achieve greater things as photographers, if we do not have the motivation to go out and actually do what we love most. Someone once said, “The best way to succeed, is to stop talking, and start doing”. I for one will be following that advice, and will soon be submitting my work for others to view here as well.

  • Quink

    Right on time bro…

    I got into this learning mode and remained there for long….was (and still am) obsessed with reading books and spending hours looking at images on the internet.
    But did I take a single picture …. hell no.

    Am ready to make the jump from learning to doing mode.

    Cheers

  • Wes

    I couldn’t agree more. Photography is not a “theory” type art. It is a “get of your duff and get out there” art. In order to call yourself a photographer or even a photo-buff, you have to take photos. And the best way to learn how to take really good photos is to take a lot of them. Sure some will be good and some will be bad. Some you’ll be proud to show off, and some will never again see the light of day. But that’s what photography is. And even Ansel Adams took a bad shot once in awhile. You are bound to. In any field, you only get better by making mistakes.
    With the advent of digital photography, making mistakes has gotten less costly. Now you can shoot pictures all day long, go back to your computer, and throw out the ones you don’t like and keep the good ones – all at no real cost to you! With digital cameras (point and shoot or DSLRs) you have no more excuses NOT to take tons of photos!

  • Jennifer

    Thank you – That was the kick in the pants I needed to get back in touch with my camera. I love reading and getting new ideas but every morning I see an amazing shot – but or darn I don’t have my camera. I am going to add it my morning stuff to grab. THANK YOU!

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/sjbailey15/ Sami

    I like reading things like this because it makes me believe that I can improve. I have improved tremendously from when I started but Im still not where I would like to be!

  • joy!

    as soon as i opened this article i started to laugh….i have not taken a picture in MONTHS!!! other than quick snaps of visiting family..not even good pictures of them. and, yes, i have read articles about photography, editing and looked at others’ photography…but picked up my camera? well…i have it in my purse at all times…i mean all times…not out of my purse but in my purse. thanks for the article…maybe if your website wasn’t so good and entertaining i might get out there…see, it just may be your fault.

  • Bob Kruppa

    Aside from practice, practice, practice, becoming a better photographer also involves associating yourself with the best that is out there. Study the best photos and professional photographer’s techniques that are out there and eventually that will raise your level of photography. It’s like reading good books or choosing great friends or playing with friends who are better golfers. Your own abilities will also get better by associating with those who have better skills than you do. However, I do agree that without doing it yourself (i.e., taking pictures) all the associating in the world won’t help until you take the camera and press the shutter button.

  • http://www.afancifullife.blogspot.com Sharon

    Very inspiring, indeed. I was planning on spending time today reading more but I will definitely do both now. It’s so true that you need to experiment and practice to get better. I love the 365 photo a day project idea. Another thing that gets me into practice is taking online photography classes that have daily or weekly assignments. It’s a great way to connect with others who are working on the same thing. I’m one of those people who needs hard deadlines, so that works for me. I love all the ideas above and I’m going to start taking my camera with me more often. There are too many times when I’m out and see great photo ops, but regretful that I didn’t have my camera. No more!

  • Ed Mitchell

    If you read ‘Outliers’ by Malcolm Gladwell you will understand how critical Darren’s advice on practice is.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/joyelizabeth Joy Elizabeth

    I always say, “One will only get better with practice & more practice!” Think, shoot, study & reflect!

  • http://dress-igri-barbi.com Barbi Online

    I can’t believe that I missed your point, I will have to do some research on this.

  • Ivette

    I’ve learned so much by reading, and watching and hearing, but I’m sure the best part is doing it, taking photographies, there is nothing compared to actually do the (in this case) art I love to do.

  • Augphoto

    This is the most informative (even though it contains no actual photo tips), accurate, and important writing to ever come out of this site. I am more guilty than most about reading photo tips and not actually taking enough photos. I try to follow all the important blogs and photo sites I can. I study others photos endlessly, often thinking I could take that photo If I would only pick up my camera and go for it. I agree whole-heartedly that the studying is good but the picture ‘taking’ is much better. Now where did I put my camera?

  • https://www.singaporegrooms.com James

    I guess it goes both ways. Theory without practice is like talking about war strategy, but if i had continued taking photos without all the knowledge, i guess i’ve have nothing but crap to show.

  • http://www.g1mp3r.com Mark

    yes, i agree with so let us all put down mouse and shut up and pick our cameras and shoot awesome pictures!

