New and experienced photographers hear a lot of advice from other photographers. If you ask me, sharing all out hard earned knowledge is a good thing! That’s why I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite tidbits of wisdom that have been imparted on to me. Take a look, and once you’ve read through everything, take a minute to share some sage advice you’ve been given that’s helped you become a better photographer in the comments section below!
1. Learn How To Read The Histogram
If you don’t already know how to read the histogram on the back of your camera and in Lightroom or Photoshop, stop whatever it is you’re currently practicing in your photography and take 10 minutes to figure it out. The histogram is your golden ticket to properly exposed photos and once you understand what all those peaks and valleys mean, you’ll much more capable of taking better photos and well on your way to mastering manual mode.
For a more in-depth of the histogram, including how to read it and use it to get the exposure you want, you can check out this excellent article: Using Your Camera’s Histogram Display To Take Better Pictures.
2. You Don’t Need A Better Camera
If being an outstanding photographer was as simple as purchasing an expensive camera and all the accessories to go with it, the world would be full of first class photographers. More often than not, when a photographer thinks the only way their work could improve is buy upgrading equipment, they are not being entirely truthful with themselves about what it is their images are lacking. The reality is, if you don’t have a solid grasp of the fundamentals such as lighting and composition, not even the best camera on the market is going to improve your work. A good photographer can take a great photograph regardless of what kind of gear they are shooting with.
Additionally, unless you need to make billboard size prints or shoot in low-light situations where a larger sensor would truly be of benefit, investing in a high quality lens will do most photographers more good than picking up the latest and greatest body.
3. Learn To Cull For A Stronger Portfolio
This advice is especially hard for a lot of photographers to follow because it requires them to separate themselves from their work and look at it with a very critical eye. When you’re putting together your portfolio, whether it be an album of prints or an online portfolio, select your favorite images then go over all of those by ranking them into three groups: Very good, good, or okay. Take all the photos that you ranked as good or okay and set them aside–only post the photos that are very good and are outstanding examples of your capabilities.
If you only show the world your very best work, it will be easier for them to perceive you as a very good photographer. If you throw in some shots that are good or just okay, they’ll most likely remember you by those. Of course, no photographer–even the most talented, highest paid–takes excellent photos 100% of the time, and that is widely understood by everyone; however, if you look through their portfolios, it’s easy to assume they do.
4. The Day You Think You Know Everything Is The Day You Stop Improving
Okay, this bit of advice didn’t come from a fellow photographer, but from my mentor when I just got started out as a professional equestrian. But, I think this is the single–handedly the most important bit of advice I’ve ever been given because it holds true to just about everything we do in life–including photography. As our skills progress and we gain more and more recognition, maybe start making some sales and picking up some nice paying jobs, it’s easy to become distracted by that success and set aside the educational process. But, the very second we think we know enough about what we’re doing to stop actively learning new techniques, is the very second we stop getting better.
Long story short: we will never know everything there is to know about photography, but that is by no means a reason to stop trying to learn. Stay active in your education and you will stay active in progress.