As we approach 2016, a lot of us will be sitting around pondering how we will make this a better year than 2015. I am a big fan of reflection and self improvement, so here are my 5 tips to help improve your photography.
1. Shoot less.
There are a lot of people who say that shooting more will make you a better photographer. I could not disagree more with this. Piss Poor Practice Produces Piss Poor Performance, as my old GCSE PE teacher use to tell me (thanks Moira). Try spending more time planning your photography and less time actually out shooting. Now, this is not to say that you shouldn’t shoot, but chances are that if you are out all the time taking pictures, you are merely practicing the same techniques, which for some of us is not the best. If there is one thing that practicing certainly does do, it is making things permanent. So be critical of your work, look at how you can improve and spend time preparing for your next shoot so you can up your game.
2. Spend less on gear.
Without even needing to ask, what ever camera you have right now, it is plenty good enough. Since the 1960s people have been shooting 35mm film for magazine covers. Having a billion ISO or an extra 30 megapixels will not make your photographs any better. Go buy this book “ iPhone Photography ” . It makes me embarrassed at the sheer amount of gear I lug to shoots.
Instead of upgrading that camera body, buying that new lens or those must have lights, go buy a ticket and book yourself into a hotel somewhere new. I promise this will make you a far better photographer than any equipment ever will.
3. Read More.
Reading is a must, you can learn some basics online for free, but there is nothing of great use to a photographer that is available free of charge online. The most important books I read for photography when starting out were the Ansel Adams trilogy: Camera, The Negative and The Print. Yes it is old film jargon, but it 100% applies to digital photography. Try and read a couple of new books each month. Amazon have loads for a couple of ££. Be sure to read outside of the field of photography too, as being a successful photographer is about more than just cameras and technology.
4. Take some time out between shooting and editing.
This is a luxury that is not always afforded, though if you have the time after shooting , try to take a few days out before sitting at your computer and selecting the final images. It is amazing how much difference this makes to how you process the final selection.
“You are the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with”
If you want to be more creative, make sure you are spending time with creative people. Try and make sure that once a week you go for coffee with someone and listen to what they have to say. You won’t learn much from talking to people, but you will from listening. I am very fortunate to have some really cool friends who are really inspiring, successful and interesting people. Time spent with them is always a great pleasure and highly informative.
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