  • Carson

    Great advice about the 365 project, Jenn. I really like that. Sometimes I feel intimidated by my camera, especially after I see such good shots from other people. But I need to step up and practice more, and I admit that. I think I’ll try the 365!

  • Susan

    Practical, attainable and truly inspirational!

  • Reeya_20

    I have taken one initiative to do a ’23’ like a ‘365’. Thanx for the Blog.
    It really is interesting to get to know about the activities Worldwide. Good Luck!

  • Laurie

    How do you take your camera everywhere and shoot and not piss off the person or persons you are with because you are slowing them down with your shooting?

  • Gary Ledgerwood

    Beautifully written. I couldn’t agree more with all of these points! As an amateur photographer I do wish there were more places to post work to get honest critique. I have photos on Flickr and as much as I appreciate praise, it doesn’t help me to improve.

  • Lorenzo

    I’m out. And I’ll take the camera with me! Thanks! ;)

  • Luciano Silva

    I like the text. Thanks for the advices :)

  • Arlene Giada Blades

    Post on Ipernity, 500px or Tumblr or just share with friends.

  • Stephen

    this is where I fall short, I’ve been thinking about doing a shoot, but that’s only thinking, I’ve read plenty of photography books and tutorials, but that’s only reading. I need to actually do stuff, not that I haven’t but a lot of it falls into the spray and pray method, which gets nice shots but doesn’t really help me build skill.

  • Gary Ledgerwood

    Thank you for the tips!

  • Karen Hearn

    Feedback is greatly appreciated!

  • jamesapril

    Flickr helps me improve through seeing how others set up their shots or give me new ideas.

  • jamesapril

    Good composition, not only the diagonal line but also the faded yet tight Depth of Field.

  • jamesapril

    Comic conventions are great places to practice portraits. Learn how your camera works, get out of program mode and think through each shot. Know a good photo when you see one. Just keep shooting.

  • jamesapril

    Good article! I get out too even when it’s a busy day at work. Not my best, but a good example of event photos.

  • Karen Hearn

    Thank you! All feedback is great appreciated.

  • Karen Hearn

    I agree with you Gary. I’m always looking for someone to critique my work and advice on how to improve.

  • http://www.christijphotography.com Christi Bailey

    A great place I have found for CC and honest (but kind) critiques is local photography groups. I found them on http://www.meetup.com.

  • http://claudiacuriciphotography.wordpress.com/ Claudia Curici

    Thank you, this is encouraging. I started my own photography blog few months ago not because I wanted to have a blog but because I realised that having a place where to share my photos on a regular basis will keep me focused and motivated to do more and learn more. The only thing I still miss is critique (likes from other photographers are encouraging, but sometimes you need to hear also where you need to improve). This is my blog if anyone is interested to check: http://claudiacuriciphotography.wordpress.com/

Some older comments

  • Laurie

    December 7, 2012 04:26 am

    How do you take your camera everywhere and shoot and not piss off the person or persons you are with because you are slowing them down with your shooting?

  • Reeya_20

    February 1, 2012 06:34 pm

    I have taken one initiative to do a '23' like a '365'. Thanx for the Blog.
    It really is interesting to get to know about the activities Worldwide. Good Luck!

  • Susan

    October 28, 2011 11:38 am

    Practical, attainable and truly inspirational!

  • Carson

    April 23, 2010 04:24 am

    Great advice about the 365 project, Jenn. I really like that. Sometimes I feel intimidated by my camera, especially after I see such good shots from other people. But I need to step up and practice more, and I admit that. I think I'll try the 365!

  • Mark

    April 21, 2010 06:47 am

    yes, i agree with so let us all put down mouse and shut up and pick our cameras and shoot awesome pictures!

  • James

    April 15, 2010 04:57 pm

    I guess it goes both ways. Theory without practice is like talking about war strategy, but if i had continued taking photos without all the knowledge, i guess i've have nothing but crap to show.

  • Augphoto

    April 8, 2010 03:44 am

    This is the most informative (even though it contains no actual photo tips), accurate, and important writing to ever come out of this site. I am more guilty than most about reading photo tips and not actually taking enough photos. I try to follow all the important blogs and photo sites I can. I study others photos endlessly, often thinking I could take that photo If I would only pick up my camera and go for it. I agree whole-heartedly that the studying is good but the picture 'taking' is much better. Now where did I put my camera?

