How do you get better at photography?
The same way you get to Carnegie Hall. Practice, practice, practice.
But practice what? That is the key. If you go out every day with your camera and take the same pictures the same way, you will end up with a lot of photos that look the same. To get better at photography, you have to practice getting better.
Many of you have bought several lenses, thinking that a new and better lens will make you better. It may make you broke, but it won’t make you better. So for the next month, put one of those lenses on your camera and don’t take it off. If you have a prime lens, in other words, a fixed focal length lens as opposed to a zoom lens, use that.
Using the same lens, especially a prime, will force you to stop thinking about the lens and start thinking about the image. With a prime, you will have to ‘zoom with your feet,’ forcing you to think more about your composition. Finally, it will give you a common ground in all of your images so, hopefully, you can see your improvement.
Now, go forth and take a picture. But wait! Don’t press the shutter yet.
First, just look through the viewfinder. If your camera has a screen and a viewfinder, and you have been using the screen, stop. The viewfinder gives you a much better view, and it is easier to look at all the things you need to before pressing the shutter.
When looking through the viewfinder, don’t just look at what you are taking the picture of. Look all around the frame. Let your eye wander around the edges and look into the corners. Is there anything that is cut off that should be in the frame? More importantly, are there elements in the frame that are distracting? Usually, just tilting the camera slightly or moving a few feet can greatly improve the composition.
Now, look at the subject and everything in front of and behind it. Could you move closer to fill the frame better with the subject? Are there distracting elements in front of the subject that can be eliminated by moving you or the camera. Look behind. Is there a tree or pole sticking out from behind the subject? Just moving to one side or the other will eliminate that beginner’s mistake.
Practice this one thing every time you take a picture, and it will become second nature in no time. If you want to get better at photography, you have to practice taking better pictures. Use this technique, and you will see immediate and long-lasting improvements.
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