I have been taking photos for as long as I can remember. In my family there was always someone taking photos to capture moments of our lives. But it is only since I started my blog in 2015 that I took photography more seriously. I wanted to be able to create good quality content for my blog and social media accounts. As you may guess I am a self-taught photographer and learned everything by leveraging Internet and practicing my craft everyday. So for some of you willing to learn photography and get better here are a few tips I can give you.
Learn the basic techniques of photography
Photography is an art. By definition, it means "drawing with light" or "representation by means of lines". It is fundamental to understand the way your camera body works to be able to apply the photography techniques that will help you rank your photo from a “meh, not bad” to a “wow that’s beautiful”!
For me there are 3 steps to photography.
Step 1: Take a mental picture of the subject you wish to capture with the elements in the surrounding you wish to incorporate in the photo
Step 2: Use the photography techniques you know to capture the scene as close as possible to the representation in your mind
Step 3: Know how to edit the photo to bring the details of the scene as you saw it with your own eyes.
I personally learned photography using a website called Skillshare. It is an online learning community with thousands of classes in design, business, tech, and more. You can find out more about it in this article I wrote How To Learn A New Skill Every Day With Skillshare.
I also partnered with them to offer you 2 months of free-unlimited classes so that you can make your own opinion.
Just click here to redeem your free 2 months.
Practice, practice, practice
When I started photography I only used my smartphone. They say the best camera you can have is the one you have with you at all times! In 2015, I started my travel blog and knew I needed to improve my photography skills. So I challenged myself to take one photo a day and post it on my Instagram account. If you have a look at my account here you can see the evolution of my photography up until today. I like to keep everything to see how far I have come.
During these past 3 years I upgraded my camera twice. I first bought a Sony a5000 camera and now have a Sony a6300. I love these models for several reasons: compact, user friendly and match with my lifestyle. I also carry a point and shoot Sony RX100 III as a back up. If you would like to read my reviews of these 3 cameras, here are the links below
Sony a6300 (coming soon)
It is only by practicing that you will get better. So don’t be afraid to go out and shoot whatever you like. I am into travel and cityscape photography, so the streets of the city I live are my playground! #staycation
Surround yourself with people sharing the same passion
It is important to surround yourself with people sharing the same passion for photography as you. They will help you get better. If you are lucky you may even be able to find yourself a mentor, someone willing to teach you their skills. Or you will be able to do a collaboration and exchange each other photography skills. One might be great at shooting landscape while you might be great at shooting architectures or street photography.
It is always great to learn some new techniques in photography to become a better photographer.
Leverage also social media if you can. I personally use Instagram a LOT to find my inspiration but also interact with the local photography community of the city where I live. Find the hashtags related to your country and city where you live and if you see a photo you like, do not hesitate to like, comment and even send a quick message to the photographer. It is an easy way to build connections.
Some example of hashtags I use in Ireland: #irishcentral, #igersdublin, #irishdaily, #e_dublin, #dublin4all, #lovindublin etc…
Participate to contest or micro-stock photography to get better
Participating at contests or shoot micro-stock photography will not only help you build your portfolio, but also help you earn some money from doing photography. Applications like Shutterstock, Snapwire, Gurushots or twenty20 are hosting contests on a regular basis and are looking for specific type of photography for their clients. If your photos get picked, not only you win the photo contest (you can earn some money or photography gear), but you will also be able to make some money from your photo if a client decide to buy it. Just do not expect to earn a lot of money out of it, unless you have a portfolio of thousands of photos and a few winning shots that keep being used over and over again.
Never Stop Learning
Photography is an on-going learning process. Especially nowadays with digital photography. There will always be new cameras with better specs to make our lives as photographers easier. There will always be new editing softwares to help you better edit your photos and fast track the editing process. I personally use Adobe Lightroom Creative Cloud to edit and manage my photos.
You can be a great photographer today, but if you do not keep learning you might not be so great in 2 or 3 years time. Today, everyone has access to a camera, either from their smartphones or from an entry level camera at a low price. It is then up to you to define your own style and excel in it.
I personally try to go to workshops and exhibitions when I can, it is a great way to learn something new and network. But don’t forget that Internet is also your friends, from magazines to online classes like Skillshare I mentioned earlier, you have no excuses not to get better at photography.
You can checkout this article I wrote where I share with you The Best Places To Learn Photography Online.
Also, if you would like to improve your photography skills, make sure to grab my training The Art Of Mobile Photography. It is focused on iPhone photography but also provides my 3 step approach to photography to help you take better photos. This is exactly what I teach in my Airbnb workshops and so far, my students have loved the training.
Bonus: Learn How To Edit Your Photos
Editing my photos was a game changer for me. When I started I thought that it was cheating because I was only exposed to people using photoshop and applying so many changes to their photos that it did not look real. But then, I was introduced first to Snapseed and now since almost 2 years to Lightroom CC. Snapseed is a great app for beginners to learn what adjustments you can apply to a photo to make it stand out. I created a tutorial here if you would like to see how a few changes can make it stand out.
But Lightroom CC is like the ultimate level of editing. I was and still is amazed by how many adjustments can be applied to a photo.
Some people may say editing is cheating? And to them I’d say, that editing a photo is a similar process to develop a film photography. It would take hours of practice and expertise to apply the necessary adjustments to turn a photo on a film to a print. So instead of using a physical darkroom, you use a software that can do the equivalent. Welcome to the digital world!
And actually, that is a great thing, as it allows to distinguish one photographer to another, just by their style of editing.
I wrote an article 10 Ways To Improve Your Lightroom Editing Workflow to help you master this editing software. But if that is your first time using it you can check this article I wrote Edit Your Instagram Photos Like A Pro With Lightroom Presets to give you an idea of how editing could help you stand out online.
I hope that you found this article helpful and that you will be able to apply a few tips I shared with you in this article. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to let me know in the comments below.
Also, if you enjoyed reading it, make sure to like it, it actually makes a difference. And feel free to share it with people you believe would benefit from it.