  • Ivette

    April 7, 2010 12:36 pm

    I've learned so much by reading, and watching and hearing, but I'm sure the best part is doing it, taking photographies, there is nothing compared to actually do the (in this case) art I love to do.

  • Barbi Online

    April 5, 2010 07:25 pm

    I can't believe that I missed your point, I will have to do some research on this.

  • Joy Elizabeth

    April 5, 2010 02:16 am

    I always say, "One will only get better with practice & more practice!" Think, shoot, study & reflect!

  • Ed Mitchell

    April 4, 2010 09:50 pm

    If you read 'Outliers' by Malcolm Gladwell you will understand how critical Darren's advice on practice is.

  • Sharon

    April 4, 2010 03:17 am

    Very inspiring, indeed. I was planning on spending time today reading more but I will definitely do both now. It's so true that you need to experiment and practice to get better. I love the 365 photo a day project idea. Another thing that gets me into practice is taking online photography classes that have daily or weekly assignments. It's a great way to connect with others who are working on the same thing. I'm one of those people who needs hard deadlines, so that works for me. I love all the ideas above and I'm going to start taking my camera with me more often. There are too many times when I'm out and see great photo ops, but regretful that I didn't have my camera. No more!

  • Bob Kruppa

    April 3, 2010 11:14 pm

    Aside from practice, practice, practice, becoming a better photographer also involves associating yourself with the best that is out there. Study the best photos and professional photographer's techniques that are out there and eventually that will raise your level of photography. It's like reading good books or choosing great friends or playing with friends who are better golfers. Your own abilities will also get better by associating with those who have better skills than you do. However, I do agree that without doing it yourself (i.e., taking pictures) all the associating in the world won't help until you take the camera and press the shutter button.

  • joy!

    April 3, 2010 04:19 am

    as soon as i opened this article i started to laugh....i have not taken a picture in MONTHS!!! other than quick snaps of visiting family..not even good pictures of them. and, yes, i have read articles about photography, editing and looked at others' photography...but picked up my camera? well...i have it in my purse at all times...i mean all times...not out of my purse but in my purse. thanks for the article...maybe if your website wasn't so good and entertaining i might get out there...see, it just may be your fault.

  • Sami

    April 3, 2010 02:36 am

    I like reading things like this because it makes me believe that I can improve. I have improved tremendously from when I started but Im still not where I would like to be!

  • Jennifer

    April 2, 2010 11:48 pm

    Thank you - That was the kick in the pants I needed to get back in touch with my camera. I love reading and getting new ideas but every morning I see an amazing shot - but or darn I don't have my camera. I am going to add it my morning stuff to grab. THANK YOU!

  • Wes

    April 2, 2010 08:49 pm

    I couldn't agree more. Photography is not a "theory" type art. It is a "get of your duff and get out there" art. In order to call yourself a photographer or even a photo-buff, you have to take photos. And the best way to learn how to take really good photos is to take a lot of them. Sure some will be good and some will be bad. Some you'll be proud to show off, and some will never again see the light of day. But that's what photography is. And even Ansel Adams took a bad shot once in awhile. You are bound to. In any field, you only get better by making mistakes.
    With the advent of digital photography, making mistakes has gotten less costly. Now you can shoot pictures all day long, go back to your computer, and throw out the ones you don't like and keep the good ones - all at no real cost to you! With digital cameras (point and shoot or DSLRs) you have no more excuses NOT to take tons of photos!

  • Quink

    April 2, 2010 03:12 pm

    Right on time bro...

    I got into this learning mode and remained there for long....was (and still am) obsessed with reading books and spending hours looking at images on the internet.
    But did I take a single picture .... hell no.

    Am ready to make the jump from learning to doing mode.

    Cheers

  • steve nilsen

    April 2, 2010 02:06 pm

    Very sound advice, and good sensible teaching. We cannot expect to achieve greater things as photographers, if we do not have the motivation to go out and actually do what we love most. Someone once said, "The best way to succeed, is to stop talking, and start doing". I for one will be following that advice, and will soon be submitting my work for others to view here as well.

  • Vcki

    April 2, 2010 10:01 am

    Thank you!!! Thank you!!! Thank you!!! I loved this article! It's SO true! My camera goes everywhere with me!! There have been a few times when I've left it at home and those were the times I wanted it most! So, now, even if I'm going out on a date (the guy I'm dating is a photographer too, so he understands....lol) the camera is with me! I know my skills have become much better and I've had to step out of my comfort zone a number of times recently. I look at all of it as an adventure!!

