I often get the question from others how they can improve their photos and below are six things that can make your pics look better.
1. Straighten the horizon
Oh. My. Every time I see a landscape picture on Facebook where the horizon is nothing but straight I really have to remove my fingers from the keyboard. After all, not everyone is interested in photography and I have no interest in pinpointing, but at this matter … I really do struggle.
However, tip numero uno: Straighten the horizon. It doesn’t have to be straight when you shoot. If you use your phone, download the Photoshop app (PS Express) and use the straighten tool, otherwise google to find a program suiting for your computer (or you may already have this tool on some software that came with your camera).
2. Don’t be afraid to shoot!
If you don’t push the button you wont get any pictures. May sound simple but I know so many people that are embarrassed when they take out their camera, like others will think they are weird and that might be but … that thought says more about them than about you. Now that I am writing this I actually remember about five years ago when I was at the beach shooting at sunrise, and I heard some people having a beer on the grass making fun of me because I was out “pretending to take pictures”. Wtf? How sad were they?
So numero dos: Screw other people and use your camera as much as possible!
3. Don’t go with the flow
Continuing on the previous story, on the other hand, now when I was on the Azores I went on several excursions with my travel agency and the people on these were pretty much the same everyday. Already on the second day I noticed an older woman was following me at every stop we made. Why? I don’t only go where everyone else goes. Why? Because if I did I would get the shots that everyone else got. This woman was not comfortable enough to be the first to sit on the ground to get a good angle for the view, but she was determined to be the second. And I mean, she seriously felt like my second shadow and at first it was annoying but soon I realized it was nothing but a compliment.
Number three: Find new angles.
4. Take a lot of pics on the same thing
If you only take one shot there is a big risk that it wont be good. Out of focus, blurry, noise, bad lightning, etc etc etc. People that don’t know that well often comment on this, “oh, did you just take ten pics on this flower? Eh, sounds unnecessary”. But it is not. Because three of the pictures focus on the wrong thing, on two I couldn’t keep my hand still and on the last one a little bee sat down in the middle of it and boom I the tenth shot was so much better than the first one. Remember that especially when shooting nature, nature is changing all the time. And often I don’t see the change until I am at home checking the pics at my computer.
Number four: Take repeat shots. Often they end up not being repeats at all.
5. Make it a habit
Becoming better at photography is not made by taking some shots once a month. Make it a habit just like everything else and make it enjoyable! If it is not perfect, who cares? When I go out of course I want to take perfect shots, but even more I want to look at them afterwards and learn something that will make me a little bit better.
Number five: Invest time and improvement will come.
6. Get feedback
One of the easiest ways of becoming better is getting feedback from others. And now I don’t mean ask your Mom/Friend/Neighbor. Join a photo group on Facebook or one of all those forums that is out there, both online and offline.
Since feedback really have helped me improve I would also like to give it to others. Want to be “featured” here on my blog? Feature meaning I will give feedback on your photos, the bad and the good. Send me three of your pics on firstname.lastname@example.org (no, I still haven’t got the email account to this webpage to interact in a trust worthy way and yes I am also a writer). If you have a webpage/blog/Instagram you want me to link to write that as well as some basic info about you and your photography.
I hope these steps helps someone. Improving in photography is not only an aspect of learning technicalities. It is just as much about mental strength and discipline.
Now I am off for shooting another sunset!