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The Ultimate Guide To

Understanding Composition

Learn the Skills You Need
to Create Captivating
Compositions With Our Free Guide.

    59 Tips to Improve Your Photography

    By April 3, 2019 February 5th, 2020 Photography

    Looking for ways to level up your photography? Here are 59 essential tips to help you improve your photography skills.

    1. Be Prolific

    Photography, like any creative work, is a numbers game. Being prolific increases your chances of producing that one piece that strikes a chord with your audience.

    The more you build your body of work the more perspectives you discover.  If you chose to focus on a single or just a few masterpieces, it would only serve to limit your chances of seeing other promising possibilities. Taking a lot of time working on a single composition seldom does the magic.

    Don’t aim for perfection; be prolific instead.

    Resource: 5 Reasons Why You Should Aim to be a Prolific Photographer

    2. Shoot Every Day 

    Regularly producing work builds habits that keep your creative mind in tune. These habits make it effortless for ideas to come. By working constantly, you keep your creativity aroused and your skills cultivated. So, invest some time and shoot every day if you want to stay on top of your game.

    3. Have a Camera With You at All Times

    All photographers want to capture breathtaking moments; moments that no one else will or have ever captured. Interestingly, such moments can unfold anywhere,  anytime, and often when not expected.

    To guarantee that you’ll be able to capture those rare moments, have your camera with you at all times.

    If you can’t have your DSLR camera with you, always ensure that you have your smartphone. You’ll be glad you did when it saves the day and gives you the shot of your life.

    4. Shoot With Your Imagination 

    Girl making a framing a scene with her fingers, sunset

    Photography doesn’t only have to happen when you have a camera in hand; you can continue to practice even when you don’t. That is, by shooting with your imagination.

    Creativity is first and foremost a mental process. By fine-tuning various compositional ideas in your mind, you’ll be able to execute them better. 

    As you go through your day, ask yourself: What are you drawn to? How would you compose the picture of that scene that interests you? What sort of exposure would you find most captivating?

    After this process, pick your camera and give it all a practical shape.

    5. Pay Attention to Your Instincts

    Do you ever get that anxious feeling in your stomach when you’re taking a photo? That is most likely your gut instinct. 

    Our gut is lined with millions of nerve cells that heavily influence our emotions. These neurons pick up psychological stress signals and communicate with our brain whenever we feel something is out of place.

    When composing images, you may want to pay attention to what your gut is telling you. If you have a strong feeling that you need to recompose your image, you probably do.

    Remember that photography is complex. How well you do depends on many variables such as composition, light, and camera settings. A small variation in any of these elements could completely alter the visual story of your image. There is no formula for capturing fleeting moments. It is mostly just the doing of your gut instinct.

    By paying attention to your gut, you can instinctively know when and how to capture the ephemeral.

    These gut signals are typically subtle by nature. But by remaining mindful and responding to what they are telling you, you are likely to improve your photography

    6. Shoot Imperfect Moments

    Waiting is encouraged in photography so you can capture the most desired moment. However, sometimes, you might end up missing a great shot because you’re waiting for the right moment. It helps to have a flexible mindset to capture those “other” moments on the run-up to your perceived perfect moment.

    7. Think About Framing

    Woman in red saree/sari in the Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India

    Photography empowers you to frame the world in the way you want it to be perceived. As a photographer, framing is a tool you can use to show what you view as significant or insignificant.

    One way to do this is to incorporate a frame within your frame. The idea is to find a shape that will outline your subject for directional emphasis. It can be as blatant as shooting through a doorway, or as tactical as using a bright contrasting background to frame your subject. 

    It will generally take some looking around your scene to identify framing ideas for a good photo. However, when done correctly it can dramatically enhance how you tell your visual stories. 

    Resource: 20 Ways to Tell a Story With a Single Image

    8. Arrive Early and Scout Your Location

    It pays to take your time to find the right spots for your images. Finding a good composition often requires a bit of scouting, which you can only do if you arrive at your location early.

    In general, if I am familiar with the area, I like to arrive at least an hour early. However, if I am shooting a location for the first time, I try to arrive much earlier. 

    Always give yourself enough time to set and refine your composition. Ask yourself: Is there a better angle for the shot? Will the subject appear better if you moved two meters to the right or left? Take your time in deciding the composition. Then set your tripod to shoot. 

