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Do you want to understand your camera and take great photos today?

Yes Please

The day we stop improving is the day we fail – as my personal motto goes. As photographers, we should always be learning. However, it is rather easy to get stuck when trying to improve your photography.

Between a mixture of personal expression and technical proficiency, photography can be a rather hard subject to critique. However, there are always things you can do to improve your photography.

Here is our list of six things you can start doing today to improve your photography.

Dark and moody photo portrait of a man in black sitting on a low branch in a forest. Improve your photography skills today.

Look at Other Photographers for Inspiration

This can be rather controversial. Some photographers misunderstand the advice and create blatant copies of the work they look at.

However, I still believe that observing the work of other photographers and artists is extremely important if you do it right. Even art students are often instructed to mimic or observe a specific artist’s work.

 Profile portrait of a Czechoslovakian Wolfdog looking towards the left of the frame. Improve your photography skills today.

Learning from the masters is crucial in developing your skills, your style, and increasing your artistic sensitivity. As a photographer, you aren’t just limited to admiring the work of other photographers.

Due to the nature of our work, understanding composition, perspective, lighting, and concept are all fundamental facets of producing beautiful work.

You can learn all of this from going to museums and viewing historic artwork, art galleries and being privy to the work there, or even just a photographer show-and-tell and seeing what others in your field are doing.

 Portrait of a wet brown and white dog on a beach running towards the left of the frame. Improve your photography skills today.

You might get a new idea, begin to understand how certain things work together, and you might find new motivation to produce work you really like.

Sometimes, it’s even fun to try and figure out how a specific photograph was created, and in turn, learn a new technique.

 Moody gothic style portrait of a man in black holding a black electric guitar, sitting on Gothic style furniture with purple light and shadows behind. Improve your photography skills today.

My suggestion when looking at other photography work is to ask yourself the following key questions:

  • What is it that I like about this?
  • What is it that I dislike about this?
  • Why did the artist make this choice?
  • What makes this piece stand out?

Photo of a drummer during a live concert, painted or projected gothic background. Improve your photography skills today.

All of this being said, being a copycat isn’t a good thing. There is a difference between being inspired and duplicating. Use your discretion and be careful not to “rip-off” another artist’s work. Instead, use what they did to create something unique of your own.

Get Photographed by a Professional Photographer

The best experience is taking a walk in someone else’s shoes. In this case, your subjects! An absolutely fantastic way to improve your work, especially if you’re a portrait photographer, is to become the subject to another professional photographer. I can speak from experience on how eye-opening this is.

Bright and airy portrait of a girl wearing red, holding her head and smiling at the camera. Improve your photography skills today.

For starters, customer service is vital for success for any business. For a photographer, part of the customer service experience is helping your subject feel comfortable, pose well, and enjoy the experience. Until you’ve actually been the client, your ideas on customer service are all theoretical.

It is well worth hiring a professional photographer for yourself to learn how they talk to their clients, the best way of explaining or showing poses, and what makes the experience fun (or not so fun!).

Photo of a wet black and white dog playing on the beach. Improve your photography skills today.

I gained major insights on how to direct my clients on posing when I was being posed by someone myself. I found that being in front of the camera was awkward and nerve-wracking, but a good photographer will alleviate all of those feelings and inspire confidence. This is what I strive for in my shoots, with the help of having tried it out myself!

As a bonus, it is always highly advised to have professional photographs of yourself. Clients love to see who they are hiring, and having pro head shots can really aid you.

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Gothic portrait of a wolf life dog looking at the camera, a girl in purple lace holds his neck with tattooed arms. Improve your photography skills today.

The biggest barrier to improvement is only ever doing what you know. How can you improve your photography skills if you never attempt something that you don’t know how to do?

Try to always step out of your comfort zone. This can sound daunting at first, but will improve your photography tremendously. At least you’ll learn what you like, what you dislike, what your strong suits are, and what your weak points are.

If you only shoot in natural light, try a studio setting! Vice versa, try some natural light if you’re an experienced studio photographer. Photograph dogs if you only photograph portraits, or photograph humans if you only work with animals.

Portrait of a Labrador dog resting on a large log, looking towards the camera. Improve your photography skills today.

If you feel like you’re out of ideas, try a monthly photography challenge. Plenty of websites and social media accounts host monthly photography challenges.

This is a great way to try something new, meet fellow photographers, and get inspired by others’ work.

