How To Improve Your Photography Skills – 3 Tips to Challenge Yourself

A few weeks back I went out with Annie to have some fun shooting + to share with her some helpful photography tips. We talked about a lot of things, how to get lighting adjusted just right, how to frame a shot, how to change the depth of field, how lighting is effected by shutter speed – aperture – and F-stop, etc. However, a few questions seemed to keep coming back up… How do you get better at all this? How do you learn to make the adjustments so fast? How do you manage to remember + use all of this during a shoot?

It can all be overwhelming at first, so much information and so many different ways to use that information to create a creative piece. I remember all to well being overwhelmed when I first started shooting. I knew what everything did, but I could not seem to get my adjustments set quickly enough to capture the moment I wanted. My lighting would be off or my photo would be blurry. There was a time when I would cry looking at my own photos wondering if I would ever improve.

I have good news, if you keep practicing you will get better, believe me:) I like to compare the technical aspect of adjusting your camera to typing. When we first learn to type we all “chicken peck” the keys. We have to constantly look at the keyboard to type. It takes a lot of practice and do diligence. But over time you look at the keys less and less. Your fingers begin to move more quickly. Words begin to flow and paragraphs begin to form in less then a minute rather then an hour. This to will happen with your camera. The more you use it, the more you practice the faster the adjustments will come. In time you will not even need to look at your camera to make the adjustments, you will have all the the buttons, dials and switches memorized. Your fingers will flow over your camera and you will make adjustments without even thinking twice.

I have three tips that challenged me to improve as I started out.
*Take A Photo Challenge. I used to pick one subject (my dogs, door nobs, my husband, friends, flowers, strangers, myself) and photograph that subject for 10 days strait. Each time I photographed my subject I would challenge myself to capture the photo differently by changing the angle, depth of field, lighting, placement within the rule of thirds, wide angle, portrait, landscape, up close, far away and a moving subject, the list can go on and on.
*Review + Edit Your Photos. I have found that by far one of the best ways to improve my photography was to review my work. I took notes, what do I like about my photos and what can I improve?. I edited my photos and within my edits I looked at what I was changing the most, lighting, white balance, sharpness, alinement or crop. I took the things I was changing during my editing and learned how to make those adjustments in camera while shooting so those edits were eliminated post process.
*Shoot Often, Practice, Practice, Practice. Basically my camera became my best friend and went with me every where.

I had to share a few of the photos I snagged of Annie on our shooting safari. Annie is one of the amazing missionaries that lives here on the camp. She loves warm cozy camp fires, vibrant fall leaves, wild adventures in the mountains, friendships that run deep, but her greatest love is God.

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