We’ve got Part 1 and Part 2 under our belts, now it’s time to tackle the third step in guaranteed improvement in your photography. According to my inspiration for this entire challenge, that improvement could be as much as 300% in one year.
As your kids or grandkids head off for back to school, why not send yourself back to school and take on the 365 photography challenge. You will be absolutely amazed at the results.
Step 1: Take a picture every day.
Step 2: Read your camera manual.
Step 3: Study other photographers images.
Many aspiring photographers have a love/hate relationship with looking at other photographers images, especially professionals. It can be inspiring, daunting and discouraging at the same time. With all of the photo sharing sites, it makes it pretty hard not to see other photographers images, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.
If you really want to see your images improve, start studying some of the photography greats past and present. Whether it’s Richard Avedon, Ansel Adams, Annie Liebovitz, Irving Penn, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, or George Hurrell, not only will your photo vocabulary increase, but your images will benefit too.
Begin to dissect their images. Look at the light in their image, the quality and quantity, the direction and amount. Look at the composition and framing. What story are they trying to tell with their image? When you can answer those questions, it will broaden your own understanding of the language masters use when painting with light.
There’s nothing wrong with looking at current photographers either. My current favorite is David duChemin, humanitarian photographer and author of VisionMongers. He recently held a workshop about Vision Driven Photography and I was honored as one of six photographers who got to attend. If you haven’t seen his work or read his books, they will inspire and motivate you to find and develop your photographic vision.
One thing to strongly avoid is comparison. Your vision, your skill, your work is going to be different and should be different than those you review. Don’t compare, just learn, improve, and have fun!