  • Dave Waicus

    April 2, 2010 09:01 am

    Darren Rowse you are a gift from photography heaven,I thank you for all you write about the subject.

  • Barbi

    April 2, 2010 04:25 am

    We may also want to consider that becoming a good photographer also would include mentoring..... where would WE be without our mentors?

  • Dennis Brouilette

    April 2, 2010 04:22 am

    I really believe that this is true. It dosn't cost anything to take either 2 or two hundred shots, just the time to look at them on your computer. Its so much easier than when I started with 35mm photography and certainly much cheaper, or even free. ( Once yu have purchased your camera. ) I take perhaps 3-400 shots a week and then spend time with a critique to see where I can improve. I encourage all new photographers to snap away and most of all enjoy photography. As well as an art form it's a great hobby and more than this its FUN!!!!!!!

  • Ken

    April 2, 2010 03:59 am

    It has already been mentioned but one of the best ways to follow your suggestions is to make a conscious effort and do a 365 photo project. This forces you to really explore your own creativity with a camera and it really does open your eyes to things you would otherwise have missed. I did a 365 last year and am doing it this year so I have seen things I might have missed if it were not for that.

  • serloren (loren sanders)

    April 2, 2010 03:36 am

    Irregardless of what the old adage says: Practice does NOT make perfect, it only makes PERMANENT.

    In anything we do, photography, art, cooking, playing an instrument, etc we do have to be diligent if we want to get to be any good at it: we must practice, practice, practice...

    BUT, what we practice, and how we practice is of ultimate importance to whatever we want to do. We must practice correctly, specifically, and carefully, or we risk ruining our chances of ever improving by making permanent a wrong way of doing something, and nothing is harder to get past than something that is ingrained into a habit.

    if we do something wrong and it works and produces a good result - wonderful; but we need to make sure we know what we did wrong, how we did it wrong, and how to do it right before we do it over and over again (even if we repeat it purposely because we want those "technically" wrong results.

  • Charlotte Lee

    April 2, 2010 02:28 am

    Darren,
    Thanks for this article, and all the others that have helped and inspired me.
    This one is particularly inspiring. I am a photographer, writer and Christian lay speaker, and this article speaks to all three areas. So often we want to "read about," "think about," or "talk about" without taking action. We tend to think (myself in particular) that we need to possess a high level of knowledge and a great deal of skill before we put what we have into action. As you said, we must "step out of our comfort zone" in order to succeed. Not one of us learned to walk without falling, over and over again. But we learned from each fall. Doctors "practice" medicine. Lawyers "practice" law.

    With your permission, I'd like to use this article as a spring board for speaking about becomming a more effective Christian witness. It is so applicable.

    Thanks again, Charlotte Lee

  • Jack

    April 2, 2010 02:04 am

    How'd you know I was reading and not doing? :-)

    Jack

  • Keith Hawkins

    April 2, 2010 01:47 am

    Great article Darren.
    I for one am one of those few people who take my camera every where I go. Unfortunately I have a Lowepro Flipside 200 camera bag that seems to stay on my back with the camera in it a lot of the time. I think I may start bringing the camera and leaving the bag at home.

    Brad,
    The camera in the picture is a Canon Canonet QL17

  • jimbarman

    March 31, 2010 04:33 am

    spot on!!! I am one of the biggest culprits

  • Brad

    March 29, 2010 11:29 am

    I'll definitely start brining my camera with me everywhere, but does anyone know what camera that is in the second photo??

  • Chris

    March 29, 2010 10:41 am

    My piano teacher once told me; "Practice makes Perfect."

    I quit piano lessons. I don't plan on quitting photography because practicing is fun.

    Great Post Darren.

  • natalie norton

    March 29, 2010 09:57 am

    amen.

  • Michael Grijalva

    March 28, 2010 04:02 pm

    Well said. Experience will always outweigh how much you have "read." Assigning yourself projects and just getting out there is what will make you better.

  • Jason Collin Photography

    March 28, 2010 12:07 pm

    I think it is definitely a good idea to participate in dPS's weekend challenges, or any other photography source's themed shoots. If not, make one up of your own. I have one project of my own I'm working on, and ideas for two others.

