A few months ago, I enrolled in an intermediate photography class in a Filipino institute in Dubai. It was a 6-week course handled by a multi-awarded photographer who won different international photography competitions and also featured his works in different places.
These are photography things I learned, and I realized over time. The points I mentioned below are the things I keep in mind to improve my skills.
Why did I share this?
I shared this stuff because when I browse the web and watch video tutorials, they teach you most about the technical things in photography, but I think after knowing the technical side of photography, there are more non-technical things that I need to understand.
1. Quality Over Quantity
Quality is one of the things I always think about before and after I take pictures. Quality over quantity. In photography means that you should carefully choose your best photos instead of delivering or uploading a ton of crappy images.
In this digital age, you can take as many photos as you want, but in the sorting and post-processing of your photos, you only choose photos that 1. Tells a story, 2. The right composition, 3. Sharp and clear.
2. Practice. Practice. Practice
The method applies to different skills you want to learn. In photography, even professional photographers still practice their photography skills. For beginners and amateurs, if you already have a DSLR or mirrorless camera, you can always shoot anything and everything around your space. It’s either knowing your camera settings, practicing the manual mode, understanding the lights, or trying new compositions.
There is no limit on using your camera; you are the limit of your own. You can always bring your camera wherever you go and start taking photos. If you want to pursue this as a career or a hobby, you will always find a way to shoot.
3. It is a Continuous Learning Process
In addition to doing a lot of practice, photography is a continuous learning process. What I mean is, we know you can master the manual settings, but that’s not everything about photography. It is about creativity, styles, storytelling, lightings, and more and these things change over time.
Along the way, you will meet different photographers. You will learn from them about their gears, their styles, and post-processing techniques that you can add to your style. You will also realize that photography is not just a hobby or career anymore; it is a community where you can have fun, be on an adventure and always learn from others.
4. Plan Before a Photoshoot
Better be ready for every photoshoot you are going to. Make sure all your batteries are fully charged, bring extra batteries, extra memory cards, flashes, strobe lights, stands, and all other equipment to be ready.
If you’re going to a photoshoot in different locations, it is best to scout the places first so you have an idea of what will be the outcome of the photoshoot. Or if the areas are too far, research on the internet. It will consume less time during the actual photoshoot. For the outdoor shoot, make sure that the weather will be beautiful on that day.
If you’re in a bad mood or not feeling well, it’s either you do not shoot at all, or you set aside the negative thoughts. Having negative thoughts will affect the outcome of the photoshoot.
The last thing is always making a plan. Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C so everything will go smoothly.
5. Accept Criticism
Accept criticism only if the one who will criticize your work has far experience in Photography. Allowing someone to criticize your work will help you know what the things you should avoid and improve over time are. You will also have an idea of what a good photograph should be.
6. Find Your Style
Every photographer is different. They have their style of process. As I start learning photography, what I do is I always look at experienced photographer’s work and try to use their method as an inspiration and to incorporate into my style. By following different photographers, it helped me expand my creativity and explore things when I take photos.
7. Outside is Free
If you can’t find interesting things to take a picture around you, go out. Go to your streets. The streets are free; you can make real stories from there. It’s another exercise for your creativity and skills. You can try different compositions, practice how fast you can change settings on your camera, or capture compelling stories you want to show.
Street photography tips from my teacher:
- Find a good spot and wait for something interesting to happen
- Avoid shooting on eye level
- Avoid shooting in mid-day, shoot during sunrise or sunset
- Check if the photo you took if it is better in black and white
8. Think Out of the Box
Photography is about making simple things look better in photos. Always be creative. Find inspirations on Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook. Follow other photographers you look-up and be inspired.
My teacher told us to avoid shooting at eye level. You can either shoot low or shoot high. Always find the angle where your subject will look interesting in the photo. Add elements relevant to your subject and story you are showing.
9. Your Camera is Just a Tool
During our class session, our teacher, of course, requires us to use a DSLR or mirrorless camera and at least the lens that came with your camera. I was wondering “why should we use the kit lens, it is not a good lens.” Then he showed us some photos of his previous class which is shot using the kit lens. In my mind, I was saying “wow those are some good photos!” Then I realized that it is not about what camera or lens you use. It is how creative you can be.
You will come to the point where you will realize that you have reached the limitation of your lens and seek for a different perspective, a different style, and better quality of photos then you are now ready for your next upgrade.
10. Always Tell a Story
Telling a story in photography is one of the most crucial things you need to show to your audience. The lightings, backgrounds, props, location, and other elements you put on your photos will always tell a story.
The things I mentioned above can be your guide if you are starting photography. These are some key points I always keep in mind as an amateur photographer to achieve better photos. Always remember, Photography is not all about the technical stuff.
Do you want to add some key points here? Am I right or wrong? You can share your thoughts below.