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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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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