Whether you just got a DSLR or you are getting one for Christmas, or even if you own one and feel like you aren’t progressing; I want to share 5 tips to help you improve your photography skills TODAY! I believe that photography like any art is always evolving so we are always learning as artists. I want to share where and how I have learned. I picked up my first DSLR August 2011 and dove right in! So I wanted to share with you some resources I used to learn and hopefully they will help you.
The online world is full of so many inspirational and educational photography blogs. From the basics to business to more advanced techniques. I just searched for photography blogs and stumbled Ashley Sisk (same last name so I was intrigued), Paper Heart Camera, And then she snapped…, I Heart Faces, Mom*Tog, Click It Up A Notch, and Courtney Kirkland. These were the first ones I read but since then I have learn so much from so many amazing and talented people in this industry. Here are some links to blogs with all kinds of photography basics :
Click It Up A Notch – Manual Mode
Courtney Kirkland – Photo Tutorials
I Heart Faces – Know Your Camera
Clickin Moms – Tutorials
Join a Forum
So about a day after getting my camera and staying up late reading every blog I could find, I wanted to join a forum. So the first one I found was I Heart Faces. It was free to join and I was excited to connect with others who had the same interest. I didn’t really feel like I belonged there so I quickly wanted to find another forum and happened upon Clickin Moms. They had a free trial to check them out and had a discount code if I wanted to become a member. It was a little over whelming at first but I started with the tutorial section. They have so many amazing tutorials and I was so excited to learn! And the ladies on the forum were so friendly and nice. And it does seem a little cliquey at first but you have to get involved and they will welcome you with open arms. Since then I also tried other forums but few compared. However I also enjoy Light Inspired. It is a much smaller forum of people but it is so amazing and has so much potential!
So it would be pointless to read all the time and never actually practice. So what I did is I would find a tutorial on one of the blogs or forums and read what I could then I would take this new knowledge and actually practice it. I would wake up early in the morning before my son woke up and go outside and shoot my frog statue with different settings. Then once I would feel comfortable with what I had learned I would find a new technique to learn. I taught myself to shoot in manual within a week and was shooting in RAW in a month. Practice is the basis of truly mastering your craft. The only way to get better is to learn and do. And when you think you have it all together, learn some more and practice more. You will never stop learning and your will always be improving if you continue to practice.
I am a firm believer in connections. It is the reason why I created a group on Facebook for local photographers. Connections can provide great and some times lasting relationships, as well as learning new tricks and techniques. We all provide something valuable, from the person who just got a camera to the old school photographer who has been at it since before I was born! You provide a unique perspective and you may see something differently than I do, which can bring a new view to it. Another great reason to connect is to be able to share with someone who has a passion the same as yours. My poor hubby sometimes gets tired of me chatting about apertures and chromatic abberations, so it’s nice to talk with someone who may understand my jargon! So wherever you are and whatever skill you are, find people who love photography as much as you and reach out to them.
And my final quick tip to improve your photography today is to stay positive! We are sometimes our own worst critics and we sometimes don’t understand why so-and-so is doing amazing but just started and we feel like we are in a rut! Focus on yourself and stay positive. When you find yourself reverting to negative thoughts or feelings, put yourself in check! You are an amazing person with talent and never forget it!