Practice Making Ordinary Objects Extraordinary

A big challenge for photographers is finding ways to make the mundane look unique. This is an excellent way to improve your skills with little preparation or planning.

Practice photographing mugs, keys, hairbrushes, or anything of the like in brand new ways that make such objects look enticing.

Portrait of a man with long hair, black clothes and tattooed chest, standing in a forest area, looking at the camera. Improve your photography skills today.

As photographers, we have to make our images eye-catching to stand out from the herd. Practise with everyday objects first. Then apply what you’ve learned to whatever job you are doing.

Portrait of a border collie dog standing on a rock, looking towards the camera, in a countryside area. Improve your photography skills today.

Besides, product photography pays very generously – what if you develop a passion for it? You can build an entire portfolio in a single day! Definitely a winning situation there.

Shoot Every Single Day to Improve Your Photography Skills

Moody shadowy portrait of a guitar player onstage during a performance. Improve your photography skills today.

Practice makes perfect, and you have to practice a lot. However, you’d be surprised at how little time you need to spend on it, as long as you do it consistently every day.

Whip out your camera every day, even for just five minutes, and you’ll be amazed at how much you improve your photography skills in a short period of time.

You want your equipment to feel like an extension of your arm. You should, in fact, get to the point where you don’t need to think twice about switching your settings or how you grasp the lens.

Practising everyday will help you get there faster.

Close up of a girls hands clasped together, shadowy moody background. Improve your photography skills today.

Knowing that you have to practice photography everyday might also incite you to take your camera everywhere with you. This can result in some of the most phenomenal pictures in the world.

Photography really is all about being in the right place at the right time, and you never know what you might come across!

 Bright and airy photo of a small brown dog, jumping over an agility jump. Improve your photography skills today

Using your camera every day can also help make the process more fun as you’ll be photographing something vastly different each time.

Tying into tip 3, encouraging yourself to step out of your comfort zone by taking your camera everywhere will let you kill two birds with one stone.

Learn Your Gear’s Limits

Outdoor photo of a person with acoustic guitar on their back, walking away from the camera on a coastal path, arms outstretched. Improve your photography skills today.

This is the most important tip as far as I’m concerned. Understanding your gear’s limitations will improve your photography tenfold. You’ll learn the best ways to use your equipment (or if you need to upgrade to new photography gear!).

You need to know how far you can push the tools at your disposal and what they’re best for. That way, you can always know what to count on.

And if your camera or lenses fall short, finding creative ways to work around the limitations is just as important.

Portrait of an Alaskan tundra wolf, standing proudly on rocks. Improve your photography skills today.

There are two key ways to learn the maximum and minimum capabilities of your cameras and lenses.

First is learning about settings, components, and how they all work. A good way to learn about this is by referring to the user manuals. Another way is reading all you can about the technical aspects of photography.

Learn about ISO, shutter speed, aperture, white balance, noise, frames per second, and other such important concepts. Our Beginner’s Guide is a great starting point.

You will then have enough knowledge to be able to compare various models and lenses together and understand how they differ.

Portrait of a Labrador dog with a blurred background of purple flowers and foliage. with Improve your photography skills today.

The other way is through trial and error. Consistently try and push your gear to its limits, or the limitations you assume it has. You can then see what your gear is capable of and what it isn’t!

For example, shoot at a very high ISO just to see what the noise level is. Try auto-focusing in low light to see whether the camera and lens is proficient at it or not.

You’ll soon be taking better pictures because you’ll know how to best work within the limits!

Bright and airy portrait of a girl in white dress with white flowers in her hair, sitting in front of a tree. Improve your photography skills today

Now take these suggestions with you and turn your greatest photography aspirations into reality!

A note from Josh, ExpertPhotography's Photographer-In-Chief:

Thank you for reading...

CLICK HERE if you want to capture breathtaking images, without the frustration of a complicated camera.

It's my training video that will walk you how to use your camera's functions in just 10 minutes - for free!

I also offer video courses and ebooks covering the following subjects:

You could be just a few days away from finally understanding how to use your camera to take great photos!

Thanks again for reading our articles!

Anabel DFlux

Anabel DFlux is a published photographer in Los Angeles, California. Having started her photography business at the age of 15, Anabel has dedicated her life to her photographic passion. From canine sports to exotic animals, to some of the biggest musicians in the world - Anabel's work doesn't fall into any specific niche. She believes there are no limits to what you can create, and to photograph everything that gives you that spark of inspiration.

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