Are you stuck somewhere in class B wondering what the heck will bring you to class A? I remember joining PSRI over ten years ago, going to my first meeting, which happened to be a competition night, and being blown away by the images on the screen. Later, when I returned home and perused my images, I realized that they sucked big time! But did I stop photographing? Did I give up on competing? No, instead I began to think about what would improve my digital images, not overnight, but a long-term gradual improvement. I implemented a plan for this improvement and proceeded to carry it out…some of my ideas may be beneficial to you..here are some recommendations for actions (feel free to ignore any if they don’t work for you):
- Know what genre of photography you love: portrait, macro, sport, landscape, nature, etc. If you are not certain, look online at images and in magazines to determine which images move you emotionally and use that as a starting point…you will not improve unless you specialize.
- Locate all the books you can to read about composition and the style of photography you like…if you don’t know how to use aperture, ISO, and shutter speed creatively, forget improving. Learn to use Lightroom and Photoshop..if you can’t edit your images, what good are they? Straight from the camera is not an option in digital photography.
- Find photographers you admire and emulate their style, then branch out on your own. The world’s greatest painters have done this for centuries.
- Enter online critiques and competitions to get feedback.
- Buy the camera and lenses best suited to your style of shooting..these are your tools-you are the artist responsible for the quality of your images.
- Take workshops pertaining to your specialty…they are intensive and you will have help from a professional.
- and most important: photograph as often as you can..every failure will educate you.
- Never give up on yourself..always do your best.
As an example of one of my many failures, here is an image that I thought was very good ten years ago..I probably thought it was art.
It’s a toilet near a shed.