Three Ways to Improve Your Photography This Weekend

Three Ways to Improve Your Photography This Weekend

We all want to get better. Here are three quick steps to help you get on your way this weekend.

Most of us have to fit photography obsession around a day job. That means that the weekend is prime time for both taking photographs and improving on our craft. However, with such a tight window to play in, the learning is often overlooked and replaced with doing. My sports coach (I cycled, wore lyrca, and shaved my legs) always said Piss Poor Practice Produces Piss Poor Performance. This is true of almost anything and something that should certainly be applied to photography. Taking more photographs won't make you a better photographer. Specificity is the key. So why not try these simple tips.

Goal Setting

This seems so obvious, but how many of us have our goals written down and hold ourselves accountable to them? Whenever I need to improve, I set clear goals with measurable outcomes and a timeframe. Having this written down on paper really helps me work toward the improvement.

Leave Your Camera at Home

In order to really excel at anything, you need to read outside of the subject. Knowing everything about still photography won't make you stand out. It is the ability to draw from other resources that will make the difference. So why not leave your camera at home and head out to an exhibition or to see a film at your local cinema. Time out is always good. Maybe you will find the new inspiration that has been out of reach for the past few months.

Buy a New Camera or Lens

I don’t believe that new cameras and lenses make your photography better, but I do think that a new bit of kit can really up your enthusiasm for taking better photographs. You probably won't be able to go and splurge $1,000 on a new lens for a jolly, but maybe skip a night out on the beers and spend the money you saved on renting an interesting tilt shift lens for the weekend. Try something outside of your comfort zone.

What would be your three tips to improve your photography over a weekend?

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Richard Bradbury's picture

Hi Scott,

Thanks for the article.

I need to learn to step away and take time out for sure.

As for the last point.. does that mean I can buy the Canon 5Ds I have been looking at? :)

I think another point could be to take some time to shut other things and people out and focus on your and your work, it's easy to get pulled in multiple directions with daily life, family etc.

I myself need to learn to say no and to focus on me more.

Eric Raeber's picture

Here are three things I have done in the past:

1) Leave your camera behind but take a sketchbook with you and draw. You will see a different aspect of the scene. Not as an image, but as a story that unfolds in front of your eyes.

2) Meet and discuss what drives you to create with an artist from a different field: a poet, a painter or even a software engineer. You will find more parallels than you ever could have imagined.

3) Instead of buying new gear, dust off your old gear and create under constraint. Take just one lens, constrain yourself to an apparently boring location or a single subject. Then work it 'till exhaustion.

Vincent Alongi's picture

Your number 3 is a home run. I respectfully disagree 100% with Scott's advice to buy new gear, while I can understand the concept of buying something new may prompt creativity and stepping outside of your comfort zone.

However, that may lead to buying something you don't actually need, and it will be collecting dust in no time if it's not part of your productive arsenal once you get back into your zone.