  • William

    March 28, 2010 07:38 am

    Well said. I definitely needed a kick in the "get out and do something".

  • Smart`

    March 28, 2010 06:50 am

    I agree... your camera should be with you wherever you go. We learn tips and ways to improve our photographic skills, but unless you can discover how the technique is helpful on your own, you won't really have learned anything.Here's something I like to do: choose a comfortable place to take photographs (somewhere close like your back yard and house) and see if you can apply, within that space, as many of the things you learn from others as you can. Having a constant practice space will force your creativity to come out, and will train your eye to "see" the shots and execute them. You will get out of the mindset of thinking you need to go far in search of great photos. Most people can capture a good photo when the conditions and scenery are perfect, but trying day in and day out, using different techniques, to make something come out of what seems mundane can teach us lessons and give us confidence that will prove vital when we are in action.

  • Jesse

    March 28, 2010 03:24 am

    I loved this post. It really made me think about how little I have actually been shooting recently and I fully intend to get out today and try some of the things I've been reading about. Thanks for the kick start!

  • Hemant

    March 28, 2010 03:03 am

    This is a great post. You made me realize how much time I had been spending reading blogs and looking at pictures from great photographers, but putting in way less for photographing. Better late than never. Thanks for this eye opening post.

  • t-lea

    March 28, 2010 02:26 am

    I love this post! Something I've had to learn is to trust my ability and my eye, but at the same time be actively critical of my own work. Another big thing for me is to create challenges for myself and keep learning. I am a fan of prime lenses, and just bought an 85mm f/1.4 lens. The trick with this is that the lens is manual focus; the auto focus counterpart is way out of my price range. Although I have to work to use this lens, I love it because it forces me to think about settings, and in the process gain a better understanding of what I am doing. Right now, it is a very deliberate process, but I know with enough practice managing settings will become second nature. When that happens, I will have benefited from my self-imposed challenge.

  • Victor Howard

    March 28, 2010 12:56 am

    Yes. Yes. Yes. I am an absolute amatuer in severe learning mode. Spent a lot of time at the beginning trying to read books, blogs, etc to get knowledge. Took few shots. A while back, I committed to taking my camera everywhere and shooting everything, experimenting a lot, taking some good shots, lots of bad shots, with a real focus on learning by doing -- trying to get best shot in camera and not in post-processing. I have seen my comfort with the camera increase dramatically and my skills increase moderately. Best of all, I am not afraid of "mistakes" and have moved to experimenting in full manual mode. Also, by "doing" I find that my passion for photography and my passion to become better has increased.

  • boonhlaw

    March 27, 2010 11:33 pm

    yeah thanks. will pick up my camera and make sure it stays with me most of the time!

  • Pam

    March 27, 2010 11:25 pm

    The best thing I have done is 2010 is take up your Challenge of taking at least one picture everyday. I got just the camera I wanted for Christmas, a Canon Powershot SX 20 IS. I was overwhelmed, however, with all the options once I got it out of the box and into my hand. But, day by day, week by week, along with reading the detailed and lengthy manual a little bit at a time, I am learning. I am actually starting to play around with ISO and macro photography. Wow, who knew! I post my pics on my Facebook page, mostly of my garden and its progress. I do read DPS almost everyday, as it keeps me focused and gives me ideas AND lots of encouragement. Thanks Darren for a wonderful site and sharing your expertise. I always planned to get serious about photography once I retired. I have been retired now for a year, and your site has helped me see what can be accomplished, and made me not afraid to experiment. Birds, flowers, snow, sunsets, cloudy days all have been captured over the last three months. Things I rarely paid attention to before.

  • The Shannon

    March 27, 2010 11:22 am

    This story has totally motivated me to start a photo-a-day goal. I'm working on my photography degree and lately it's felt more like a chore to go out and get a shot. I'm totally stoked to start focusing on doing it for me again and not for a grade.

    Thanks!

  • Miguel Carvajal

    March 27, 2010 10:17 am

    Darren, your timing is perfect! This is a great article, which brings up the main reason why I started a 365-photo-a-day photoblog: to get myself and my camera out of the house and take more photographs.

    I have some really cool software in my computer that I like to use to manipulate, doctor, or otherwise alter the photos I take. This is my excuse to stay in my room glued to my computer.

    With my photoblog I have an obligation to myself to get to know really well my camera equipment, to practice the photo techniques I read about in places like DPS, and to actually think before I press the shutter button of my camera to take a photo.

