In today’s world we are constantly surrounded by images. But some are far better than others. And wouldn’t it be great to feel more confident about your photography skills and be able to create some really stunning shots. But if you do feel inspired to improve your photography skills, where is the best place to start?
In this article we take a look at five ways to improve your photography skills in 2023.
Know your camera
There’s that old saying about a bad worker always blaming their tools. And, just as true is the concept that if you want to get the very best from your tools – in this case your camera – you need to know it very well indeed. It is little use just trying out features for the first time when you are actually trying to capture an amazing shot. Like anything else, you need to practise well beforehand so that you can get it right when it matters.
So spend time looking through your camera manual to understand what features are there and how to use them. Learn what each button does and why, and familiarise yourself with all the settings and . This will enable you to react quickly to good photographic opportunities and be able to capture the perfect shot.
Anticipate and compose your shot
Another key way to improve your photography skills is to anticipate and compose your shot. Yes there will be times when you just get lucky and manage to snap something unexpected. But most great shots are planned. You need to make sure that you are in the right place at the right time to get that all-important shot you want.
Wherever possible, it pays dividends to use a tripod for your shot. This enables you to keep your camera completely still, and avoid even the slightest bit of handshake. Using a tripod can also help you to take the time to compose your shot and decide what you want the finished result to be.
When composing your shot, be aware of the “Rule of Thirds” which can help you to balance the main subject of your shot with the background and white space around it. You can read more about the Rule of Thirds in our guide How to learn about photography.
Also be creative about your own positioning and the angles of your photographs. Sometimes you can get a much more interesting photograph if you shoot from either low down or high up rather than straight on. So feel free to experiment to see what works best to achieve the kind of shots you are looking for.
Make the best use of light
Light is one of the most essential success factors if you want to improve your photography skills. It really can make or break a photo. Our guide How to learn about photography explains how to use your camera settings to get the right amount of light coming into the lens – a process known as the exposure triangle.
Three additional tips to make the best use of light are:
- Shoot at the best time of day. The best times for most photography are just before and after sunrise and sunset. The quality and depth of natural light at these times of the day are wonderful and will enhance your photographs incredibly well.
- Use additional lighting where needed. If you can’t get enough natural light then use either photographic lighting or flash to brighten the shot. In fact, additional lighting can be particularly beneficial to both landscape and sports photography, enabling you to capture a very clear shot.
- Add filters to get the effect you want. Check out our last article Filter this! What do camera lens filters do and which are the best to use? for more information about the most common camera filters and what they do.
Focus on your focus
Another key way to improve your photography skills is to perfect your focus. Having the confidence that you will get your focus right every time will elevate your photography to a much higher level. When you are composing a shot, you need to decide what you want to be the main element of that shot and then ensure that the focus is completely right for that part of your photograph.
Easier said than done! But here are a few tips that will help.
- Set your camera to autofocus mode. This will enable you to get the focus right most of the time, without having to think about it. You should also be able to set an individual point of focus to ensure the best focus for your main subject.
- Also ensure you understand the different manual focus settings on your camera so that you can also work with these when you choose. Some are better for still subjects, some for fast-moving subjects. The better you know your settings, the more able you will be to make a quick decision about which to use to capture the shot that you want.
- Make sure your shutter speed is fast enough for the effect that you want. If your shutter speed is too low, your shot is likely to be blurred.
Dare to be different
All the above tips are important, but one of the key ways to improve your photography skills and stand out from the crowd is to develop your own photography style. Of course, you need to have all the technical skills in place to have the confidence to do this. But then start taking photographs that capture your vision and reflect your personality. Don’t fall into the trap of taking the same kind of photographs that everyone else does. Start experimenting with different compositions, lighting, and focus to find the kind of photography that you are really good at and enjoy doing.
We hope that this guide has helped point you in the right direction as to how to improve your photography skills in 2023 and that you are delighted with the results.