The effort you put into your photography directly affects the quality of your photos. It is a rule of life. Sometimes people are lucky, but most of the time, the result of little effort is little reward. Gary Player, a world class golfer, always said that the harder he practiced the luckier he got.
Our brains are amazing, and when we repeat something, it creates pathways to the brain. We develop something called muscle memory. This is really important in sports and physical activity and, to a degree, it affects your skill acquisition with photography. You don’t have to think as much; everything comes more naturally.
As you learn digital photography and acquire skills and techniques, they need to be regularly practiced in order for them to become entrenched in your mind. They should become second nature to you. A pianist has to practice her scales, even though they are tedious and monotonous. There is a good reason for this. When it becomes second nature, it allows your brain to concentrate on the intricacies of the performance. The same goes for photography. The creative photographer doesn’t concentrate on getting the techniques right but rather on the creative side of image taking.
3 EXCERCISES TO MAKE PRACTICE MORE PLEASANT:
1- GO ON A PHOTO WALK:
Get out of your home and into the outdoors. You’ll have more subjects and there is more variety to the images you can create. There is just something about the outdoors that makes you feel good. Set yourself a goal as to what you want to achieve and then work toward it. You’ll get good exercise and great images.
2- SHOOT ONE SUBJECT IN 50 DIFFERENT WAYS:
This may seem difficult, but once you start it gets easier. Find something that you like or that appeals to you, then attempt to take fifty photos of it from different angles and in different ways. This really pushes you to the limits but what it gets you thinking outside the box and trying news things. I can promise you that you will come up with some great images.
3- TAKE THE ALPHABET CHALLENGE:
You can do this anywhere–indoors or outdoors. What you must do with this little challenge is take the alphabet or a series of letters in the alphabet and shoot objects that either begin with the letter or look like the letter. This task gets you thinking and, of course, practicing your photography.
The object of these little exercises is to give you ideas so that you’ll take more photos. One of the biggest hindrances for new photographers is deciding what to shoot. If you are not taking photos, you aren’t practicing. And practice makes perfect.
I teach photography for a living and my mantra is “practice, practice, practice and when you have finished practicing, practice more.” It’s the concert pianist, the top golfer, and the talented artist who practice the most that become the most proficient at what they are doing. Happy shooting!
About the Author: Wayne Turner has been teaching photography for 25 years and has written three books on photography. He has produced 21 Steps to Perfect Photos; a program of learner-based training using outcomes based education.
Thanks to Wayne Turner for the great insight on how to become a great photographer. I think his ideas are really good. And thanks to Picture Correct for sharing this article.
Sometimes when we take pictures, we get into the habit to just look through the viewfinder, aim, and push the button, and hope the camera did a good job. That is all good and dandy, unless you want something spectacular. What does a real good photographer think about or do before they push that button? I think they are hoping that every time they push that button, that this one picture is going to be the one that will make them famous, or be one that will be a sellable photo.
“Second Opinion” captured by Bob MacCallum / uncoolbob
So, here is a great article written by a great Photographer: SWEE SHIONG CHONG titled:
10 THINGS SUCCESSFUL PHOTOGRAPHER DO BEFORE THEY PRESS THE SHUTTER:
Are you an aspiring pro photographer? Have you ever wondered how to shoot like a pro? Don’t worry; you are in the right place.
Anyone today can qualify as a photographer, provided they have a smartphone or any other device with a good camera. However, it takes more than owning a camera to become a real photographer. There are a lot of factors that come into play for a person to be transformed from a hobbyist photographer to a successful photographer (getting the right equipment, training/education, etc.).
This article will not focus on the practical aspect of becoming a successful photographer. Instead, we will attempt to get into the heads of successful photographers and try to find out how they think.
If you are interested in discovering what goes through the minds of successful photographers before they press the shutter, you are in the right place. Below are ten thought processes that have been proven to be the essence of successful professional photography.
