Five Tips to Truly Improve Your Photography

These aren't quick tips about a neat technique or trick. These five tips are for anyone who is in photography for the long haul, whether you're a passionate amateur or looking to make it your career.

Coming to you from former Fstoppers Photographer of the Month (July 2017) Mads Peter Iversen, this great video will give you five helpful tips for developing as a photographer. Of the five, the most salient for me was learning to shoot with intention. It's easy (even now after years of practice and training) to point my camera at something that seems like it might make a good image and wait until I get home to edit it into existence, but what I'm essentially doing is hoping I'll luck into an image instead of truly employing the creative process. I definitely feel prouder and more connected to the act when I actively think through the process of creating the photo while behind the camera beyond just pointing it at something that shows passing novelty. It also helps me to grow as a photographer much more when I can work through a scenario and critique myself. Give the video above a watch for four more great tips. 

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Anonymous's picture

“the most salient for me was learning to shoot with intention.”

Agreed. What Angel Adams (and others) called “visualization” of a scene is key to good photography. The ability of digital cameras to spray and pray and to fix easily in postproduction applications can lead to laziness and bland imagery.

Vincent Alongi's picture

True. And with that, you will hit a rut (like anyone). While we want to take photos every day, it doesn't hurt to put it down for a day or two, seek out some inspiration as well as carry a little notepad around to jot down some ideas if you're into composing images. I've got a little laundry-list of photos I will be arranging now for that. But those are for portraits. For street, say, it doesn't hurt to just shoot your way out of it- just be more deliberate in hitting the shutter.

Anonymous's picture

Yes absolutely; two seemingly contradictory methods (stop shooting and shoot more) that can both pull you out of a creative rut.

I tend to take a break from personal projects, read up on photography, and look at great photographers new and old to find inspiration rather than increase my shooting. But I certainly see the value in it for certain styles.

Vincent Alongi's picture

He reinforces a basic concept, that this is an art- times 2. The capture of the image, then the post-processing. Sometimes it's good to hear it objectively, as I know I'm hesitant to over-manipulate. Maybe it's time to experiment a little more.

Michael Coen's picture

There are some really great things to take away from this, thank you. One thing I know I can do more of is reading and submitting work for critique.

I'm also very glad Mads emphasizes the fact that we do NOT need to rely on the rule of thirds. In the one photography class I've taken as an elective at school, our instructor INSISTED on rule of thirds all the time. In fact, if you didn't use it she would at the very least call you out on it – all of our work was reviewed on a large screen in front of the class – and at worst she would deduct points.

Thanks for posting this, Alex and thanks to Mads for making it.

Jen Photographs's picture

Aw, no subtitles.

Ed Sanford's picture

Excellent video. I really appreciated the portion on editing. As a former film photographer, I spent more hours in the darkroom than in the field. That same concept carries over into digital editing. You absolutely need to “get things right” in camera, but editing allows you to fully finish an image to the point where it conveys your visualization.