No matter how glamorous the job may seem, true photographers know the struggles and difficulties of making their dreams happen in the creative industry. On top of the stress of finding new clients and trying to determine the worth of your work – you are constantly thinking about how you can become a better photographer.
It’s hard to admit, but for some people – the start of their photography journey was easy. The first day they picked up a camera, they created great imagery. They never worried too much about improving because their talent and creativity was already there.
Even though we all wish for such natural inclination, the truth is that most photographers work tirelessly each day to grow and become a stronger artist.
We know that you want to hone your artistic abilities and find your creative flow. So, if you’re stuck between knowing what you want in your creative career and trying to figure out how to get it – then this is for you.
Let’s talk about 4 things you can do right now to work toward becoming a better photographer.
Focus On Developing Your Style
I truly believe that what holds most photographers back is the second guessing and personal doubt of their photographic style and vision.
Too often, photographers deviate from their true expression to fit into a certain type of mold. And, trust me – the Internet doesn’t help.
While it may seem beneficial to be able to seamlessly view other photographer’s work and reference a plethora of image sources for inspiration – this can set an artist back.
Yes, you can and should find inspiration in the ideas around you. But, you need to be aware of how this can affect your work.
Inspiration is not synonymous with imitation. And, changing your style to mimics someone else’s is only hurting your creative progress.
So, instead of analyzing and sifting through thousands of images to try and figure out how to develop and recreate such photos – find your own style.
Becoming a better photographer means that you need to understand how to express your unique thoughts and vision. You need to figure out what you like and what speaks to you.
Art is subjective. And, maybe your style may not appeal to the masses. That’s okay.
You’ll be a stronger photographer, creator and artist if you shoot from your truest point of view.
Find Your Niche & Stick To It
When we first start taking photographs – we are excited to capture everything around us.
Now, I’m not saying that you should stop documenting life around you. It’s important to take photos, not only for your work, but to serve as a piece of your memory and experiences.
Yet, in your professional career the only way you can become a better photographer is to find your niche and stick to it.
It’s rare to find a photographer that can be a jack of all trades – one that can photograph anything and everything while still maintaining their style.
Different types of photography call for varying types of vision, perspective and composition. The way you capture someone’s portrait won’t be the same as the way you capture still life objects.
Instead of trying to do it all – find your strengths and figure out how to combine them.
So, you prefer to photograph people and travel? Try wedding photography or commercial imagery for adventurous brands.
Or, do you want to photograph landscapes and animals? Try wildlife and nature photography.
You can grow into your abilities, strengthen your work and become a better photographer if you determine your niche and subject.
Don’t Be Afraid To Change Your Perspective
If you’ve been a photographer for several years, you most likely shoot from a specific perspective.
Maybe you’re drawn toward a certain lens or frame of reference that gives your images a distinct look and composition.
While seeing the world through your personal lens is great, to become a better photographer you cannot be afraid of changing your perspective.
This could mean making small, simple adjustments to add another dimension to your work.
For example, if you’re a portrait photographer who shoots on a wide angle, 35mm, lens try to switch up your focal length. Grab an 85mm to compose your portraits with a shallower depth of field.
Or, if you photograph your subjects with an up-close point of view, take a step back. Open up your frame more and try creating a shot with a full body perspective. Plus, you can include your background to add a storytelling element.
Changing your perspective doesn’t have to be a drastic deconstruction of your work. To become a better photographer we must challenge ourselves to visualize our surroundings and subjects with a fresh outlook.
You Can Always Rebrand & Refresh Your Work
Lastly, to become a better photographer you need to embrace the evolution of your work.
The mark of a good photographer is one whose work is growing and changing over time. As you grow in your personal life and experience new things – your professional images should follow suit.
In fact, you should push your work to alter itself as your career progresses. You wouldn’t want the images you created in your early 20s to be exact replicas of the work you create in your 30s. A lot of life can happen between decades and you will learn more than you can imagine – let your work be a reflection of that.
So, don’t be wary of rebranding and refreshing your work. It’s important to check in with yourself consistently to understand if your photographic path is still relevant to you.
If you’ve shot digital your entire career, pick up a film camera. If you’re analog inclined, grab some megapixels.
Or, maybe you’re wanting to switch from photographing professional fashion models to capturing your subjects with a more documentary, portraiture viewpoint.
Either way, to become a better photographer you should embrace the rebrand and refresh of your professional work.
We all want to become better and stronger creators and artists. In the photography field, it can be hard to determine what you need in order to take that next step. So, to become a better photographer, remember to build your style, find your niche, don’t be afraid to change your perspective and embrace refreshing your work.
If you’re ready to pursue the photography career you always wanted, these 4 simple steps can truly change, alter and strengthen your creative journey.