For business owners and employees alike, from the stay-at-home mommy blogger to the twenty-something startup entrepreneur, understanding photography is no longer an option; it’s a necessity.
Whether using your photography for social media, photographing your products or anything in between, it’s important to know how to capture images that are worth looking at and admiring.
This blog is about what you can do today to develop a better eye and a better hand at photography, all without draining your bank account or getting overwhelmed by options.
1. Think Outside the Box
Learning to think around any potential barriers is how original photos are made. Instead of wishing for a 600mm lens to capture wildlife photography, see how you can frame an impactful shot with a wide-angle.
Rather than cursing your lack of an ultra-wide lens when photographing a sweeping coastal shot, take a series of frames and stitch them together later.
2. Use DIY Photography Hacks
Creating your own DIY camera accessories is an easy way to add to your creative photography toolbox.
For instance, instead of buying a commercial flash diffuser, why not try creating your own with a DIY light modifier? (Cut up a clear plastic milk bottle or using bubble wrap in front of your flashgun to soften the light.)
Something as simple and accessible as aluminum foil makes a cheap reflector for portraits and macro photography, while an iPad or laptop screen can be used as a constant light source for still-life set-ups.
There are plenty of hacks you can create from your home, including things like turning your DSLR into a pinhole camera, making your own ringflash and building a bicycle camera mount.
3. Follow Your Favorite Photographers
Watch and learn. I truly believe photography can be as simple as that.
By following the best photographers on social media, regularly keeping up with their blogs, reading the stories behind their photos, and even showing up for workshops or exhibits they might be holding, you’ll develop your eye for a great photo simply by assimilation.
Ultimately, you’ll be improving your own photography just by constantly surrounding yourself with images that are similar to what you want to capture someday.
4. Take Your Camera Everywhere
In his book Visual Poetry, Chris Orwig states that, “Even without taking pictures, carrying a camera enhances life.”
This is true because a camera is an instant way to put your senses on high alert. It causes you to look at the world as if your camera was always pressed to your eye.
If you’re serious about developing some radical skills, start carrying your camera with you everywhere for a certain amount of time and see what happens. Create photographs of everyday things and moments in time that perhaps wouldn’t typically require a photograph.
The trick will be to see these subtle events in a new way and to find a way to make them interesting. Even if you just use your camera phone, this tip is a solid way to improve your creative eye.
5. Don’t Overspend
One mistake that a new photographer often makes is putting a thousands of dollars into equipment that they never end up using. Stick with your camera (or your phone, if that’s where you’re at right now) in the beginning, and then acquire equipment slowly over time once you know exactly what you need and how often you will be using it.
6. Join a Photographic Tribe
Why? Because, because, because! Without a community to give you feedback and affirm your passion, your desire to improve your photography may very well die on the vine. Sadly, this happens to people all the time who think they can “go it alone.”
While getting out into your community and being with real, live photographers is the best option, there are also lots of awesome online forums and support groups out there, I suggest Pretty Forum/ Rock The Shot.
7. Create a Bucket List for Photography
Do you dream of your photography gracing the cover of your website or a famous magazine? Or are you just desirous of creating the best looking Instagram page for your business? Whatever your aspirations might be, define them, commit to them and get busy.
Over the course of my life I’ve made a few bucket list items, which have led me to accomplish things like leading a grassroots political organization, writing a children’s book, recording a music album, opening an online writing academy, learning to dance and, yes, taking a photography class.
Making a list of photography goals will change your photography forever if you commit to accomplishing them.
8. Rent a New Lens
Renting is an affordable option for those of us who aren’t familiar with lenses enough to drop a couple thousand dollars on one.
If you haven't rented before, I recommend borrowlenses.com. They’re honest people with high-quality gear, and they do a great job of giving back to the photo community.
Rent something different and fun. If you’re attempting to shoot landscape, rent a long wildlife lens; if you want to try portraits, rent a fisheye; and if you usually shoot macro, try a wide-angle lens.
Getting a new lens can change your photography forever by helping you to break out of your box and develop a new technique that you will likely use for the rest of your life.
9. Enter Photography Contests
Photography contests are a fantastic way to learn digital photography, but the key is to find a contest that will provide you feedback on your work.
Unfortunately, lots of today’s photography contests decide winners without saying why the other photos were not chosen. However, there still remain some great photo contests that will give feedback to participants.
Find one, be brave, enter your work and you'll be on your way to excelling in the world of photography.
If you find that you need more tips on photography or want businesses to use your work, contact us to help you promote your work!