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Sunday, April 10, 2011

3 Easy Steps to Improve

If your a beginner you may wonder, "how do I go from a beginer to a competent photographer?" In short, it's all about devotion. You need to commit your time and energy to improvement. So, where to start? I'm going to break this down into the most basic terms. But it's important to have a plan, otherwise you'll end up meandering along when there was a far straighter path, if you just looked for it.

FIRST, take pictures. This is the most obvious. It's also the easiest and most fun. Photograph anything that interests you and enjoy it. You can't improve in your photography if your not using your camera. Now that the obvious is out of the way, let's look at improving those photos.

SECOND, look at photos. Look at photos online, in magazines or at a gallery. A good analogy is for poker players. They say you can't become a good poker player until you've see X number of poker hands. It's the experience that pays in the future. Expose yourself to as many quality photos as possible. You will bring that experience with you in the field.

Also, change the way your looking at photographs. Try to image yourself being there and ask yourself "Why" questions. Why did the photographer choose this view? Why is the sun angle where it is? Why did they choose this foreground subject? Why isn't there a foreground subject? Try to also decide "What." What focal length was this? What lighting was used (flash etc..) What time of day was this? What was the weather like? What kind of post processing was used? Then apply your conclusions to your own photography and confirm your thoughts.

THIRD, learn post processing. This one strikes fear in people who just want to be taking the pictures. But, if you want your quality greatly improve, good post processing is a must. I've seen good images look bad with bad post processing. I've seen the opposite true as well. I can't stress how important it is to be competent in using your post processing tools. The most intuitive learning tool I've found is Lynda.com. You pay $25 a month to learn as much as you can.

CONCLUSION, if your looking to improve your photography and you concentrate on improving these three things, you will improve your photography. If your already doing these things, and most of are, then look at each category and take each step to the next level. Now it's up to you find quality images to analyze and take on the responsiblity of learning Lightroom, Aperature and Photoshop.