    9. Shoot Only a Portion of Your Subject

    Horse's legs in the dust

    Create new and unique compositions by including only a portion of your subject in the frame. To do this, crop out a section of your subject or obscure part of it using another object.

    Selectively framing portions of your subject allow you to emphasize features of an image that are otherwise overlooked. In addition, masking parts of your subject compels your viewers to complete your photo using their imagination. Doing so arouses curiosity and interest creating more compelling images.

    So, next time you’re out shooting, ask yourself if your image could be improved by concealing parts of your subject.

    10. Re-compose

    A common approach to photographing a scene is to capture it from the same angle. That is, identify a single composition that you think is good, mount your tripod and stick to it. 

    However, going by this approach can sometimes make you miss out on better angles. Often, when you stay with the same composition, you end up neglecting other compositional opportunities. Once you think you have a good shot of a composition, it’s always a good idea to keep moving. 

    Look behind you. Look to the left and to the right. Recompose; you never know when you’ll find that perfect angle you’re looking for.

    11. Keep Your Compositions Minimal

    Taking a minimalistic approach to composition can result in stunning images. If you look around and study some of the most iconic works, you’ll realize that, often, the simplest pictures tend to be the most intriguing and beautiful.

    Declutter your composition to ensure your subject, even when relatively small, is the primary focus within your frame.

    To keep your compositions minimal, strip down the scene and include only the most essential element(s). Remove anything that doesn’t add value to the composition. Keep only those elements that are inherent in telling your visual story.

    That’s the beautiful aspect of photography; it gives you the power to crop the world into whatever you want it to be.

    Resource: 11 Compositional Mistakes Beginner Photographers Make

    12. Use Negative Space

    Avoid including too many elements in your frame. Less is usually more when it comes to good photography.

    Crowded compositions make it hard for the viewer to see the subject.  Leave enough negative space in the picture and the subject will stand out even if it is small within the frame.

    13. Be Conscious of Backgrounds

    When taking photos, it’s easy to include an off-putting object in your image unintentionally. 

    When you are not paying close attention, unwanted objects such as signs or garbage can slip into your image. Unsightly objects can end up damaging the overall look of an otherwise great photo. 

    Always pay attention to everything you include in your frame.

    14. Use Patterns to Enrich Your Composition

    Patterns evoke a sense of consistency and reliability in a composition.

    It can be utilized to guide the viewer’s eye within a scene. These could be rows of trees, dunes, or flowers of a single color. 

    Alternatively, you can use a pattern to create interesting compositions by disrupting its continuity with an object. This can be any object that contrasts from the characteristics of the pattern such as color, size or texture.

    Identify patterns in your scene and utilize them to achieve unity and rhythm in your images. 

    15.Experiment With Different Formats

    The way you format your image will influence the way your viewers navigate through it. Horizontal images encourage the viewer’s eyes to move from left to right; vertical images encourage them to move up and down. 

    Be sure to take advantage of both formats when composing your images. Choose a format that best represents the visual effect you are trying to convey. 

    Resource: 23 Composition Techniques for Travel Photography

    16. Shoot from a High Vantage Point

    Image of Golden Gate Bridge taken from a helicopter

    Treat your audience to a more privileged point of view by photographing your subject from a high vantage point.

    An elevated point of view detaches your viewer from the world below. It allows them to view a scene in its entirety. Such compositions induce sensations of transcendence, freedom, and domination. 

    17. Shoot From a Low Vantage Point

    Photographing your subject from a low vantage point amplifies its significance. When you shoot your subject from below and let them fill more of the frame you exaggerate their presence in your composition. This type of illusion can enhance the viewer’s admiration for your subject.

    18. Pay Attention to Perspective

    Images are two dimensional. One of the ways to create the illusion of depth in an image is by the use of vanishing points. 

    Imagine standing at the center of a bridge. Picture the two lines on either side converging and vanishing at the horizon. The vanishing lines make you think the bridge goes on longer than your eyes can see. 

    Now think of standing in front of a corner of a building. Imagine the walls on each side slowly diminishing at the horizon. These diminishing walls give the building a more profound sense of depth. 

