Photography is a long journey of trail and error. But one of my favorite things about photography is that there is always something new to learn. There are so many different photography techniques to learn. There are so many ways to develop those techniques. I think some of the best things I did for my photography was learning to learn. What I mean by that is accepting that I have something to learn, and letting go of perfection. Allowing myself to be taught and to learn from it. Photography is a journey. If you’re ready to take the plunge into the journey, you won’t regret it.
check out my How Instagram Made Me a Better Photographer post
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1. switching to manual mode
Take your camera off auto mode. Manual mode allows you as a photographer to capture exactly what you want, how you want it. It allows you to have full control over your photography, instead of letting your camera be the brains. Let’s face it, the camera is pretty smart, but you’re even smarter. Making the switch to manual mode just two years ago has literally changed my photography for the better. Learning manual mode by yourself can be challenging and sometimes frustrating. I recommend taking a class, buying a book (if you’d like more book suggestions, check out my 10 Must Read Photography Books post), or searching on YouTube how to switch. Learning how to use your camera in manual mode is the best thing you can do for your photography. If you take nothing else away from this post, remember that manual mode is the way to go.
2. join a photography community
I joined a community of photographers called ClickinMoms. You don’t have to be a mom to join, you don’t even have to be a woman! It’s a great community of photographers that lift each other up. There are amazing tutorials, classes, and even just the photo shares can help inspire you. Joining ClickinMoms has led me to so many other great opportunities, like Instagram pods, Facebook groups, and making friends with photographers around the world. They’ve got my back, and I have theirs. Making friends in this business is a great way to learn and to also ask for help when you need one. I highly recommend finding a photography community and joining. You won’t regret it.
You might have a certain technique you love to use (for me it’s back lighting) and those images probably look amazing. But you won’t grow unless you try something new. Try incorporating shadows into your shot. Try a different composition technique instead of a center composition. Use leading lines, a different perspective, or the rule of thirds. Try shooting just the hands. Only include the feet. Change it up! Experiment! Have fun! GROW! I experiment all the time and I find new things that I love. It was through experimenting that I grew to love macro photography.
4. learn how to edit
I started out using a editing system that was free on the web. I am never going back to that! I upgraded to Photoshop in 2015. It was definitely hard to learn and I still don’t know all there is to learn from it. Then recently this year, I switched to Lightroom and I have never looked back. Lightroom is so easy and has all that I need to edit my images. If I ever need to clone something out, or anything else that LR can’t handle, I then upload my images into Photoshop and do some magic there. But, LR is all that I need normally and it doesn’t take me long to edit each image. I highly recommend trying Lightroom. If you need a good book, I recommend this one. It’s pretty cheap and teaches you a lot about Lightroom.
5. switch to raw
Switching to RAW was a big step in my photography journey. I had been shooting in JPEG for so long, when I switched to RAW I was literally amazed at the difference in quality. RAW images come out of your camera, well, for lack of a better term, raw. Your camera does slight adjustments to your JPEG images making them appear pretty when you first upload them. RAW gives you free choice as to how you want to edit you image. It captures so much more detail in each image. I NEVER shoot in JPEG, only RAW. I recommend looking into why RAW is better and decide for yourself if you should make the switch or not. I guarantee you won’t regret it.
6. let go of perfection
I’ll be first to admit that my photography is not perfect. It’s not even where I want it to be right now. But, that’s the beauty of photography, there’s always ways to improve. When I learned to let go of perfection, to accept my photography for what it was, my photography improved. I was able to start photographing for me instead of for anyone else. I was able to enjoy my photography and I was able to accept the flaws in it. I have a long ways to go on my photography journey, but honestly, we all do. So, let go of that perfection, and let the learning begin.
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