Many of us enjoy taking photos on an almost daily basis. The cameras in our phones are pretty good and more advanced cameras are also reasonably affordable. But, we all find ourselves deleting so many pictures. This can be frustrating. We all want to be able to capture special moments with friends and family. But we might not have a lot of time to study photography. So, how can you become a better photographer quickly and easily?
The most important thing to start learning about is composition. Yes, there are lots of buttons on your camera and many clever functions. Yes, Photoshop can make things look better. But, if you want to be deleting fewer photos and feeling better about the ones you keep then you need to think about composition. This might sound scary and like hard work. However, composition is actually at heart very simple. You need to consider this question: what do you want to show the viewer?
The first step towards becoming a better photographer is to slow yourself down and think about what it is that you want to show in your image. You might be wanting to remind yourself of something you saw on holiday, perhaps. Or, you may want to show something to a friend. How can you make it as obvious as possible to the person looking at the photo what the reason was that made you take the photo? Composition is all about helping the person looking at your photo to see and feel what you want them to see and feel.
So, is there anything distracting in the frame that could take attention away from the subject? Is there a bright area or strong colour (e.g. red) that is pulling the eye? We are naturally drawn to things that are brightly coloured and that are also the brightest areas of an image. You can use this to help draw attention to things you want people to look at. Also, it can help you to identify what is not working in your photo. Take care to keep bright and brightly coloured areas you don’t want out of your image so they don’t distract people.
A large part of becoming a better photographer is learning to slow yourself down and being critical of your images. I don’t mean you should try to be upset about what you take. No, enjoy your images as much as you can. Instead, see photos as opportunities to learn. What is it about an image that works? What doesn’t work? Is the subject big enough and clear enough? Are there natural lines drawing you towards your subject (e.g. fences, paths, streams, railings)?
Every bad photo can be a good lesson. Take a closer look before you press delete. What could you do better next time? It may be that you need to learn more technique or use different equipment for some things. But a lot of the time you can improve your photos simply by reframing them – changing your composition.
There aren’t really any true shortcuts to being great at anything, unfortunately. However, you can speed up the rate of improvement by analysing more carefully. You need to keep taking photos so that you can keep learning. Try to learn from shots you like and see if you can repeat them.
Remember, before you press the button, check around the frame and see if you are happy with everything that is in there. Is it all helping or is there something distracting? Can you change it for the better?
So, if you want a quick answer to the question “How can I become a better photographer?” regardless of your level, whether beginner or more experienced, you need to do all you can to help people see and feel what your photo is about.
For more photography articles, ideas and online training please visit Joe’s Original Art Photography website