1- HAVE NO FEAR:
This is undoubtedly one of the most common thought processes that goes through the minds of all successful photographers before a professional shoot. Unlike novice photographers, successful professional photographers are fearless when it comes to executing their duties. For instance, instead of worrying about a big job at hand, seasoned photographers get rid of the fear and embrace the opportunity as a chance to showcase their prowess. It is important to note that even the best photographers in the world are afraid of some jobs; however, they have programmed their minds to tone down the fear to levels where it doesn’t interfere with their work.
“Elephant family passing through” captured by Mark Birchall
2- KEEP AN OPEN MIND:
Successful photographers go into photo shoots with an open mind. This is simply because they understand that photography is a very dynamic field that can’t be approached with a closed mind. Successful photographers are open to trying things that are out of the norm. They may follow basic principles of photography during every professional shoot; however, they are willing to go where their subject goes, take random shots, try different settings that were not planned, etc. This open nature is one of the main reasons why they get ahead faster.
“Untitled” captured by Francisco Javier Camacho
3- BE CONFIDENT:
Professional photographers are in a state of extreme confidence before any shoot. They have done many photo shoots over time, gaining invaluable experience. They trust their photography abilities beyond doubt. They know they are good at their trade, so they don’t worry about messing up the shoot. This self belief is what makes them open-minded and fearless before any photo shoot.
4- GET IN A POSITIVE MOOD:
Good photographers become successful because they are able to check their mood. They understand the negative effects of a bad mood during a photo shoot. Mood plays a very important role in photography. For instance, you must smile and talk to the people you are photographing to make them feel relaxed. Even in photo shoots that don’t involve people, a bad mood can ruin everything, because you won’t be at your best, making it difficult to do your best.
“Smiling Photographer” captured by Sea Turtle
5- HAVE THE RIGHT ATTITUDE:
Successful photographers understand that attitude plays a crucial role in overall success. It’s one thing to have a bad mood and another completely different thing to have a bad attitude. In fact, a bad attitude is worse than a bad mood, since it’s more difficult to change a person’s attitude toward something. Successful photographers have conditioned themselves to stay away from negative thoughts about tasks at hand however difficult or challenging they may seem.
Successful photographers go into all photo shoots with originality in mind. The mind of a pro photographer is focused on capturing the most unique aspects of the subject. This is precisely why the best photographers let their subjects relax and be themselves. They also avoid copying the styles of other photographers, focusing instead on what they are comfortable with and what makes them unique. They understand their uniqueness and don’t compromise it for anything.
Being open-minded shouldn’t be mistaken for meaning being unprepared. Successful photographers have photo shoots carefully planned step by step. They know the type of cameras, lenses, and lights to use and the best subject angles to capture. They understand the importance of going into anything when you are 100 percent prepared, which is why they are successful. Their mind is ready for all aspects and steps of the photo shoot even before it starts.
8- FOCUS ON PERFECTION:
Successful photographers aim to get it right regardless of factors such as time, cost, and effort. They go into photo shoots having prepared their minds for the fact that they won’t stop until they get everything right. A perfectionist mindset is a very powerful mindset even outside photography, since it gets rid of mental barriers that get in the way of success.
9- SET GOALS:
Successful photographers usually have goals in mind before they start shooting. For instance, they have a set target of the number of photos they want to take and the time they want to spend in a photo shoot. They may also have angle and lighting goals, among others, to increase their chances of success.
10-UNDERSTAND THE SUBJECT:
Before pressing their shutters, successful photographers make sure they have a thorough understanding of their subjects and their surroundings. They don’t rush to capture meaningless photos. Instead, they take time and understand everything first.
“Baiduizi Photo Shoot” captured by Jens Schott Knudsen
This list summarizes some of the most important aspects of the psychology of a successful photographer before they press their shutter. After going through the above information, you shouldn’t have a problem knowing how to shoot like a pro. It is, however, important to note that there is more to professional photography success than what is discussed above. Use this article as a basis for further research on how to shoot like a pro.
About the Author: Swee Shiong Chong writes for SG East Photo, a photography blog on techniques and equipment that is used in creating all types of photography from around the world.
And thanks to PictureCorrect for the use of this article.