So…you want to be a better photographer?! Awesome!
I want to share with you 5 things that I have learned in my career that have helped me improve as a photographer and as a creative.
I started my profession, in 1998, as a second shooter for a wedding photographer and I was paid $200 for each wedding. I remember going through the Yellow Pages and searching for all the photographers in the Ottawa region, calling them and asking if they would be willing to let a college student learn from them and that’s how it all started! You can’t wait for doors to open, you have to go knocking!
Things are a lot easier these days with the internet and social media. It’s incredible how many free resources are available to learn from, like YouTube and Facebook groups. You can quickly grow as an artist if you allow yourself. Here are five things I think you should do if refining yourself as a photographer is something that inspires you!
You should try to accept criticism positively and make sure to analyze it. What could you do better next time? Sometimes it’s something so simple like lighting. Never ignore the feedback, it’s nothing personal! My art teacher in high school told me I should stay away from art because I couldn’t draw faces. Stay true to your style.
Being surrounded by like-minded people is priceless! Join some groups, sign up for workshops and classes, go out and meet other photographers. Be inspired and support, ask for help and give help too. If you’re looking for friendly criticism, tips or if you have questions, groups are perfect for all those things. Search photography groups on Facebook and be surprised at the amount of them! Groups for women only and even groups for those who suffer from mental illnesses like me.
3. Skill vs Gear
Never think that buying better gear will instantly make your photos better that is unless you know your camera and everything it can do, learn to shoot in manual mode. I had to learn with film and a light meter, digital has changed the game. Experiment and make mistakes!
There’s a reason why one of the first thing they teach in college is the history of photography and its greats, like Ansel Adams. It’s just like knowing who you are, it’s easier when you know where you came from. Give yourself the time to understand the influence it has on the world.
Your comfort zone is your biggest enemy when it comes to being creative! Get out of it, learn some new things. Don't stop yourself from becoming better at your craft.
Photography depends on technology and technology changes so quickly, it’s important to keep up. For me, I found that having fellow photographers as friends and being part of groups is what really helps me improve my skills. To this day, I still learn new things very often, and I love that about photography. Do you?
Until next time,