Last month I spoke at length about the various “don’t do’s” in travel photography, or rather, photography in general. This time around, I felt it necessary to focus on some positives, with some of the more necessary “dos” that will help you advance your own photography.
Do learn the technical, but don’t let them overwhelm you
So, you bought a brand new camera – you rip open the box with excitement, but then you abruptly stop and your heart sinks, because you see a beaucoup of strange buttons and an overstuffed manual that reads foreign to you. No worry here, I’ve felt the same way before with technical new gadgets. The key is to not let yourself feel defeated – take one thing at a time. It’s important to learn the settings and to master the device, but it takes time. A little breath of fresh air comes, once you realize that you don’t need to know each and every aspect to begin learning and honing your skills.
Practice, even if you’re not traveling
Most of what I talk about throughout this series can be easily translated toward other types of photography – be it portraiture, fashion or object photography. With that said, it’s important to continue practicing – just because you may not be traveling, that doesn’t mean you can’t cultivate your eye and advance as a photographer. So get out there and keep at it!
Read, watch, copy and absorb
If photography is something you find yourself quite serious about, continuously surrounding yourself by it is one of the best ways to grow with your work. Follow blogs (like my own: www.eyeandpen.com), read magazines, watch tutorials, copy photography styles that interest you and no matter what, continue to absorb and to learn.
No need to be afraid of your shadow, make your shadow afraid of you
Just because an idea may seem ridiculous or if an editing technique sounds too out of this world, there’s no harm in giving it a go. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Try entirely new and foreign things. Go for that off-the-beaten-path angle or try out that weird editing concept, and why not break all of the rules you just spent loads of time learning? …You may just learn something worthwhile along the way.
Do set goals and make a plan
It’s easy to find yourself becoming discouraged if something seems to difficult – complacency and yielding to failure often are go hand in hand with growth in a new career or technical hobby. But just like anything else, working slowly, but diligently is the key – and by setting goals, even little ones, you can control your pace, so that you will find yourself moving forward step by step. Try writing down a plan, and creating baby steps along the way. Perhaps you want to master shading and dramatic light, which you can do by shooting in monochrome black and white – or if you need to master angles or rule of thirds, try practicing only upon those shooting styles.
Photo credit: Brandon Elijah Scott