    These illusions are how perspective can influence our visual perception. The more vanishing points a composition has, the better it will be at emphasizing depth. 

    Use perspective to let the viewer’s eye travel deep in your image. Try to find positions that best draws your subjects’ three-dimensionality. 

    19. Zoom With Your Feet

    Zooming in with your feet creates a different photographic effect than zooming in with your lens. 

    Zooming in with your lens does not affect perspective. When you zoom in with your lens, the relationship between your foreground and background remains unchanged. This effect is similar to cropping your image. 

    By zooming in with your feet, you change the perspective of your image. When you zoom in with your feet, the relationship between your foreground and background changes. 

    If you want to emphasize your background, you should zoom in with your lens. On the other hand, if you want to emphasize your foreground, you should move closer to it. 

    When shooting, experiment with the different ways to zoom in and out from your subject. Depending on the outcome you are trying to achieve, choose accordingly.

    20. Observe the Rule of Thirds

    The Rule of Thirds is one of the most well-known rules of composition. It posits that you should refrain from perfectly centered subjects in your photos. 

    Instead, it suggests placing your subjects at natural focal points to create a more intriguing and well-balanced composition. These focal points occur at intersection points created by dividing your frame into thirds. 

    Imagine applying a tic-tac-toe square over your frame. The result is a grid with nine equally sized rectangles. This process can be done either by using your imagination or using the grid view on your camera. 

    Placing the subject within these focus points has the effect of creating tension and drawing the viewer’s eye into the composition. Observing this rule when composing your images will enable you to create pictures that engage the viewer as desired.

    Resource: 23 Composition Techniques for Travel Photography

    21. Apply the Rule of Space

    According to the rule of space, when photographing subjects in motion, always leave more open space to the direction the subject is facing. 

    Allowing an ample amount of space where the subject is facing can guide your viewer through your image. Humans have a natural tendency to look at the eyes and follow the direction in which they are looking. By leaving enough space in front of your subject, you control the sequence of how the viewer will see the elements in your picture.

    Open space can also create the illusion of motion across your photos’ frame making your photo more engaging.  

    22. Use the Rule of Odds to Your Advantage

    Odd numbers (often the number three) have an inherent discord that is naturally compelling and exciting. 

    The rule of odds posits that groups of three create a sense of harmony, while groups of two or four generate a sense of stiff competition.

    The idea is that even numbers are easily divided into halves. That being so, even-numbered compositions divide the viewer’s attention equally. However, the viewers will not subconsciously divide the odd-numbered composition into equal halves. Therefore, odd numbers make compositions feel more unified than even numbers.

    When composing an image in groups of three be sure to have your subject placed in the middle. The viewers naturally gravitate towards the center first. Placing your subject in that position means your message will get across more readily and effectively.

    23. Find Leading Lines

    Our eyes tend to follow continuous lines and uninterrupted patterns – even without us realizing it. These uninterrupted patterns are referred to in photography as leading lines.

    Leading lines are compositional tools used to guide the viewer’s eye through your image. If you include a river, fence line, steps, or other patterned sequences in your shot, the viewer will instinctively follow this continuous pattern – often beyond the frame itself.

    You can use leading lines to guide the viewer to your focal point. Or you can use leading lines as a visual path to guide your viewers through your image. 

    With this knowledge, be sure to use leading lines as tools for creating compelling and engaging images.

    24. Break the Rules and Create Unique Work

    Sometimes breaking free from any rules is the essence of creativity. It is great to observe all the compositional rules such as leading lines, framing, and the rule of thirds. However, you don’t want to restrict yourself too much and limit how much you flex your creative muscles.

    Too much conformity can make your photos predictable. Every so often, forget to wear that conformity hat and focus on creating great compositions. 

    25. Use a Telephoto Lens 

    Picture of Mountains, Patagonia, Chile

    One of the best ways to create the illusion of grandness is by using a telephoto lens.

    Telephoto lenses make distant objects feel within reach. In this way, using a telephoto lens
    creates a deep sense of intimacy between the viewer and the subject.

    Also, you’ll benefit from the use of telephoto lenses when you’re unable to get physically close to the subject – such as when photographing a distant animal inside their natural habitat.

