10 easy ways to improve your photography skills

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War Museum statue

War Museum statue

In preparation for when I eventually get the beast, I’ve been doing a lot of reading about photography in general and DSLR photography in particular. For someone who’s been snapping pics since her dad first relinquished the family point-and-shoot film camera, I had no idea how little I knew about photography!

But after delving into rich resources such as the NPhoto magazine and the Getting Started in Digital Photography magbook, my brain is overflowing with technical details and practical rules and useful tips. I may be a late starter, but I make up for that in enthusiasm :mrgreen: So this morning I jotted down ten ideas I’m going to try to put into practice with my own photography going forward. Maybe they’ll help you too.

10 ways to take better photos

  1. Start with the rule of thirds as a default (instead of amateurish centred subjects) and experiment from there. I can’t believe I’d never heard of this rule until I began researching ‘proper’ cameras. The rule of thirds has been around for a long time though – since or even before 1797! And it still works.
  2. Train your eye to see in pictures. While I’m driving (when it’s safe to do so!), walking around or at home, I’m going to start observing the scene and asking myself “How would I snap this scene in an unusual or interesting way?” In this way I hope to keep an eye out for interesting lighting and compositions in everyday situations.
  3. Get to know your camera. Don’t wait till you have a fancy camera before you start learning the ropes. For example, I’ve been astounded to discover the full features of my current Fujifilm FinePix recently. Now I’m doing awesome stuff like shooting in manual and using my little prosumer to its full potential.
  4. Study great photos. Read photography magazines and browse websites, make a note of your favourite shots and compositions, and try to replicate them (in your own style) for practice. It helps if you learn to decipher the EXIF data, too!
  5. Shoot a variety of genres until you find your niche. Don’t expect to know from the outset what type of photography will become your exclusive passion. And on that note, don’t negatively compare yourself to the pros. They, too, started off with the basics.
  6. Share your pics and welcome feedback. And I don’t mean just showing off to supportive friends and family members 😉 There are plenty of photo sites, blogs and forums where amateur and enthusiast photographers gather to share their work and give each other advice.
  7. Learn to do some post-processing. The web offers several freeware packages that will teach you how to get the best results with your pics. This is something I definitely want to look into (especially when I have more free time when I’m back at home). I’m thinking GIMP is a good place to start…
  8. Develop an eye for colour, shape, patterns and textures. You’d be surprised at the cool compositions you can create with everyday items if you take these aspects into account. I’ve started noticing how advertisers use these details to striking effect.
  9. Take LOTS of photos! Practice really is the key to success here, although of course you’ll only gain something from all that happy snapping if you take time to consider what went wrong with the pics that need improvement. I’ve been driving Ninja batty with my latest habit of examining each pic after I’ve taken it and muttering to myself things such as, ‘Hmmm, clearly the shutter speed is too low on that one… I’d better increase the ISO to help out in the low light…’ 😀
  10. Embrace the challenge. If photography is a hobby you want to actively pursue, set yourself goals and challenge yourself to keep learning. You’ll know once you’re ready for a camera upgrade or skilled enough to enter a photo competition.

Hope that helps 🙂 Happy shooting!

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3 responses »

  1. Pingback: Classic Cars Show 2013 | Sunshine Scrapbook

  2. Oh my I have a lot to learn! Already flunked number one! Funny because that’s how I was taught to take pictures – “center” everything and don’t chop off any heads :). Great post with lots of helpful info I must learn. Thanks! ~maria

    • Thanks Maria! Glad it was informative. We’re all at some stage of the learning process, so don’t feel bad 🙂 I feel like a newbie all the time!

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