1. Engage with people
Get to know your subject for a better photo. Complimenting someone could lead to an interaction which gives your photograph a backstory. Once you are in conversation with someone, you can then control the photograph you want. Carry some business cards with your details on, so people can check out the photo you took.
2. Set yourself assignments
Walking the streets hunting for photos is how we all start and how we learn our craft. But, sometimes the results can be disappointing because we’re not following any direction. Try setting yourself an assignment – for example, today I’m going to photograph old men leaving pubs, or people wearing red – this gives our photography a purpose and a sense of fluidity because we’re following a theme. It’s a great way to work and you might discover a long term project you want to explore further.
3. Use the light
Photography is light – make sure you use it to your advantage to get the best photograph. Look at how the light falls on people’s faces, engage with people and move them into better light. Look for interesting shadows and reflections – always be mindful of light and how it can make or break your photograph.
4. Look for stories
A picture is worth a thousand words. Take pictures that tell a story – setting yourself an assignment and engaging with people are great ways to unearth a story. And let the picture do the talking – you don’t need to explain it, let people use their imagination.
5. Try film
If you haven’t already you should! With the digital camera we can take as many photos as we want at no extra cost, and we can see them instantly and delete them just as quick. With film we can’t do any of the above, the film, the developing – all takes time and money.
We are forced to wait for our pictures, sometimes they are good and sometimes they are bad, but we can’t delete them – we are forced to learn what we did right and wrong. Film photography trains us to think about the picture we want to take and how to go about getting it – it’s very expensive to just click and hope for the best!
6. Join a photography group
Joining a photography group can only benefit your craft. Not only do you learn new things about photography, but you also learn about your environment – new places to visit where others have had success before. Plus, you get to make new friends who share the same passion.
7. Print your photographs
Free your photos from your hard drive – print them, see what they look like on paper and enjoy your work, photos belong on walls not computers!
8. Shoot often
The more you shoot, the more you learn, and the better you’ll become. Whatever we do, we have to practice to become better – photography is no different, shoot more, and try to always carry a camera.
9. Find your own way
Photography is a self-fulfilling journey, you don’t need to enroll on expensive courses or spend money on workshops – get out there, teach yourself, and evaluate your mistakes. The internet can teach you the basics and some for free! Save your cash for gear and travel!
10. Keep a photography diary
A photography diary is the perfect tool to make you a better photographer. Stick in pictures that went wrong and evaluate them. Paste in pictures from other photographers you like and work out the shot. Document your general photography journey, any settings that worked well under certain conditions or places. Brainstorm assignments, ideas, and points of interest. Remember to always keep it with you when your out in the field!