    26. Experiment with Macro Lenses 

    Expand your photography skills by venturing into the world of macro photography. Macro photography allows you to experiment with the various landscapes and unique textures of tiny objects.

    Macro lenses make it possible to capture your subject(s) up close like no other lens can. These lenses allow you to get extremely close to your subjects while maintaining high levels of sharpness and focus.

    However, macro lenses can be very difficult to use. They exaggerate the smallest changes in depth of field, exposure, and movement; often requiring superb attention to detail to adjust. If you’re up for the challenge, macro lenses will put you to the test and improve your photography skills.

    27. Invest in Wide Angle Lenses

    Picture of Mountains, Patagonia, Chile, Sunset

    Invest in on a wide-angle lens if you want to create images with a wider field of view.

    The examples images on the left and above (#22) were both taken from my last trip in Patagonia. Though both images have the same subjects, they differ in the type of lens I used. 

    For the image on the left, I used a wide-angle lens to emphasize the vastness of the landscape. For the example image on #22, I used a telephoto lens to highlight the enormity of the mountains. These photos demonstrate how different lenses can impact the emotions an image conveys. 

    Most landscape photographers prefer wide-angle lenses because of their ability to capture broader scenes. Also, wide-angle lenses have great deep-depth of field capabilities making them an ideal tool for outdoor photography.  

    When using these lenses, keep in mind that they tend to make distant objects appear smaller. They are great to use if you want to emphasize your foreground or demonstrate a wider view in your frame.

    Resource: 12 Tips on How to Use Wide Angle Lens in Landscape Photography

    28. Try a Fish-Eye Lens

    If your wide-angle lens doesn’t create the effect you are looking for try using a fish-eye lens. These lenses have a curvilinear perspective that creates an enormously wide scene. Fish-eye lenses are often used when wide-angle lenses are not enough. 

    Be aware that fish-eye lenses exaggerate distortions in your images. Many photographers use these distortions as a creative tool. You can create leading lines through these distortions to help guide your viewers through your image.

    Use fish-eye lenses when you want to create extraordinarily wide images or distorted visual perception. 

    29. Use Slow Shutter Speeds to Create Blur

    Switching to a slower shutter speed can create beautiful colors and textures by recording your subject’s motion.

    Longer shutter speeds allow the sensor to capture the movements of your subject at different points in time. The result is a blurred photograph with soft, painterly like textures. 

    Slower shutter speeds are a great way to convey a sense of time by capturing the movements of your subject(s).

    30. Use Fast Shutter Speeds to Freeze Motion

    Beautiful white horses running on the water, Parc Regional de Camargue

    Fast shutter speeds freeze motion by capturing precise details.

    They are commonly used in sports and animal photography to capture motion with pristine detail.

    Fast shutter speeds immobilize the subject, often revealing narratives that are otherwise impossible to observe. 

    Whether you want to freeze moving subjects or create sharp images, fast shutter speeds are your friend.

    31. Isolate Subjects With Shallow Depth of Fields

    Shallow depths of field are created by using a wide aperture (small f-numbers). Wider apertures centralize the area of focus in an image while leaving the rest soft and blurry. 

    Using a shallow depth of field is a great way to highlight the significance of your subject and eliminate distractions in the background of your composition. 

    32. Deepen Your Depth of Field for Detail

    If you wish to keep everything within the scene in sharp focus, adjust your camera’s lens to narrow apertures (large f-number). Narrow apertures create images with deep depth and substantial detail. 

    Keep in mind that a small aperture means you are allowing less light into your camera. Thus, it may be necessary to increase your ISO to adjust the exposure of your image under these conditions.

    33. Overexpose for Dramatic Beauty

    Image of Snow Falling

    Slightly overexpose your image to reveal details missed in properly exposed images. Or, overexpose your image to the extent that much of the visual information is lost. Overexposing this way can draw the viewer into your image as they mentally construct the missing details.

    Another approach is to place a properly exposed subject against an overexposed background for a visually stunning outcome.

    34. Underexpose for an Evocative Mood

    While an underexposed image may sound wrong, you can use it to make compellingly beautiful images. 

    Some of the most stunning images I’ve ever seen are underexposed. Most of these images are dark enough to where some aspects of the image are difficult to make out. These pictures tend to be very moody and evocative.

