View Full Version : How do you "get better" at photography?
18th of February 2012 (Sat), 23:50
What a subjective question right? I've had people tell me my photos are great, professional. I've also had people tell me to never pick up a camera again.
I've read hours upon hours about exposure and composition, and went out to practice whenever I can... it seems my creativity in photos have plateaued and I don't know what to do. Buy a new lens, editing software? That seems hardly practical.
What does POTN think? I want to become a photojournalist, but how do I separate myself from the competition?
19th of February 2012 (Sun), 00:00
Getting off your ass, shooting a lot, and living an interesting life, are some things which will make you a better photographer.
To be more interesting, you have a lot of choices: Go places, meet people, get out of your comfort zone, learn a new skill, read a book, volunteer at a non-profit, go to your city's organized events and meet-ups, buy a plane ticket to Timbuktu.
There's only so much that technical practice can bring you - although you do need a solid, solid base to jump off off.
Disclaimer: I have only done some of the above things :D Like you, I'm trying real hard to 'get better' and I don't believe I'm there yet.
19th of February 2012 (Sun), 00:02
The key to solid spot news PJ work is to be able to tell a story in one shot...
Or, as more of a photo essay, be able to string together a series of shots that build on each other to tell a story.
19th of February 2012 (Sun), 12:23
I learned more overtime by just running out there and taking pictures. Also talked to other photographers.
19th of February 2012 (Sun), 12:34
Practice. Shoot more.
19th of February 2012 (Sun), 12:43
Shoot a lot. Pay attention to the work of the right people. Have your work critiqued by the right people.
Having someone who actually knows what they're talking about tell you how to be better is probably the most valuable thing you can possibly have. The most beneficial thing I've ever had was having honest and often harsh critique from the real deal professionals.
If you want to be a photojournalist I suggest you learn about what it really means to be one (that that I'm saying you don't already, because I don't know you) and then seek an internship.
If you want to be a professional photojournalist, I suggest you practice writing because the days of newspapers hiring photographers who can't write stories, too, have come and gone. If you can't shoot photos and video as well as write and work on deadline, you're not marketable in the job market anymore.
19th of February 2012 (Sun), 13:38
If you can't write then forget it.
If you are not a hard ruthless MFer forget it.
It is a rewarding job but you have to be cold, callous, forceful: A Rotwieller with a camera and a pen.
You will have to work as an intern to start, so I hope your family can support you.
If you do get an internship and you have what it takes then you will rise it will be obvious to those around you you have what it takes.
As to becoming a better phtographer, practise makes perfect, but you have to be self critical and be able to look at your work and analyse what the faillings of an image are.
Look at other's work you admire and try to work out what they have done.
If you are ruthless enough you probably did not get here because you thought what does this moron know?
That's the spirit your going to need.
When Princess Diana died you have to be able to stand there and take the pictures of her last moments, then get them of to the Editor,
or keep calm whilst a Napalmed child is screaming and walking towards you with their skin falling off.
19th of February 2012 (Sun), 14:01
I found this book to be excellent. It's right up your alley:
19th of February 2012 (Sun), 14:02
Also be forewarned that paid internships are few and far between and you're not going to make much money as a photojournalist either.
I'm graduating with a degree in photojournalism next month and currently job hunting. The starting salary offered compared the the skill and education required is one of the worst I can think of. If your first job pays $25,000 you're doing pretty well.
I've had photos printed in some very high profile publications, I've interned at one of the biggest newspapers in the country, I've shot and covered big-time events and even won a handful of awards, and at the end of the day, this career path is so competitive that it still doesn't mean much.
19th of February 2012 (Sun), 14:31
One of my recent instructors commented on the 10,000 hour rule. Most experts figure they spent 10,000 hours perfecting their skills.
Based upon that, 10K hours practicing the wrong skills or enforcing erroneous habits is not going to help either.
After 10 years of shooting, and making money at this, (plus the real job) I went back to school to determine what I was doing right, and learning what I did not know about. By being back in class I'm interacting with others having the same interests and getting instruction and direction. Introduction to previous pro's that are doing what I'm interested in, and why their work works.
Even if you do the "continuing education" route, as I've done, you will learn much.
Plus, this gets critique from others whose opinion will actually be valuable. Someone saying to not pick up a camera again is just being an A$$!
19th of February 2012 (Sun), 14:37
This is one of our texts books... it's awesome. It's worth the money.
19th of February 2012 (Sun), 18:17
Practice with a point.
20th of February 2012 (Mon), 01:51
POTN and you're good to go
or shoot, shoot and shoot some more
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