5 Simple Ways to Become a Better Photographer

5 Simple Ways to Become a Better Photographer

As professional photographers and videographers, we are constantly striving to stay ahead of the game doing the best we can and give our clients the best possible product. We are constantly looking at new gear and techniques, improving our post-production skills, and putting in long hours studying and editing. While hard work, solid equipment, and good business skills are a must, here are a few simple tips that can help open doors, bring in new clients, and help give you the confidence to make important decisions.

1.) Be Friends With Photographers

Having friends to go shoot with can do wonders for your work. I like to think that I am a very self-motivated person, but the honest truth is I wouldn't have taken some of my favorite photos if it wasn't for a good friend who was willing to join me on a photo mission or convincing me to get out of the house when I didn't feel like it. Also, life and work are stressful. Sometimes it is nice to have someone to talk to that can relate.

2.) Reading

Well if you're reading this, then most likely you are already committed to this step. The Internet and most importantly, Fstoppers, is full of useful articles that you can learn a lot from. But to take it a step further, don’t be afraid to pick up a book. Recently, I read “The Hungry Heart,” a memoir by Gordon Parks. Learning about the life and works of some of the greatest photographers can do wonders for your own work. Most have led inspiring lives full of trials and tribulation. Learning about their troubles and successes can teach us and help prevent us from making mistakes down the road.

3.) Branch Out

Whether you need inspiration, are stuck on a project, or are just looking to add clients, one easy way to break through road blocks is to branch out. You should try new things and switch it up. If you shoot in the studio everyday, go outside. If you are burnt out from shooting, take a day off. When I feel like I’m spending too much time inside, I go fly fishing. I get so excited to be outside I can’t help but bring my camera and shoot everything I see. If you live in a small town, visit a city and bring your camera along. If you want more clients, learn a new skill. Maybe it's time you start shooting video? Shoot with your phone less, or more. The options are endless and inspiration is all around you. Just be willing to change your routine and you will find it.

4.) Stay Humble

When I say stay humble, what I really mean is don’t be afraid to learn from others. It is easy to get carried away comparing yourself to other photographers. You can learn from anyone, even the know-it-all can teach you valuable lessons.

5.) Expect Positive Results

This is often overlooked, but in my opinion it is essential to being successful at anything, not only photography. The thing that separates the successful photographers from the unsuccessful is their ability to expect positive results. Don’t jump into big decisions or put yourself deep into debt for equipment you don’t need. Take time to learn and study and make the most out of what you have. When the time comes and you have made your decision, put all doubt behind you. This is easier said than done, but when practiced it is unfailing. Concentrate your thoughts on positive outcome and focus on them as you would study the work of an admired artist.

The world of photography is a risky business. It is a competitive and constantly evolving market. You have to constantly be on your toes and adapting to change. It can be hard to keep a competitive edge as well as a harmonious life balance. You will definitely encounter road blocks on your journey, but remember what brought you to where you are in the first place.

Log in or register to post comments

3 Comments

Dan Howell's picture

6.) Shoot Frequently. Even if you are not hitting your peak on each photo-shoot, decreasing the interval between occasions behind the camera will heighten instincts and keep not only the technical information fresh in your memory but also the sense-memory of manipulating the camera and seeing the light. Keeping the skills and instincts sharp allows for more time creativity to 'happen'. On the occasions that you have the other elements together for peak photographic experiences, fresh instincts and sharp skills will be more available at your fingertips. In other words, you won't have to 're-invent the wheel' on each shoot...

I am only friends with a couple of photographers. Around my area it is worse than high school for cliques of photographers. It's borderline humorous. I've been "blacklisted" among certain groups/photographers in town because I would not share locations on private property I've been allowed access to or I wouldn't "shadow" another photographer on a photo shoot in case they ran into trouble not knowing how to use their camera or they needed ideas for free.

Thomas Jergel's picture

Branching out and being friends with other photographers helps a lot, but there's more to this in my opinion.

Branch out by getting to know people and befriend those that are creative in other ways and fields as well, there is a ton of inspiration from other artists.

Some of my greatest photos have come from when I've spent time with friends who are tattoo artists for example and have their amusing, sometimes crazy ideas and visions of the world around them.

Also, simply have a great time and do play around with what you're doing whenever possible.

In my opinion photography and other creative fields of work should always have some element of fun and playfulness, it's healthy both for who you're photographing as well as yourself.