Improve As A Photographer

be a better photographer

19 Ways to Step up Your Photography Game

How I Became A Better Photographer

I Can Always Improve!

I started my photography journey when I was 16.

All I ever did was take photos, arming myself with disposable cameras like they were going out of style.

Turns out, they WERE, but I digress.

At the time, I knew NOTHING about ISO or lenses or focal length or even working with people, for that matter.

I simply loved taking pictures!

Almost a decade later, I decided to get serious.

In the past 7 years, I have grovelled and scraped and

stayed up way too late learning everything I could to make myself better.

I’ve learned what matters and what doesn’t,

and feel that I’ve amassed enough practical experience to share it with you!

Below Are Simplified Tips on how to be a Better Photographer

Equipment Means Nothing:

Whether you’re shooting with a full frame Canon or an iPhone, you can capture amazing shots!

Learn the HOW:

Terms like ISO, F-stop, Focal Length & Aperture (to name a few) are all very technical and important terms pertaining to photography. You can skate through shooting on Auto forever, but you the heavens will open once you learn how it all works 

Photography Terms

Familiarize yourself with lighting:Lighting can make or break your photo. Think of all the times you grimaced when shown a pic with WAY too much flash  

photo lighting

Positivity is key:Overall, positivity is a fantastic thing (believe in yourself, etc),

but it is especially important while shooting people.

Do: “Susan, you’re gorgeous!”

Don’t: “Gosh, Susan, can’t you just stop blinking?”

Always make your clients feel fabulous, confident and welcome in your presence.

They will remember the experience before they will remember the photo.

Practice, Practice, Practice:Never be afraid to do free photos for family and friends to really get a feel for hands on sessions.

Additionally, if you treat these casual shoots as if they were professional,

you will feel more comfortable when you do start taking on clients.

Adversely, these can be shoots where you relax

and have a bit more fun than you might on a slightly uncomfortable shoot with people you don’t know.

I advocate free sessions, even once you start getting paid.

Experience is experience, and often, these are your best advertisers.

Bonus: I always ask permission to use these photos in my portfolio, and haven’t been told no once.

Learn how to Shoot People:There are several things that either always look good or always look bad when shooting people.

Raise your hand if you’ve seen the “This is how I look when I open the Front Facing Camera ” memes on Facebook.  

be a better photographer

Posing:Or, as I prefer to call it – Guiding!

Almost nobody likes to be “posed” but almost everybody needs to be “guided”.

As you learn to shoot people (Tip #6), you can combine it with positivity (Tip #4)  to get Good Guidance for your clients.

Candids:A great way to broaden your abilities is to practice making your candids as good as your formal shots.

Goal: Frame-able Candids.

A bonus to this is that you tend to capture more genuine moments between people while shooting candids.

be a better photographer

Go Raw:Except for very few circumstances, I will always choose raw format over Jpeg.

Jpeg has it’s uses, but for my style and for editing purposes, I say “I Do” to raw!

Editing:Learn how to use a quality editing software, such as Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop.

I used to think I could shoot without editing (eyeroll).

Then I sucked it up and started editing and it took my photos leaps and bounds further than I ever imagined!

Be you:Learning from those who have gone before you is fabulous, but avoid trying to be the same photographer.

You see the world with different eyes.

Organize:

Being a photo junkie, I have close to 20,000 photos between two separate hard drives,

but I know where every single picture I ever took is located.

Holy-moly, the organization that I am forced to keep! It’s necessary, trust me.

You want to be able to access your work quickly and efficiently.

be a better photographer

Always Be Shooting:Take your camera everywhere.

Practice the techniques you’ve learned and make daily challenges for yourself.

For August 2017, I did ring shots every single day to keep my photo brain going.

be a better photographer

Share:Share your photos wherever you can!

Give your hobby a name and start a Facebook Page devoted only to your photography.

Share on Instagram. The positive feedback you will receive will encourage you to keep going.

Learn to Let Go:This is one of the hardest.

I urge you to start this habit early.

Sure, it happens where four shots of the wedding dress are all awesome,

but 99% of the time, you only need one full length shot of the dress.

Delete redundant photos.

Contracts:Contract everything, even if it’s free or trade.

This has everything in writing, and is straightforward and professional.

Make it procedure to have one for every shoot.

It is recommended that you consult a lawyer and have one drawn up.

be a better photographer

Laws:Know the laws and your rights. 

Some vary by state but learn who/what/where you legally can and can’t shoot,

and how you can legally use the photos.

Experiment:With detail shots, macro, long exposure, funky angles and close ups, and anything else that you’re inspired to do!

be a better photographer

Believe In Yourself:

KNOW that you are amazing!

BELIEVE that people want to see your work!

You can do this!

Photographing people and places is an amazing life experience.

It is more than simply a job or a business.

I have never thought a career could be so rewarding as this.

I am truly honored for the personal and pivotal moments that I am allowed access to through my camera.

It is an awesome journey! Happy Pic-ing!

-Mary

What About You? Share YOUR tips below!

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Please be sure to check out our wedding story ebook, which includes tons of helpful tips on how we had an amazing wedding and honeymoon for unders $3,500!

Our Wedding ebook Here!

We hope to use the proceeds from this ebook to fund this and other adventures!

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