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10 Powerful Tips To Become A Better Photographer

10 Powerful Tips To Become A Better Photographer

Andy Warhol once said, “The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people and things in it do.” And so we capture those images because we then have a memory forever.

For some of us, with the latest technology, photos taken on our iPhones or tablets are enough, because we simply want to keep images of our friends and family or vacations spots – quality is not a big factor.

If, however, you are one of a growing number who have decided to do more with photography, the first steps involve studying composition and experimenting a bit. Here are 10 simple, yet powerful, tips to get you in the groove of taking better shots!

1. Don’t worry about acquiring expensive gear; focus on the learning first.

You need to read, study great photographs and experiment with various techniques that professional photographers talk about. One of the keys to better composition is to avoid putting the primary focus of your picture in the center.

On most digital and iPhone cameras, you will find 2 parallel horizontal lines and 2 vertical parallel lines. They divide the picture into 9 segments.

When you focus your camera on the primary image, don’t put it in the center – move it into one of the other segments. This simple technique will let you frame more intriguing captures.

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 2. Shoot during the Golden Hour

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    Professional photographers claim that many of their best pictures of scenes, from urban to rural, beaches to deserts, are taken shortly after dawn and just before sunset.

    The lighting is the key in this technique. At these times, streams of light do amazing things to buildings, fields, trees, water-scapes, and mountains. Catch those streams with the amazing hues of the sky in the background to get impressive pictures even with simple composition.

     3. Use ugly things as subjects

    Diane Arbus, whose life was cut tragically short, managed to become a top photography artist. Though much of her income came from photo shoots for magazines, she was always drawn to the “ugly” side of life for her personal photographic gratification.

    Try Diane’s idea and learn to shoot aesthetically unappealing objects like a bunch of dirty plastic cups, litter etc. If you learn how to make even those things look pretty on pictures, you can make anything look beautiful!

     4. Deliberately limit yourself

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      When you restrict your gear, you restrict your ability to add lots of variety. Suppose that you left your camera and all of your lenses at home and used only your iPhone.

      This would force you to be far more careful about your composition and angle. Suppose you limited yourself just to city buildings for a week? Or how about a limitation that you can only shoot children on a playground? How would that change your technique and your composition?

      These kinds of restrictions force you to look for the unique shots, and that is a skill that will transfer over when you are not limited.

       5. Take an art class

      Whether its drawing, watercolors, or oils, you need to learn perspective, shading, contrasts, and actually put yourself into a still life, a landscape, or a city street.

      Through such a class, you will come to understand the importance of composition and that will transfer over to your photography. Your technique can be great, but it’s the composition that makes certain pictures magnetizing!

       6. Use a traditional film camera

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        When you are limited to one film with a set number of shots, you will learn to become far more selective. You’ll take time to study your subjects more carefully and will shoot from distances and angles that make sense to you. Forcing yourself to “budget” your shots will increase your sense of discernment.

        7. Study the work of other photographers

        Don’t limit yourself to one venue of photography, but instead make it a goal to “spend time” with a variety of artists – those who photograph only in black and white, who shoot only urban life or pastoral scenes, those who are war photographers and those who shoot single, simple images.

        You can learn from them all. Study the famous black and white photo of the small Vietnamese child covered with napalm and contrast it with a color photo of a woman holding her newborn for the first time. What are the messages in these two shots? What technique is used? What makes them both so alluring?

         8. Move your own positions as you shoot

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          Don’t photograph everything at eye level. Bend to the side, get on a step stool, and lie down on the ground. These are especially great techniques when capturing people or pets from various angles.

          If you have a dog, and that dog is on your couch, don’t shoot down at it – get below your pet and shoot upwards. A Christmas tree, shot from the floor up, looks way more amazing!

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          9. Experiment with new techniques

          You have probably seen hundreds of photographs that are deliberately blurry or that blur out backgrounds or foregrounds. It’s called bokeh and it is a highly effective style when a photographer wants to focus on a single image.

          If, for example, you are shooting a bride and groom outside by a tree, you want to focus on them and the tree. The rest of the landscape should be blurred. If, on the other hand, you want to shoot the Eiffel Tower from a distance, you will want to blur out the foreground, so that your subject becomes the focal point.

          10. Don’t be quick to delete photos you may not like right now

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            You may have taken pictures while experimenting that you really think were “fails.” Here’s the thing about that. As you grow in your mastery, you may re-think some of those images; you may decide that part of a photograph is absolutely screaming at you; you can use technology to alter the picture and end up with a stunning photo after all.

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            Elena Prokopets

            Elena is a passionate blogger who shares about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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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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