    35. Understand Light

    Every photo begins with light; as photographers, it is essential for us to understand it. 

    Is the sun right overhead? That would mean it will cast hard shadows and highlights on your subject. Is the sun low on the horizon? That would mean the light is warm and pleasing. 

    In addition to studying natural light, consider experimenting with artificial light. Artificial lighting can be an excellent source of inspiration. For instance, the beautiful city lights at night can make it worthwhile to shoot way after the sun has set. 

    As long as you see the light and understand how it impacts your subject, you can decide the outcome you want and control the results.

    36. Be Patient With Light

    Sometimes you’ll have to wait for several minutes if not hours for your subject to be properly illuminated. However, in most cases, you’ll be glad you did.

    Study your subject under different lighting. Notice how the light changes your subject visually. Watch your subject under warm and cool light. Does it look more pleasing during the golden hour, the blue hour or mid-day? 

    Have the patience to wait for the right illumination to create the effect you’re looking for. 

    38. Learn About Color Value 

    Image of Color Wheel

    Value refers to relative brightness. Every color has its own value (its own brightness relative to other colors). 

    A contrast of value is what creates the illusion of depth. Objects that are close in value will look flat- no matter it’s color, shape, or texture. 

    If you study the color wheel, you’ll notice that many colors (hues) have similar values. If you pay attention to colors instead of values, you may end up with a photo that in theory should have plenty of contrast but doesn’t in reality.

    The different color and tonal values in an image are what creates compelling stories and remarkable photographs.

    Resource: A Landscape Photographer’s Guide to Color Theory

    38. Make Use of Backlighting

    Picture of Backlit Forest, Moody

    Backlighting is light from behind a subject. It is something that is infrequently used by most photographers.

    However, backlighting can infuse drama in your image by separating your subject from the background through the use of highlights. Framing your subject this way can be influential in accentuating your subject’s shape and form.

    Resource: How to Take Stunning Images With Backlighting

    39. Use Silhouettes to Create Drama

    Silhouettes are incredibly effective at creating beautiful images. They succeed at expressing certain strong moods and emotions including drama and mystery. Pictures that include a silhouette won’t usually have clear details but are perfect in engaging the viewer’s imagination.

    Resource: 17 Tips on How to Photograph Stunning Silhouettes

    40. Wake Up Early and Shoot at Sunrise

    Moments tend to look magical when the sun is low on the horizon. The light at this time has a golden tint that can transform sceneries from dull to phenomenal.

    This kind of light happens twice a day–sunrise and sunset. However, most photographers only take advantage of the latter. By waking up to shoot for sunrise, you double your chances of creating unique images.

    To quote Galen Rowell: “You only get one sunrise and one sunset a day… a  good photographer does the math and doesn’t waste either.”

    As a landscape photographer, I love waking up early to catch the morning sun. Besides its golden hues, I enjoy the silent atmosphere at this time. 

    Shooting in the morning has yet another bonus to it. The atmosphere of misty mornings can heighten the illusion of depth in an image. As subjects fade into the distance, your pictures will seem more profound than it does in reality.

    41. Shoot on Overcast Days

    Image of Candyland, , USA shot on an overcast day

    Take advantage of the mood created by the soft and diffused light on overcast days.  Often, the evenness of light during this time makes setting exposure straightforward. This type of lighting usually works great in portrait photography.

    Also, you’ll never know when the light will poke through the clouds to create stunning photographic opportunities.

    Resource: 5 Ways to Take Beautiful Landscape Photos in Overcast Weather

    42. Take a Bold Step and Shoot During Mid-day

    Midday is characterized by harsh light. This type of light often results in extreme contrast with bright highlights and hard shadows.

    While photographers generally shy away from shooting in this kind of light, consider taking the opposite direction and face the midday sun with your camera. You might be surprised just how many opportunities for visual storytelling await you under the midday sun.

    43. Shoot in Twilight for Evocative Photos

    Photos shot right before or after the sun has sunk below the horizon can be breathtaking. The sun’s dying rays create a soft glow with haunting qualities. Shoot in this unique atmosphere and create visually compelling stories.

