Photography has become less expensive since it has gone Digital. Its easy for anyone with a camera to right-away create wonderful photographs, to put ones mental creativity into action. Due to this, we have tons & tons of photographer around the globe. Its easy to get bogged down by work of other great photographers. Often amateur(& even some seasoned) photographers have the bad habit of comparing oneself with other photographers. They behold the photographers at a pedestal position & treat them as a benchmark. Its one thing to get inspiration from them but this amounts to comparison.
Due to human nature, its instinctive to fall for easily attracted bad things/habits. Its easy to gauge oneself lower than others. Its easy to convince one that we’re not good enough than to convince one we’re good if not better. Often as a photographer, we get lost in style of others photographers, their gear(lenses, flash etc) & their processing styles. Its fairly easy to get intimidated with great photographers & to see one’s work not worthy enough in comparison to theirs. Once a photographer gets lost in this torrent of comparing oneself with other photographers, his/her personal growth gets stunted. His/Her self-confidence suffers badly & getting out of this rut becomes difficult.
The best way to avoid this, is to compare “Yourself with Yourself”. Compare your present photographs with your earlier photographs. Compare your present lighting techniques with the ones you used earlier. Compare your present approach to photography to your previous one. Compare your present processing techniques to your previous ones. This way, you’ll be able to know whether you’re progressing or not. Try to better your own previous results. Try to improve your shooting, lighting, post-processing & planning techniques than you already have. This way, your confidence will get boosted automatically as you better your own previous work. Ultimately, this will make you a better photographer & allow you to better yourself over the photographers who you once used to get intimidated with. Good Luck.
I tend to get most of my photography ideas when I’m sleeping or when I’m least expecting them. At such times, its easy to relax & say to oneself that, “I will implement/work on the idea later”. Stop right there. Get a pen along-with a piece of paper and jot the idea down immediately. Lest it flies out of your head.
Its not paranoia but however strong your recollecting ability be, you’re bound to forget something or at-times not recollect something completely. I make it a point to keep a small spiral pad & a pen in my camera bag & one at my home, so I can quickly jot down the idea as it strikes me. If at times, I’m without pen & a pad, I punch the idea into mobile messages drafts. This way I’m safe from letting off a good photographic opportunity.
This nifty tip was imparted on my ears by the renowned photographer, Shiresh Karrale at a Better Photography workshop. He defined this process as making “Photography Scribbles”. These scribbles have helped me immensely to plan a shoot beforehand. I make it a point to make these scribbles as detailed as possible, with lighting diagrams, tips, problems faced & so on. You should also implement this idea in your photography work-flow & experience how overtime it will help you in making better photographs.
I love to botch up photographs. It always makes me learn something new. Like me, you too should never be afraid to make mistakes in photography. You can learn a ton from mistakes. Actually I would say, you cannot learn in a better way than making a mistake in first place & then improving on it in the second attempt.
Making mistakes, teach you photography in a reverse manner than those taught by photography books or instructors. Mistakes sometime can even be beneficial in getting good shots. Let me give you an example. You forgot to put lens hood on your lens while shooting & you get this glare in your photograph. Suddenly an ordinary photograph has become visually striking due to the glare. Off-course not all mistakes will be beneficial. Some mistakes can even prove costly, so just tread with little caution when you’re on a paid assignment. In free time, while you develop your portfolio or are dillydallying with your camera, feel free to get out of your normal routine & try something new with your camera. Purposely try to overexpose, try to move camera while using second curtain flash, try to release shutter when you’re jumping & are in mid-air. The possibilities are only limited as per your vision. I bet, you’ll learn a lot about photography & make wonderfully visually appealing photographs by following this tip.
Making mistakes does not make you a bad photographer as most photographers think. It is a way of preparing yourself for the worst & will come handy when you’re in pickle at a middle of an important shoot. Just bear in mind to commit mistakes but not to repeat them. Try committing a different mistake the next time. Have fun with mistakes & learn from them.
While you’re shooting, you’re always changing your camera’s setting – ISO, Aperture, White Balance etc. Given the complexity of today’s camera, you’ve a whole lot of settings to think before you take a shot. At time, we get so hurried that we forget to change the camera to its default setting.
Take an example, you’re shooting outside your house on a bright sunny day & the contrast range is very high in your scene. You’re taking a shot of a white building & decide to overexpose it by one stop to get an optimal exposure. Once you are done with the shot, you head inside your home & spot a candid moment among your family members. You quickly take the camera to your eye & shoot leading to a “Oops!” moment. You forgot to change the +1 exposure compensation which you dialled in for shooting the white building. Your candid shot is all gone with all the highlights blown out. Even post-processing cannot come to your aid.
The above example may not be such a big deal but imagine you’re on field shooting a client’s wedding(or similar one time event) & you mess up. You’ll be kicking yourself. Instead, just remember always to keep camera at a safe default setting. This means removing any automation & special parameters you may have set(which includes exposure compensation, drive mode, white balance, flash metering & much more) to get a previous shot. Make it a habit to take any changed options back at their default setting & you’ll never need to miss/mess-up the upcoming shot.
Have your camera handy. This seems so obvious but its funny how many people miss this point. How on the Earth will you make photographs without a camera by hand?
Ensure you take your camera wherever you go. Take it with you to your work place, college, restaurant or even on your trip to the grocery store. Whether you’re leaving your home for 5 minutes or for 5 hours, you must take your camera along. A photo opportunity doesn’t comes with prior intimation, it comes out of nowhere & when you least expect it. At times, you’re bound to return home empty handed without a single photo opportunity but let that not deter you to leave the camera at home next time. Again you need to put inconvenience aside if you’re on pursuit of good photographs. If not your full fledged DSLR camera, take along a point & shoot camera along.
I always have camera with me, always! Many times, I return(& still) home without a single good click. Still if you ask me, some of my best photographs were made when I least expected them. Offcourse, I would have missed them had I not bought my camera along. So, always keep your camera handy folks.