A Guaranteed Method for Improving Your Photography – Part 1

by Tasra Dawson*

That’s right. Guaranteed improvement.

How often do you actually hear that when it comes to something artistic or creative? Not very often, but I can tell you right now that if you will simply do three small steps every day, your photography will improve more than you ever imagined possible.

Want to learn the secret? Of course you do. Today, you’ll get step 1. Get that started and next week I’ll be back with the second step (or get all three steps now, if you can’t wait.).

Step 1 for Improving Your Photography: Take a picture every day.
You didn’t really think it was a magic formula, did you? I’ve got it on good authority… master photographers who have been in the business for over three decades. The secret is in your mindset when you’re taking your photo of the day. You can’t just turn on the camera, click and shut down. Some days will definitely be like that, but generally you should do three things to complete the task of a daily photo…

  1. Carry you camera with you everywhere. Your camera phone isn’t your primary camera, so don’t play it safe and tell me you’ve always got that one with you. Step out and start carrying your regular camera with you. Most cameras fit in a purse or diaper bag if you don’t want to carry a separate camera bag. You’ll miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. It’s an opportunity, not an obligation.
  2. Begin to see differently. Once you decide that you will find an image every day, you start to see your world differently. It never fails. If you want to get scientific, it’s the RAS (reticular activating system) helping you out because you’ve identified something for it to locate. On a more personal level, I have talked to dozens of photographers who swear that they are seeing the world around them in an entirely new light just from this one small step of taking a picture every day. If you knew you could transform your vision that easily, wouldn’t you jump at the chance?
  3. Get off automatic. Whether in life or photography, when we live on automatic, we miss out. If you’re still on auto with your camera, consider moving to Program mode or even one of the other modes. Try it out… it doesn’t hurt to take a bad photo. You can always go back to auto. One lesson I learned from a master photographer is that you didn’t do anything wrong if your first few images aren’t “right.” Maybe they need more or less light, it’s okay, take the image, then adjust. When you take a photo every day, you’ll begin to experiment more and start to trust yourself and your camera.

So what do you think? Are you ready to tackle this? I know you can do it. If you can brush your teeth every day, you can get that camera and click the shutter release once a day. Try it out for one week. I’ll be back next week with Step 2 for guaranteed improvement in your images!

Tasra Dawson is a photographer and founder of Teen Identity Portraits & Magazine, committed to unleashing the true beauty in every teen girl. She offers daily photography tips, inspiration, and creativity at tasramar.com.



Email Author    |    Website About Tasra Dawson*

Tasra Dawson is a photographer and founder of Teen Identity Portraits & Magazine, committed to unleashing the true beauty in every teen girl. She offers daily photography tips, inspiration, and creativity at tasramar.com. Connect on Twitter or Facebook.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Stephanie May 31, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Talking A LOT of photos is one of the very best ways to end up with GREAT photographs. I am convinced of that. If I take hundreds, I’m bound to end up with at least a few spectacular ones.

Also – our camera is too big for my purse (we have a Nikon D90) so we’re considering getting a smaller point-and-shoot for when we’re out and about. :)

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2 Janice May 31, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Yes – I agree! I take hundreds when I am shooting. BUT I am terrible about taking my camera everywhere because mine is so big too. I have a Canon 50D. But I never like my shots from a point and shoot so I rarely bother with taking one.

How are you loving the Nikon D90? That is a great camera. If I weren’t so loyal to Canon, I would have considered goign with that one when my 40D was stolen.

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3 Trudy May 31, 2010 at 7:58 pm

I love my point and shoot. I think it takes great photos. I carry it in my purse and never worry about missing something. I got to take pics of a Bald Eagle in a tree not too long ago. Wonderful!

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4 Anne June 1, 2010 at 11:43 am

Great post! You’re absolutely right about carrying your camera everywhere – this is a must-do in order to get better. When I have my camera slung over my shoulder, I automatically find myself in a more artistic mindset. I see my surroundings in a more interesting way, I look for and find great light and find myself in great photo settings.

With digital media and not having to pay for film processing, there is simply no excuse for not taking pictures every day! :)

Cheers,
Anne

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5 Kristie June 1, 2010 at 4:41 pm

I am bad about taking my camera with me because of size too! I have a Nikon D70. And yes, I really need to get that thing off auto, but I haven’t taken the time to learn how to do it any other way.

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6 Melissa P. June 2, 2010 at 12:20 pm

I definitely agree. Taking your camera with you everywhere is a must. You just never know what the day will bring. I just recently purchased the Nikon D5000 and will never go back to a point and shoot. lol. : )

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