Five Great Tips for Improving Your Photography

Photographers are constantly searching for ways to improve their imagery, and in this short video, landscape photographer James Popsys puts together five great tips (four plus a bonus tip) to help you think about your workflow and motivation, and how to avoid certain pitfalls.

Perhaps my favorite from Popsys’ list is his suggestion to spend more time editing your images. As he notes, presets can be a good way to get started but they shouldn’t be a solution, and obviously, there's much to add to this. Personally, I know that I’ve learned a huge amount from sitting and playing endlessly with images, one of the luxuries of being a lazy student at the time I first picked up a camera. While some photographers hate any time spent in front of the computer, I’m fortunate that it’s something that I love. Playing with crops has taught me a huge amount about different ways to frame an image, inadvertently analyzing how the negative space around a portrait can change how that person is portrayed or seeing how subtle changes to the composition of a landscape or architectural shot can shift your sense of how an image sits with you in terms of its balance. Through osmosis, this understanding of framing is then subconsciously transferred to when I'm holding a camera, perhaps allowing me to make stronger compositions as a result of all of those hours spent in Lightroom.

In addition to this, I think I learned a huge amount from making endless mistakes, and no doubt I have lots more to learn. All of those moments when something wasn’t quite right might be frustrating, but they’ve helped to shape the photographer I am today, and I look forward to making a lot more mistakes in the future.

Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive so if you have your own thoughts that tie in with Popsys’ suggestions, please leave them in the comments below.

Andy Day's picture

Andy Day is a British photographer and writer living in France. He began photographing parkour in 2003 and has been doing weird things in the city and elsewhere ever since. He's addicted to climbing and owns a fairly useless dog. He has an MA in Sociology & Photography which often makes him ponder what all of this really means.

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Yeah, definitely too much caffeine! :-)

I really like your sentence ". . . do you have questions about it, and NOT questions like ´I wonder what focal length that was shot on or I wonder what aperture they used´ -- [but] questions about what´s happening in the photo . . ." I totally agree with this, as often indeed pictures are held favourable just "because they have pretty colors". Good post.

And, concerning your "bonus trap" -- the issue about not taking enough photos and where you say that people would be surprised to learn how many pictures famous photographers take/took before getting the final image they publish. This is something which is not only true in the present, but was also the case in the past (with film). I read an article at least 25 years ago about a photographer for National Geographic Magazine who wrote that when on an assignment, he takes along about 200 rolls of film (36 exposures), sometimes even double for a longer assignment. In the end, maybe 10-15 images get published in the final article.

Good points, nice video!