8 tips for better photography – Don’t be intimidated by other photographers

Part 7 of a series of 8 articles that are non technical, that describe my own attitude to photography. My aim is to reinforce the fact that photography in all its forms and formats is fun, highly creative, enjoyable and rewarding. From HDR to smartphones to instagram to large format black and white….Find a little corner that fits your personality and lifestyle…and allow your unique creativity to flourish

It’s easy for beginners or occasional photographers to look at the photography of accomplished photographs, and think that they will never achieve the same level as them.

But many of those accomplished photographers were also beginners just a few years ago. And the photography that you see is the photography that they want you to see.

If you could look at their rejects, or look at what they were producing when they first picked up a camera, you will probably be filled with confidence.

Every individual has a unique way of seeing the world whether they own a camera or not. And that unique-ness also translates into photography – into your photography. That ‘unique way’ is talent. Your talent. What a beginner needs to do is learn how to tap into that talent, and when you do you will begin to create photography that is just as accomplished as others that you may at this moment, look up to.

Technical knowledge, practice, experience and talent when combined will grow someone into a good photographer, and everyone has those qualities already, or the potential to acquire those qualities.

I cannot emphasise it enough….the talent bit is already there. You already have your own moments of inspiration. We all have that. You just need the technical know how and experience to turn those moments into an aesthetically pleasing photos.

So just get out there and photo!

Suburbs of Prague

8 tips for better photography – Create a series of photographs

A series of 8 articles that are non technical, that describe my own attitude to photography. My aim is to reinforce the fact that photography in all its forms and formats is fun, highly creative, enjoyable and rewarding. From HDR to smartphones to instagram to large format black and white….Find a little corner that fits your personality and lifestyle…and allow your unique creativity to flourish

6 – Creating a series of photographs

I am not a photojournalist, so I am not really that inclined to tell someone’s story in a series of pictures. But I do like photographing the world around me.

We all get to a place or location and snap away, taking loads of images. In the past I haven’t really sorted them into any kind of order, I just take each photo as a separate item.

But sometimes a group of images can collectively look greater than the sum of it’s parts. A single image could be very well composed and technically perfect, but may not hold the viewers attention.

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Fishing boat at dusk on the beach at Aldeburgh, Suffolk, England, UK

8 tips for better photography – Use techniques not rules

This is a series of 8 articles that are non technical, and describe my own attitude to photography. My aim with this series is to try and loosen people up a bit in terms of attitude, so that you are free to try and explore anything and everything in photography to help you bring out your own unique creativity.

5 – Use techniques not rules

Rules sound far to serious when talking about something creative like photography. People can learn to resent rules too. And others can dictate rules.

I am talking more about composition than anything else. If you apply a technique like the ‘rule of thirds’ as an actual rule, then you may grow to resent it, or you may apply it to everything, sometimes innapropriately.

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Epping Forest, Essex, England, UL

8 tips for better photography – Use every trick in the book

This is a series of 8 articles that are non technical, and describe my own attitude to photography. When I was in learning mode a few years ago, I tended to have too much of an absolute belief in what other more experienced photographers said (and often dictated). Some of this advice actually held me back. My aim with this series is to try and loosen people up a bit in terms of attitude, so that you are free to try anything to help you bring out your own unique creativity.

4 – Use every trick in the book

Moving on from good old-fashioned snobbery, but still related to that, is to embrace all forms of photography, post-processing, styles and genres. Have fun and experiment.

For example, when Holga cameras had a bit of a comeback a few years ago, it became very popular, because it was fun and Holga cameras produced photographs with a look that was different from conventional cameras.

I am not saying that photographers should drop everything and go and buy a cheap Holga, it’s just an example of how trying new things will help you be more creative.

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Pedestrians in Brno, Czech Republic

8 tips for better photography – Don’t be a photography snob

3 – Don’t be a photography snob

Embrace everything, and keep an open mind. That’s it, simple!

I think it’s perfectly natural to become a little snobbish when you take up an activity or hobby. Music snobbery is something that I was guilty of when I was younger. Then I started backpacking around the world, stopped buying records, and when I looked back on my teenage record buying years, I could suddenly see how much of a music snob I was. Nowadays I love a bit of cheese laced with sugar alongside my protest songs and skinny men with guitars strumming artful tunes with earnest lyrics.

I got into photography just before the crossover period that saw digital take over from film. And at that time I always had my head stuck in photography magazines. It was only ten years or so ago, but it seems so much longer.

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Dawn in the Thrace region of Turkey

8 tips for better photography – Local knowledge and not local knowledge

2 – Local Knowledge and not local knowledge

I’ve heard it and read it countless times that there is no substitute in landscape photography for local knowledge.

And I agree with that. If you are familiar with a landscape, you will know exactly how the light fills all the nooks and crannies of the landscape at any time of day, at any time of year. You will know all the vantage points that offer all the best views. And if you live locally, you can go out there time and time again until you get that perfect shot.

For other landscapes that are further from home, maybe a place you love to go hiking in once or twice a year, or maybe a big city that you work in for your day job, visiting and re-visiting these places will instill into you a local knowledge that allows you to plan ahead and work out some potentially striking compositions before you even leave your house.

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Street scene in Kolkata, West Bengal, India

8 tips for better photography

Introduction

That title may not be strictly true, I just liked its slightly over the top drama….it would be nice though if these tips improved someone’s photography, or gently nudged someone in the right direction. I see a lot of articles that have a similar title…you know, five tips to make great photography and so on….10 tips here, 20 tips there…..and then sometimes one of the five might be an explanation of the rule of thirds that could have been cut and pasted from Wikipedia…and so on….and that sort of stuff turns me off. I like to get personal, so I thought I’d write my five personal things to better my photography…..that was until it turned into eight…and even that might grow a little…

My advice is to cherry pick the bits you like and discard that which you don’t.

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Swanage Bay at dawn, Dorset, Englanf, UK

Visualization in photography

Visualization in Landscape photography is a term made famous by American landscape photographer Ansel Adams, who is one of the fathers of American Landscape Photography, and one of the most famous names in Landscape photography around the world.

One of the components in Ansel Adams’ photographic armoury was his ability to ‘visualize’. He is quite famous for using that term, and put simply, it’s the ability to see the final photographic print in the minds eye before pressing the shutter.

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Traditional Landscape Photography and the sweeping vista

Narrow path at dawn in the Chiltern Hills, near Ivinghoe, Buckinghamshire, england, UK

Shropshire countryside, footpath under stormy skies.  England, UK

Landscape photography goes way beyond standard compositions like the sweeping vista. The sweeping vista is a fixed composition that works best with a particular view in a particular light. That is what photographers often mean by ‘chasing the light’ or ‘waiting for the light’

The sweeping vista is a very commercial composition, and is still and always will be in great demand. It’s a great way to practice your technical skills and it is guaranteed to impress your friends with it’s ‘wow factor’. Just don’t forget the summer storm in the middle of the day.


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