improving your photography

Photography is a great way to express yourself – it is fun, it is interesting and it’s accessible to almost every each of us. If you haven’t tried to take some more interesting photos than just your meal for your Instagram, you really should. Maybe photography will become your hobby. And if it has already become your hobby, you probably are wondering how to become better at it and take better photos. You can find a lot of information about the technical side of photography on the Internet, but today I want to point out some ways to change your thinking in order to improve your photography skills.

stop looking for poses

Your photos don’t have to be nicely posed. Yes, you can create amazing pictures in a studio with a professional lighting set-up and a professional model, but you are a beginner and you don’t have the access to these things. Instead of trying to force your friends to pose like the professionals, catch the moments. Take photos of your friends when they are not looking, when they are really into something – listening to music with their eyes closed, laughing or looking through the window in deep thoughts. Catch the strangers on the street when they are hurrying somewhere or enjoying their coffee (just make sure that if you post their photos on the Internet you do it with their permission).

a not posed photo. paris, france

use what you have

If you have just entered the world of photography you might get overwhelmed by the huge amount of different lenses, cameras and accessories. It’s amazing how far the technology has come – there are lenses which are capable of capturing the smallest insects and snowflakes or very fast moving subjects, like car sports. Before you get excited and start saving your money for something new, cool and expensive, I want to tell you that it’s never going to be enough. After you buy that wide angle lens you’ll start to dream about a telephoto lens and so on. Technology is improving very fast, but photography is not about the newest technology. It’s about the story and emotion. So, use what you already have – the old mom’s camera, a cheap camera that you bought a few years ago, or even your phone. You can take some really good photos with your phone. People even make short films with phones and get accepted into festivals, because it’s not about the gear, it’s about the story. And if you still can’t get over that grain effect, start looking at it from a different perspective – the grain can become your style.

the grain creates a specific mood.
a photo taken with a phone.

get a film camera

If you still really want to get some new gear I recommend a film camera instead of a fancy lens. A film camera is way cheaper than a new lens and you might even find it for free – in your attic or in a garage sale. It won’t have the technological miracles of a new lens but it will for sure change the way you look at photography. A limited number of shots on a film roll (24 or 36) will make you value your shots more. You will start to think about what you’re shooting and what you’re trying to capture. You’ll get rid of the habit of getting twenty almost identical photos and still not having captured anything good enough. You’ll start to think “Which position is the best for this photo, how close should I get to the subject to make the shot really worth to be on the film”. Believe me, your photography will soon improve. Also, film photography is a very exciting process – the camera itself is different from what we’re used to and it’s interesting to finally get to see the photos after they’re scanned in the photo studio.

The best places to look for a cheap film camera are markets and garage sales, also you can get some really good ones from ebay. However, the new ones like Leica, Lomo or Nikon are as expensive as some of the new digital cameras, so I wouldn’t recommend buying a new film camera.

boats on film. crete, greece
nature on film. crete, greece
the airport on film. crete, greece

Remember, art is never about the technology, it’s about expressing an emotion, sending an idea to the world and it doesn’t matter at all what kind of gear you are using to create that message.

If you want to check out some of my photography you can find it on my Instagram.

Maybe you know some different ways to improve the photography skills as a beginner? Comment below.

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