    Thank you again for this great article!

  • Danferno

    March 27, 2010 07:46 am

    "This starts with picking up your camera and taking it with you – everywhere"

    No. Try going out on a photo walk - without your camera. You'd be amazed how much you learn.

  • TheMainIngredigent

    March 27, 2010 07:28 am

    yeah! I just had this in my mind... I read a lot about photography, but I need to do more photowalks. Maybe it s because I'm too lazy sometimes.
    I also think, this article can be a great motiviation to really use your time.
    This might be the most valuable tip on dps.

  • Karen Stuebing

    March 27, 2010 05:29 am

    Couldn't agree more. I did the 365 thing and am now doing The Daily Shoot which is harder because you get an "assignment" each day rather than pick you own shot.

    The only thing I would add is to learn post processing because it can make a good photo look better. Even exposed properly most photos can do with at least a touch of levels. And if you want you can get really creative and use tone mapping and HDR.

    Oh no, I brought up the dreaded HDR. LOL.

    Seriously, when not over done, HDR can create a dream like image. But maybe that's digital art and OT. Or is it? Ansel Adams used a dark room like we use Photoshop.

  • fortunato_uno

    March 27, 2010 04:49 am

    o yea if you would like to see my journey in the last 6 months, i'm on talent trove. www.talenttrove.com/fortunato_uno

  • fortunato_uno

    March 27, 2010 04:34 am

    i sooo......... totaly agree. i can't tell you how many people have said your shots are great, you should take a corse. well i have no intrest in having someone show me what i can learn threw trial and error. yea i know it might give me a head start but, i'm a hands on guy. if i learn the rules then i may be less likely to step out side of them. i find that the lessons i learn from reviewing (and reviewing and reviewing ect....) my shots have made me more aware of what the results are rather then some one telling me that i need to do something. now this is NOT to say that taking a coarse is a bad idea !!! i would actually recomend it ! i on the other hand i find the basic knowlage i gained using film (back in the day), where i had to be very concious of the choices in my settings were a fine school for the photographer in me. i shoot about 3,000 shots a month. and many would say my work flow has shown a deffinate inprovement. i shoot every thing from car wrecks, children playing, local activities, to birds (the birds being the best teacher for action shots). i have to say i think my shots are not all thatbut, thats what keeps it going for me.

  • Chris

    March 27, 2010 04:28 am

    One of the best articles I've read on DPS in quite a while, and totally true.

  • Danny

    March 27, 2010 04:12 am

    This article could not have come at a better time for me. Friend of mine is pushing me to go and do a shoot this weekend and I've got no experience at directing models at all!!!

    Time to put that trial and error to work!

    BTW, definitely agree with all the points in this article!

  • Kristopher Michael

    March 27, 2010 02:01 am

    I completely agree with this article. As much as a photographer should know the technical aspects of their camera, it really comes down to experimentation and finding your style and what works best for you. I'm not focused on the science of photography anymore. What it comes down to is trial and error, and taking your errors and growing from them.

  • Shannon

    March 27, 2010 01:42 am

    The more you shoot the better you get. I know that working for free is a big no-no nowadays, but you can still do shoots, just don't give your work away afterwards. This is a shot from a working just to work session.
    McKinney, TX Portrait Photography

  • Dimitris

    March 27, 2010 01:33 am

    I totaly agree. You can read the books, study the work of great photographer, browse through internet for countless photographs, but at the end of the day, what matters the most is how many photos you took, how many things you learned in action, how good are you getting (or not), if your pictures were any good, according to your taster or to the taste of those that matter to you. I really love your website gyus, it's been a great inspiration and motivation, thank you a lot!

  • Devon

    March 27, 2010 01:25 am

    Agreed! I am doing my first model shoot this weekend. Enough reading how to do model photography. Time to jump out of my comfort zone and actually do one!

  • Lovelyn

    March 27, 2010 01:25 am

    Thanks for the great tips. I completely agree with Jenn about Project 365. I recently started doing it too and I find that it's forces me to take the pictures that I wouldn't have before. It's a great motivator.

  • Greg Taylor

    March 27, 2010 01:19 am

    I agree - go and shoot photos! Know your camera, know your settings, trust your instincts.

    Here's a post about my three for beginners - http://grtaylor2.com/2010/02/three-photography-tips-for-beginners/

  • junglebear

    March 27, 2010 01:08 am

    Nice post, I agree that the only way to actually improve your photographs is to practice.

