The Internet is full of advice on how to become a better photographer, but quite frankly most of this advice is misleading.
Browsing the Internet (or a book shop for that matter, it’s just that Internet has infinitely more information) one might get an idea that if he would just read this book or complete that course he would become a better photographer. Others go further than that – they strive to read as much books on photography as they can, attend as much seminars as they can afford, and process god knows how many additional different kinds of educational material on photography.
Part of the courses or books suggest you buy a better equipment, so people get hooked on that, upgrading their cameras as frequently as their purse allows, but not all of them – others try different software products, which promise to make their photos look professional with a click of a mouse, and yet others combine it all together.
Well, guess what – it is all useless. It is useless because deep underneath its shiny cover it suggests no effort on your side. The key to your success as a photographer lies within you. You can only read in books what already exists inside you, and if you do not evolve from within, you will not truly become a better photographer.
If you wholeheartedly want to become better, then at this point you are screaming, if only in your mind, “then how do I do that? How do I evolve from within to become a better photographer?”
I do have an answer for you, but be aware it is not an easy one. It will demand your effort and time… how much effort and time? I have no idea. But it is the only way. If you still want to hear it – read on.
In order to become a better photographer you have to do several things:
– Think. Think about photography. What is it? How it works? Why are you interested in it? And I mean really think, even meditate on it. Look deep inside yourself to answer these questions. Don’t lie to yourself. Write down the answers. After a week do it again, then after a month, a year. You will see that each time your answers will be deeper and more profound.
– Study art. Look at drawings of great artists. Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Dali, Repin, just to name a few. But again, simply looking, flipping through the pages, is not enough. Try to understand WHY these paintings are exquisite works of art. This is very important. Do the same with works of masters of photography – Ansel Adams, Cartier-Bresson, and others. Have in mind that the process of getting to understand and appreciate art doesn’t happen instantly or even quickly for that matter. It can take years…
– Take photos constantly. If you don’t have a camera with you then take them in your mind. But merely taking thousands of photos is not enough. Look at your photos, analyze them. What do you like about them? What would you like to change? When looking at photos from a shoot, pick one that you like the most and think – why do you like it? What would you do differently if you had to make that shot again? Why?
– Save your best photos (the ones that you think are best), come back to them at later times, and remove the ones that you change your opinion about.
– Print your photos (in large format if possible) and hang them on the walls of your living space. Look at them over time and think about how your opinion about them changes. Think about why does that happen.
– Work on your imagination. Create photos in your mind, which not yet exist in reality. Make them so vivid in your mind, as if they were real. These photos are most likely to define your unique style in photography.
– Think about a photo that you would like to create. Imagine it to the smallest detail. Then go ahead and try to create it. Use photoshop as much as you like (or not), I don’t care. Just try to achieve whatever you imagined in the first place. If you feel that you lack some technical skills at this point – Internet most definitely has the answers.
Getting better in photography mainly involves THINKING. It also involves emotions and feelings, and thinking about why you feel the way that you feel. No course and no tutorial will make you a better photographer, and the first step to becoming one is to understand this fact. To become better you have to dig deep inside you. That photographer is already there waiting to be discovered. On this journey at different points you will see that you want to achieve this or that effect, look, or feel, you will see it clearly in your head, and it will be the right time to go online for technical information on how to achieve it – but this will be only after you already have the image in your mind.
And one more thing – even though this process will require time and effort, have fun! You won’t get better if you don’t enjoy your journey!