When you decide to start the journey of becoming a better photographer, there are several daily exercises to take into consideration, such as:
a) Equipment: as long as your skills are developing, you will be able to use equipment meant for professional users. Even if some tend to believe that it’s best to start out with high-end photography equipment, that rule doesn’t apply – you will just be wasting your money if you buy something you don’t have any clue how to use properly.
b) Software: Although some consider software strictly an “extra”, it has become a new stand-alone category. There is no contemporary photography without at least a little bit of post-production.
c) Your skills as a photographer: this is the most important thing every photographer needs to improve.
That being said, today we are going to learn quick, effective and fun tips that will soon make you a better photographer.
Enhance your social media skills
This is a must for the upcoming professional photographer – Social media and content dispersed via the net rules the world. People who ace it are the ones who can really use it to make a difference in their business.
Little by little, start learning all the rules, tips and tricks of social media in order to develop your skills. You will notice as an immediate effect that the followers you have on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram will begin to increase.
Take a minute to discover the not-so-popular social media sites, such as Pinterest or Linkedin. Even though these do not let you interact with users the exact same way you do on Facebook and Twitter, you will gain access to content and people with the same business interests as yours.
Play with the White Balance values
Are you bored sitting at home on a Friday night? Not anymore. Use your free time to learn how WB works. By experimenting on small group of pictures, you can quickly learn how to apply WB adjustments, as well as the immediate effect of altering those values.
If you are a beginner, you should practice this kind of adjustment almost every day. That is the only way you can accomplish the task of learning the proper way to use White Balance tools.
Use Manual Exposure mode
You can’t call yourself a professional photographer (or at least a good photographer), if you keep shooting in Auto Mode. If your camera allows (every bridge/DSLR has the option), switch to Manual mode instead of using Auto / Aperture priority / Shutter priority.
While working in manual mode, you constantly have to be thinking about lighting conditions in your setting: reflections, refraction, textures, conditions of your subject, etc. In addition, you need to take into account DOF and objects moving around your scene.
With recent improvements in the smart photography industry, not having enough elements, such as a proper light meter, is no longer an excuse. Our beloved smartphones can become extremely useful tools by “replacing” old equipment used not so long ago. I put this in quotations, since even today, smartphones can’t achieve the same precision as some well-known brands on market, although smartphones are increasing in popularity with users, which means that apps are also improving constantly.
Apps like Light Meters, DoF calculators, camera controllers, etc. ought to be part of the regular tool set for our smartphones, if we intend to improve as photographers.
How can you become more creative, if you don’t practice your skills on a regular basis? You don’t need to go too far in order to find something interesting to shoot with your camera to. As simple as it sounds, turn on the kitchen faucet and start testing your camera’s shutter speed and aperture values in order to take a freeze-motion picture of water coming out the faucet. Not only can you create something a bit different, you are also practicing your skills for action scenes.
Study the work of other photographers
Social media gives us the dual tool of access to a broad audience, as well as the ability to see the work of professional photographers. Sites like 500px serve as both social media and digital portfolios for many photographers. There, you can study their techniques and even ask them about their postproduction workflow or about the camera settings for one of their images. Pinterest and Deviantart also serve that purpose, perhaps in a more tutorial-like fashion.
Flickr is yet another platform, where you can interact with professional photographers. It has the advantage of letting you locate pictures taken in your local area, so you can look at the work of professional photographers in your vicinity.
Practice your skills in Lightroom
As the brightest star of digital post-production, Adobe Lightroom can become your best buddy in no time at all. All you need is a good bundle of presets and brushes – a high quality product made especially for photographers, such as the Sleeklens products, and a fair amount of patience while you work on testing several effects.
The best thing about Lightroom is that the more you practice, the better you are going to become. There are no hidden secrets, everything you need to try it out and learn to perform a quality job is right there.
So, what are your own daily exercises for becoming a better photographer? Do you use any of these approaches in your day-to-day work? Remember, there are no genius photographers, just skilled ones who have spent a great number of hours practicing.