Do you want to become a better photographer?
A visit with my friend Paula became a lesson on becoming a better photographer. I visited her home and she took out her cameras to show me. She had two Rolleiflexes that looked pristine, and 35 other cameras.
Tennis and Photography
First a discussion on tennis and photography. When I was a kid I thought I was good at tennis. I was good. I normally beat my opponents at Camp Mount Morris or the tennis courts of Skokie. But I never had instruction or played competition better than me. So the talented ten year old tennis player became the decent teenage tennis player.
Chess was the same thing. I was good, not great.
Now I enjoy photography and would like to become good at it. Very good, not world class good but very good.
If you putz around with cameras without instruction, without criticism, without education, and without shooting thousands of photos, the odds are you will be a slightly above average photographer the rest of your life.
Autodidact Photographers – Can you learn photography alone?
I love the word autodidact (it means self taught). Are you as good as Jack London, a famous writer who may have been just as good as a photographer? Around 1900 Jack London began taking photographs. Here’s one amazing photograph from Sonoma.edu where Jack London photographed lepers celebrating the 4th of July on the Hawaiian island of Molokai in 1907.
Most of us aren’t Jack London. We need help learning photography.
Three Techniques to becoming a Better Photographer
Take a Photography Class from a Well Qualified Instructor
Take a photography class, but not just any class. Find a school and/or instructor who’s qualified to teach the subject. My friend Paula has been taking photography classes for 20 years or so.
The instructor will be an obvious source of learning for you. But your fellow students will also become a source of criticism and analysis for your photographs. And if you apply yourself in a photography class, your photographic eye will evolve, mature, and advance.
Purchase Photoshop Elements
My friend Paula was a big fan of Photoshop Elements software. She’s moved away from film into digital. Perhaps I’ll have a physical darkroom one day for developing my film. But I definitely want Photoshop Elements for the improvement of my photos, both film and digital.
If you can think of similar or better software to purchase, please leave a comment.
Shoot More Photographs
Paula was showing me her artistic photos and then she paused and said:
Shoot more photographs.
Having beautiful cameras in your basement isn’t enough. Taking photography classes and editing photos with software isn’t enough. Take more photographs.
How do you become a better photographer?
Buying books, cameras, going to photography schools, developing your own film, learning photo editing software, it’s all a good thing.
Ultimately, take more photographs. And think about the quality of your work before, during, and after you take the photo.