    Jenn - I just had a quick look at your blog and thought I should let you know that all the images are watermarked with 'Phorography' instead of 'Photography'.
    You might want to change that watermark!

  • Mark Cornwell

    March 27, 2010 12:42 am

    Great post. I can juggle with three balls and four balls. I want to learn six. At lunchtime I was on YouTube watching a video guide to five balls and another to six balls. I know the *theory* but until I start throwing balls and dropping them I will not be able to do six balls. Actually just trying a few of the warm-ups for five balls using three balls shows me that this is going to be a good challenge.

    Just as with juggling you are dead right. Until we pick up our camera and shoot we have only a small part of the knowledge of how to take pictures.

  • Matthew

    March 27, 2010 12:37 am

    Wow, that was very inspirational! (You have inspired me!)

    Jenn Van Wyk, I may join you with that project! It sounds like a great idea!

    Thank you for writing this Darren, you certainly lifted my spirits a bit, and even put a smile on my face.

  • Bert Heymans

    March 27, 2010 12:34 am

    There are a few ways I found to make carrying a DSLR around easier, if you want to take your camera with you everywhere: a good portable tripod, a comfortable camera bag and taking only the lens that is on the camera with you.

  • Nicholas Lee

    March 27, 2010 12:25 am

    I agree!

    I think it is time that some of us need to spend a little less time reading about photography and spend a little more time doing some photography

    It's all about doing it not reading it!

    Action speaks more than words!

  • Jen at Cabin Fever

    March 27, 2010 12:19 am

    I completely, 100%, totally agree with this! What a great post. There is a TON of theory behind photography, like medicine, but like a doctor... it doesn't matter what you know until you practice it!

    Your list made me smile, especially the part about stepping outside of your comfort zone to get a shot. I don't know how many times I have looked like a spectacle myself, or had to make a ridiculous (or even dangerous) trek to get the exact shot I was after.

    Practice may not make perfect, but it sure does make us better. :)

  • jerwin

    March 27, 2010 12:18 am

    i agree! thanks for the inspirational article!

  • Mei-Ling

    March 27, 2010 12:16 am

    Thanks for the motivation! :o)

  • Jay McIntyre

    March 27, 2010 12:14 am

    Shoot shoot shoot. You can read all of the become a better photographer posts that you want, but if you are not shooting, you are not getting any better.
    I forget my lunch more often than I forget my camera.

    A great challenge is to embark on a 365 or similar project. I've incorporated a visual word of the day feature on my blog, where I take the dictionary.com word of the day and I try to photograph it. it isn't always possible, but quite often it is very fun.
    here's an example:
    http://jmphotographyonline.wordpress.com/2010/01/24/visual-word-of-the-day-frangible/

    My extra input: Stepping into doing mode means making mistakes. and not making them again.

    Jay
    http://www.jmphotographyonline.ca
    http://www.jmphotographyonline.wordpress.com

  • Jen at Cabin Fever

    March 27, 2010 12:13 am

    I completely, 100%, totally agree with this! What a great post. There is a TON of theory behind photography, like medicine, but like a doctor... it doesn't matter what you know until you practice it!

    Your list made me smile, especially the part about stepping outside of your comfort zone to get a shot. I don't know how many times I have looked like a spectacle myself, or had to make a ridiculous (or even dangerous) trek to get the exact shot I was after.

    Practice may not make perfect, but it sure does make us better. :)

    www.nekphotography.com
    www.vtcabinfever.blogspot.com

  • Rita Kamel

    March 27, 2010 12:12 am

    You are totally right.

    I'm new to photography & started taking pictures 2 days ago. The camera follows me everywhere (even in the office :P, the thing is as you said:

    "It continues with a commitment to regularly lifting that camera to your eye and taking shot after shot".

    I got interested in photography because of blogs like yours. I love the simplicity & the straightfowardness in it.

    Keep up!

  • Jenn Van Wyk

    March 27, 2010 12:12 am

    I agree! I started a 365 project this year (where I take a photo a day), and it has been amazing to see my photography skills grow in just three months. Instead of walking past those scenes where I think "gosh, that would be a great photo", I have my camera with my and execute my creative vision. Keep shooting out there!

  • MeiTeng

    March 27, 2010 12:12 am

    I have to agree that one needs to just go out and shoot. Head knowledge alone does not improve one's photography.

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