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!
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.