Are you confident using your camera to take photographs in every situation in which you want to shoot? Do you experience anxiety when you think about reaching for your camera? Would you like to feel sure that when you do head out for a photography session you will return more than satisfied with your results? So what is the best way to improve your photography?
If you are anxious or lacking confidence in using your camera you will most likely not be so happy with your photographs. As photographers, most of us like to be improving our pictures each time we use our cameras. I don’t know of a photographer who is not interested in continuing to create better photos than they have previously.
Photography is so much more than having the most up to date equipment and knowing which dials to turn and buttons to push to make it work. The best way to improve your photography is to forget about your camera.
Photography is More Popular Than Ever
Photography is currently more popular than it has ever been. People are taking more photos every day than ever before in history. Why? Because they can and because it is easy. And because everyone always has a camera with them.
It is easier and more convenient than ever to be able to take and share your photographs. Most people can take a photo with their phone very easily and without much knowledge of photography technique. Most phone camera users are not concerned with their shutter speed or their ISO setting. But you don’t have to search much to find some outstanding photographs made with phone cameras.
When people take photos with their phone they are most often concentrating on the moment, not the mechanics of how to work the camera. The more you can learn to do this when you are using your DSLR, mirrorless or any other camera the more you will improve your photography.
Make Time to Learn
Make time to study how your camera works. If you are just starting out, begin with the essentials. Become familiar with the settings for obtaining a good exposure and well-focused photos.
For more advanced photographers, don’t neglect to keep learning more about your camera. Learn to use more of the functions and become proficient at them. If you can do this you will be well prepared whenever you want to head out for a photography session.
If you are constantly trying to figure out how to use your camera at the times when you want to make great photos, you will not be as successful.
Know your camera functions and settings well, so you can use it as quickly and easily as your phone camera. You’ll be able to pay more attention to the moment if you do so.
When you are in a situation where you want to take photographs, be prepared. Have everything with you that you need. Do you need another lens? Will you need flash? How about your tripod? As well, be mindful of whether or not you will need anything other than your camera and one or two lenses. If not, don’t carry it with you. It will only hinder you.
Always try to anticipate the situation ahead of time. Be well set up with the right lens and any other accessories you need. If you can do this in advance you will be able to concentrate more on making great photos.
Review and Critique
Always take a good look at your photos, including the ones you are not satisfied with. Hopefully, you are not deleting any of your photos from your cards before reviewing them on your computer. Aside from this being poor technical practice, you can learn a lot from your dud photos.
Studying your photos for composition, exposure, timing, subject choice, etc., will help you improve. If you are reviewing photos you are not so happy with, this will help you avoid making the same mistakes in future.
Having someone else look at your photos and offer critique can be very valuable. Even if it’s a friend or family member who has little or no photography experience it can help keep you on track, (so long as they are honest and positive.)
Sharing your photos for critique with an experienced photographer can help your growth. They will be able to point out things you may not have noticed. By seeking feedback you will learn directly from your own images.
Art and Science
Photography is very much a whole brain experience. The left hemisphere of your brain engages to manage the technical aspects. Your right hemisphere is more attentive to the creative aspects. There must be a cohesion and a balance.
If you are too focused on the technical aspects of photography you will not produce such creative pictures. If your right brain takes over you may not get well-exposed or focused images because of not paying attention to your camera.
Being confident to use your camera, whichever one you choose to use, will help you be more successful. Understand how to use it and to adjust the settings to get the photos you want easily. This takes some study, commitment, and practice, but it’s well worth it to be able to achieve consistently better results.