Now that you’ve got to grips with your camera settings and photography apps, it’s time to start focusing on the artistic aspects that make being a photographer so rewarding. Here are a few tips to help you unlock your creativity and start seeing the world in your own unique way.
Look for Inspiration in Your Everyday Life
Being a photographer is like having superpowers. Suddenly you see the world in a more beautiful and interesting way, with photo opportunities at every turn. So why wait for your annual holiday to shoot family portraits when you can create beautiful images in your own back garden. Take your furry family members to the beach or park for a fun outdoor photoshoot, or invite some friends over for a portraiture session in the comfort of your own home. You’ll be amazed by what you can create when you look to your everyday life for inspiration!
Remember: “No One Sees it Like You”
“It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart, and head.”
~ Henri Cartier-Bresson
When we first start out in photography, it’s normal that we spend a lot of time getting familiar with our camera settings. But now that you’ve got to grips with the fundamentals, you’ve probably become aware that the camera is merely a tool. It’s your unique vision that makes you a photographer, not your camera. So from now on, challenge yourself to spend less time swiping away at your phone or fiddling with your camera dials and more time looking for exciting new subjects to shoot.
Find Your Muse
Who is it that motivates you to create? It could be your partner, children or friends that inspire you to get your phone out and capture portraits or candid moments. Are you the designated photographer at family gatherings and parties? Perhaps it’s the connection you have with your pet that has you rolling around in the grass in search of the perfect angle. Whoever it may be, find your muse and let them inspire your photographic vision.
Keep Your Camera or Phone with You at All Times
“The best camera is the one that’s with you.”
~ Chase Jarvis
Now that you’re beginning to see the world as a photographer, you’ll start noticing opportunities to create wherever you go. You could be with your kids when they spot something amazing or hilarious on the way to school. You could be hiking up a mountain with your partner and be greeted by a shimmering rainbow as you reach the top. You never know quite when inspiration will strike, so it’s always a good idea to have a camera with you. Keep your camera phone in your pocket or your camera in your bag and you’ll always be prepared to capture those serendipitous moments when they arise.
Narrow Your Focus
Beginner photographers tend to look at the whole scene in front of them and try to capture all of it in one or two shots. But those with a bit more experience understand that the devil is in the detail. Practice breaking experiences down into series of images that tell complete stories. For example, you can use a wide lens to shoot establishing shots, and then zoom in to capture the elements that tell your story. If you’re photographing your child’s birthday party, try photographing the details of their birthday outfit (especially if it’s fancy dress!). See if you can capture candid moments as they open their presents, as well as posed portraits with their friends and family members. Sometimes it’s the littlest things that tell the biggest stories.
Become an Eternal Student of Light
“Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.”
~ George Eastman
The word “photography” comes from the Greek words φωτός (light) and γραφή (drawing/painting). This literally translates as “drawing/painting with light”. So it’s safe to say that improving your photography is all about experimenting with different lighting scenarios. Perhaps the soft light of sunrise and sunset (known as the golden hours) are perfect for taking portraits of your partner. Maybe your family holiday snaps will look more vivid and alive if you shoot them on the beach in strong midday sunlight. Or why not use the diffuse light that enters a certain window in your house to photograph your newborn in all their loveliness. Just remember that photography is all about chasing light!
Create with Confidence
It’s only natural to feel a little self-conscious when you’re out and about with your camera, or even while taking photos with your phone. People may notice you and wonder what you’re photographing, but don’t let them put you off. In all likelihood they’re just curious, or maybe even passionate about photography themselves. Whether you’re shooting fashion portraits of your best friend’s new outfit or an action shot of your child on their bike, enjoy the process and create with confidence.
Discover more advice and tips to inspire your photography on the bonusprint blog.