    44. Go Out at Night and Shoot the City Lights

    The city’s electrifying ambiance at night can be excellent for photography. The bright street lamps, glowing neon lights, and car headlights all work to make places that seem lifeless during the day come alive at night.

    Night photography is also excellent if you want to create intriguing images that lack details. Details lost in the faint night light can awaken your viewer’s imagination as they fill in the missing parts of your image. 

    So go out and start shooting – the opportunities are limitless.

    45. Shoot Outdoors with Artificial Lighting

    Outdoor photography is largely about using natural light. However, it doesn’t hurt to bring artificial light to a location and illuminate your subject with it. Using artificial light will allow you to be creative with the lighting conditions in your composition and achieve various effects.

    46. Learn Manual Mode to Take Control of Exposure

    Today’s DSLR cameras have a lot of automation aimed to make your work faster and easier. However, at times, the auto modes may give you settings that are not in sync with the results you want.

    For instance, you may want to override your camera’s light meter because it is reading the scene wrong. Or, you may not want to follow your cameras suggestions out of some personal aesthetic choice. In either case, your knowledge of the camera’s manual mode will come handy. By understanding how to operate in manual mode, you can underexpose or overexpose your image and create the outcome you want.

    47. Make the Most of Your Camera’s Creative Modes

    Creative modes such as Shutter Priority (S) and Aperture Priority (A) automate the camera’s exposure settings and help simplify or speed up your work. Mastering how best to use these modes can significantly improve your photography.

    There are instances when using manual mode will only slow you down and make you lose the shot. An example is when photographing volatile compositions such as animals or where light constantly changes. In such cases, it helps to let the camera choose the settings for you so you can focus on getting the shots.

    Resource: How to Use Your Camera: Understanding Camera Modes

    48. Use Color to Tell Different Stories of the Same Scene

    The sunlight creates different tones and moods as it moves across the sky. Throughout the day, the color palette of our surroundings can vary, from cool blues to warm reds.

    Use this to your advantage. Photograph at different times of the day and let the ambient light smear your subject with its tint. 

    Take photos during mid-day for a fresher mood or at sunset for a warmer glow. Whatever you choose, remember that saturated colors are dominant and can readily grab the viewer’s attention. To create a more serene and meditative feel, go for muted hues on your image.

    Resource: A Landscape Photographer’s Guide to Color Theory

    49. Get in the Habit of Post Processing Your Photos

    Most professional photographers love to shoot RAW because it creates room for manipulating an image without losing its integrity.

    If you have seen an amazing work that caught your attention, chances are they are the result of good post-processing work and not just skillful shooting.

    Equally, learning how to use processing software,  such as Photoshop, can help you make a range of adjustments in saturation, contrast, and brightness in your photograph.

    50. Read Photography Books to Improve Your Knowledge

    There is a great deal of knowledge to learn throughout your creative journey as a photographer. Having the best gear alone is never enough. 

    Take the time to read photography books. Take a look at the works of other industry gurus and see what they’re doing differently. Find ways in which you can incorporate some of that knowledge in your work. You’ll be impressed at how much education can impact your creativity.

    51. Read Your Camera’s Manual

    More often than not, whether you are a new or old camera owner,  there are settings in your camera that you have yet to learn.

    There are usually small details about your gear that you can only learn when you read through the manual. Read the manual to learn the ropes on using your equipment; then you’ll be confident that you’re making the most of it.

    52. Study Bodies of Photography Work 

    Other than reading photography (guide) books to learn photography, it helps to acquaint yourself with the works of celebrated photographers to deepen your knowledge of the field. Study how these photographers approached their works and why they were successful.

    There is plenty to learn from the lives of other artists. No photograph is made in vacuity. There are always cultural backgrounds influencing them. An excellent way to understand pictures is to examine photographers and the settings in which they worked.

    One way to get yourself started is to read books about the history of photography. Learn about photographers and their work even if they are not directly related to your line of photography. The idea is to get a broader sense of the journey that photography has taken. 

    Look at collections of images and study them in-depth. Study both the photographers successful and unsuccessful images. Looking at bodies of work will reveal nuances that are easily missed by simply looking at individual images. By understanding the deeper contexts behind various works of photography, you can get fresher perspectives to incorporate into your work. 

