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5 Insanely Simple Tips for Instantly Becoming a Better Photographer

5 Insanely Simple Tips for Instantly Becoming a Better Photographer

Photography is an art form that takes decades to perfect. While you can’t expect to transition from amateur to seasoned professional within a few weeks, you can hack your way to the top by heeding the advice of others and perfecting some of the following five tips and techniques.

1. Shoot at Golden Hour

As you know, there are certain times of day when natural light is more conducive to high quality photography. While people will argue over which time is best, most would agree that the hour before sunset and the hour after sunrise are the best. This is often referred to as the “Golden Hour.”

“Just before sunset the sun is very low in the sky. This produces more directional light because of the low angle,” says photographer Lauren Lim. “Basically, it adds more dimension to the scene! Shadows are longer (and softer) than during the day, and things just look more interesting and dynamic.”

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Whenever possible, shoot during the Golden Hour and play around with front lighting, backlighting, and different angles. Each setup will produce very unique results.

2. Use Shadows to Your Advantage

Whether you’re shooting during Golden Hour or in the middle of the day, shadows can always be used to your advantage. Make sure you’re paying attention to your environment to ensure you’re making the most of these details.

“Shadow plays an important role in creating drama in your portraits,” says Waseem Abbas of Envira Gallery. “Whether you shoot in sunlight or artificial light, you can use shadows to maximize the volume in results of your photography.”

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Before shooting, look around and take note of where the light source is located and how it’s hitting various objects in the room. Based on this information, move around and take some shots at different angles. Review the results and proceed to work with the best ones.

3. Obey the Rule of Thirds

Are you familiar with the Rule of Thirds? This rule is one of the fundamental principles of proper photographic composition and requires the photographer to look through the lens and divide the scene into three rows and three columns.

When taking a picture, the photographer is supposed to frame the subject of the photo along one of the intersection points. This satisfies the theory that the human eye naturally gravitates towards these spots (rather than the very center of the image).

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4. Shoot With a Roll of Film

While digital cameras are great, they can also be a crutch. In extreme cases, amateur photographers can greatly stunt their growth by learning on a digital camera. The solution? Try shooting with a roll of film every now and then.

When shooting with a roll of film, you typically only get 24 or 36 exposures. This forces you to slow down and think about every shot you take. As a result you’re more conscious of what you’re photographing, how you’re composing the shot, and the purpose of the shot. Over time this will teach you to be a better photographer.

5. Buy Used Equipment

Photography is certainly a creative pursuit that requires talent and experience, but there’s also something to be said for having the right equipment. Sometimes upgrading from outdated equipment to newer alternatives can be enough to transform your results.

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The issue is that any new equipment is going to be expensive, so here’s a tip: buy used! You can find photography equipment, supplies, and accessories online, in consignment shops, and even at garage sales. Keep an eye out and snag these affordable buys.

Become a Pro Today

Not everyone can become a talented professional photographer but you won’t know until you try! Work on improving your skill set day by day and you’ll quickly enjoy the benefits of your progress.

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Anna Johansson

Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends.

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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