Photo By: Aaron Patterson

There is one thing that every single photographer has in common. We all can get better. It doesn’t matter if you are the best in the world or a point and shoot photographer, you can always get better at photography. These are a few simple things you can do to get better.

1: Shoot, shoot, shoot and shoot again.
If you really want to get better, one of the best things you can do is shoot. Many times I will find myself getting into a unhealthy pattern of not shooting. Generally, if I have a lull in business, I will find myself sitting at starbucks more than I am shooting. Then when I am starting work for a client, the amazing shots they want take more time or effort to produce. Photography is just like any sport in that they both require practice, don’t rely on your talent alone.

2: Slow down.
This post may seem contrary to the previous one but its not. Many times when we see something cool, we have a tendency to want to bombard it with shutter clicks. That actually works and you may find 1 out of 50 that you actually like but believe it or not there is a better way. You can improve your photos by simply putting your camera down. Next time you are shooting something put the camera down and look around. sit a moment and learn what is around your subject, what the conditions are like, what angle or light can you choose to enhance the photo you are shooting. It is hard to see these things when you have your eyes to the lens. When I am shooting for a client, when I arrive I usually feel pressure to “get started and look like I know what I am doing”. I have to remind myself that I dont have to perform for anyone. I know what I am doing so I should just relax and take a moment. The quality of what you produce will increase. Just try it.

3: knowledge is power.
In this world money and politics might be power but in photography it is knowledge. I cannot emphisize how important it is to learn your equipment. When I was just discovering my passion for photography I only had a point and shoot. I decided that if I can learn every possible thing about that camera and how it handles certain things then if I could produce amazing shots with that then when I get a DSLR I would be even better. I set myself to the task and the next thing I had offers to go to galleries with my P&S images. I was taking better images with my P&S than people were taking with $10,000 camera systems. You can try to justify not knowing by saying that you have a natural eye but the photographers that are changing the world know their equipment like they know their spouses. Take some time and learn what you have, even if it is not much.

4: Trust your camera and trust your eye.
Amazingly, quality of photos can sometimes be closely tied with confidence. Get to a place where you are confident about your photos and you will start to shoot more confidently. Trust your eye to pick out the scene and trust your camera to capture it. If you are shooting a person, dont be afraid to ask them to do things. If you are shooting a building, dont be afraid to ask for all the lights on. See the pattern. Confidence will help you go for the image you want.

5: Take risks.
I have found myself in so many situations that were considered dangerous it would make my mom uncomformable. I have broken a few pieces of equipment in the process but one thing I have to say about all of those situations is it was worth it. One time I found myself in the middle of a frozen lake with ice cracking around me because I wanted a shot of a building from that angle. I got the shot, got off the ice and have a great image. Now, I am not encouraging you to jump out of a plane with no parachute but I am trying to encourage you to take some risks. Get a good insurance plan and get a little closer to the edge. It will not only make your photos better but it will make your life better. There are many situations that photography has put me in that I wouldn’t have normally been in and those experiences are such a treasure. Some say being behind the lens doesnt allow you to experience the moment that is happening. Dont let that be the case. Experience a better moment than everyone else because you have a camera.

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