    53. Find a Muse

    Picture of Hawaii, USA, Sunset

    Your muse is your source of inspiration. Every work of art requires one. For a photographer, this could be anything from a book, a mentor, a piece of music, or a place.

    For me, this is Oahu. It’s my go-to place whenever I need to revitalize creativity into my work.

    Your muse doesn’t have to be one specific thing or person; you could have various muses over time. A good muse will teach, inspire and challenge you from time to time. They will shape not just your career but your life in general.

    When you find a good muse, you get a powerful force that drives you to get better at what you do. 

    54. Join a Photographic Community

    Being part of a group of fellow photographers can be a great way to learn. It’s also a great way to receive informed feedback on your work. Having new friends to photograph with can go a long way in honing your skills as a photographer and improving your work. 

    55. Return to the Same Scenes

    In photography, once is rarely enough. 

    Perfect conditions rarely happen the first time you go out to shoot. Therefore, it’s a good idea to go back to a location several times. This almost always yields better pictures.

    This can also be advantageous in case you miss certain angles the first time around. Returning to the location once or twice gives you a chance to find compositional opportunities that you might have missed the first time. 

    56. Learn how to Hold the Camera Properly

    How you hold your camera can determine the quality of your shots. To have control of your DSLR camera, cup your left hand underneath the lens for support, while gripping the camera body with your right hand before hitting the shutter button. You may also tuck your left elbow into the side of your body for even more stability.

    Of course, this won’t be necessary when you’re using a tripod. But always remember this position whenever a tripod is not in the cards. It will help prevent camera shake and ensure your images have the desired crispness.

    57. Use Reference Items to Demonstrate Scale

    Girl Standing Inside a Canyon with Camera and Tripod

    Have you ever come across a landscape so grand but when you take the photo you don’t do it justice? You want to capture not only what you see but what you feel. Every photo you take ends up looking like a watered-down version of what you saw.

    One of the ways you can fix this is by learning how to use reference items to show scale. A reference item can be anything from a person, wildlife or structures. This item is what your viewers will refer to understand the actual scale of the subject matter you are photographing.

    Whatever way reference item you choose to go with, ensure it is something that benefits your intended story.

    58. Print your Photos

    The way we see light off a piece of paper is different from the way we see it off a digital screen. While the latter may play tricks on the viewer, a printed image will reveal details that are easily missed on a computer display or smartphone.

    Unlike photos on digital screens, a large-sized print of a photo will provide room for you to notice details that you typically miss on the small screens. In this way, printing your photos can help pull you out of your comfort zone and encourage you to get better.

    Having your image printed can also give you a confidence boost. Seeing your photos hanging on your wall can be a great source of motivation. Seeing your printed images can help push you to go out and explore a new way of capturing moments.

    In addition, printing your photos can give you a better understanding of your photo shooting style. Having self-awareness can help you improve by showing you your strengths and weaknesses in photography. 

    Go out and have your photos printed. See what it does for you. If you do, make sure the print is big. It is usually larger prints that have a substantial impact.

    59. Meditate

    The mind is most creative when it is quiet, and the body is relaxed. In this state, your mind is naturally receptive to the creative stimulus it receives from its surroundings.

    Just like any artist, photographers need to go through the creative process with an open mind. Let your mind graduate from the state of not-knowing, towards knowing. Keep your mind inquisitive about possible outcomes and prepare to try them out.

    Lack of self-esteem is often caused by invasive negative thoughts in our heads. This causes us to be fearful and uncertain. When we are fearful, we tend to be unwilling to try new ideas and block our creativity.

    Similarly, excess self-absorption limits our willingness to accept new ways of doing things. We become unwilling to observe and respond to new ideas around us.  

    Emptiness puts you in an ideal state of receptiveness. You’re able to perceive what is needed and are willing to respond in the direction required. You’re predisposed to take calculated risks and experiment with the unfamiliar.

    You are strategically positioned in the open space between what you know and what you can learn. In this manner, emptiness is the perfect state that drives you past the suppressive inner dialogue and rigid attitudes associated with too much egoism and low opinion of self.

     

    About The Author

    Photographer. Explorer. Story Teller. For the past 5 years, I’ve voyaged across the world seeking the next great photograph. If you’re anything like me, you love to travel, capture beautiful moments, and live life to the fullest.