I love photography. LOVE it! Few things make me happier than grabbing my Canon 80D and hitting the streets in search of the perfect pic to capture or playing around with Photoshop and Lightroom to really capture the emotion or idea that I wish to convey.
But good photography isn't as simple as "point and click." There is a lot that does into being a good photographer and I'm here to share a few things that I've learned along the way that I hope will make your journey easier/more productive.
1) Wherever you go, your camera goes with you. There are obviously a few exceptions to this rule, but if you don't have a camera with you when that perfect moment comes then you have no one to blame but you.
Making a habit of having a camera available (even if it's an iPhone or GalaxyS) is essential to really grow in this craft. Which leads us to...
2) Learning to see everything around you. I mean REALLY seeing. This means being present in the moment and not letting yourself be distracted by phone apps and the like. Instead, learn to be observant to be actively looking for that shot while you're out and about.
It's one thing to know that you want a shot of a particular building and going too shoot it, but it's another altogether to be training yourself to look for something that you don't know exists.
I found this particularly helpful a few weeks back when I was photographing a wedding in California. As we were out getting the photos that the bride and groom wanted, I would notice different tree and architectural features that provided excellent leading lines and backgrounds. My teaching myself to be active in SEEING the environment led to me getting some of the best pictures out of the entire day!
3) Challenge yourself beyond your comfort zone and try even styles you don't typically like or haven't tried.
In the days of the Renaissance, artists were required to learn and practice all forms of art before later developing their own forms and styles. This includes artists like Michelangelo, Picasso, Rembrandt, etc.
By trying new styles, you stretch your creative muscles and enable yourself to see the world in new ways, making it easier to do tip number2: seeing.
Furthermore, you may accidentally stumble into something you really enjoy! This is how I found my love for light-writing, cinemagraphs, and graphic alteration!
4) Allow yourself the grace to fail brilliantly. You're going to mess up and you are going to make SO many mistakes. You will have days where you take 500+ pictures, and when you upload them to edit, you will only have about three or four worth keeping. And that is OK!
Our mistakes don't have to break us. We can take those mistakes and let them form and shape us into better artists. Don't let the fear of failure keep you from stepping out to try something new or make a fool of yourself to achieve your goal!
5) Be you. You will hear it a thousand times. It will make you sick every time you read it or hear it from the hundreds of artists that you research. Then, eventually you will feel sick every time you give this advice to some new photographer that you meet.
Being yourself and allowing bits of what you think, feel, and believe to bleed into your creations is essential to being happy with what you make and making good art. If you want to find your niche and style, it begins with you learning to find yourself in the pictures you take. To see the humanity in every photo that you shoot.
There is only one you, and you out to yourself to find out who you truly are let yourself exist in the art you create.
I hope these tips are useful to you in your endeavors to be a better photographer! Fell free to check out my photographs on Instagram @blue_scotsman and give me a follow and some comments!