Use What You Have to Become a Better Photographer

Often times professional photographers are pushing amateurs to get better gear, promising them that great things will come with great gear. I can see this happening for many reasons, partly due to the bloated market and consumer/capitalist mentality that we are all stuck in. However, it is still possible to become a better photographer using what you already have and not spending any extra cash unless you need to as a professional or amateur. Here are some ways you can do so:

Change Locations:

Nothing gets the creative mind going like a change of scenery. Change your locations and practice shooting. You will notice that with each location come different challenges that are worth mastering. A common mistake most beginners make is that they start out excited, shooting at their local park or neighborhood and then slowly get bored. If you find yourself getting this way, then go out and take the bus to the next town or city and keep practicing. It makes a huge difference.

Change Time:

Yes, we are all busy, work, self-improvement (be it the gym or school, etc), spending time with family and friends and loved ones leaves us little pockets of time to practice your craft. That’s fine, after all life is all about finding balance isn’t it? What you need to understand however is that you shouldn’t practice shooting at the same time of day every time. Make it interesting for yourself and go out at night, take long exposure shots, try to slow the shutter down a little and capture light in a different way. Or go out first thing in the morning and catch that golden hour lighting. Doing these things will not only get you motivated but it will challenge you to master your camera to get proper exposure for different times of the day and different lighting conditions.

Mobile Photography:

We all have smart phones, so get yours out and use it. Doing this will help you see things differently. Not to mention it will help remove the anxiety and stress of carrying around your heavy DSLR camera. It’s very easy to shoot with your smartphone since you always have it on you, it’s light weight and doesn’t take a lot to get a decent shot. Additionally, the confines of mobile photography will help you become more efficient and understand limits better, which you can then use to be a better DSLR photographer as well.

Shoot and Edit Video:

No, you don’t have to become a director or videographer, but getting your camera or smartphone to record some video is a great way to learn even more about imagery. Take this one step further by learning to edit your work on your computer using different software. I have found that doing this helps immensely as you become more self aware of story-telling, angles and composition. All of those qualities just mentioned are as important if not more important in still imagery/photography.