I will start by saying that I don’t necessarily consider myself a photographer. Having said that – apparently many people do I am often contacted with requests for my photos or requests for photo sessions. I almost never accept requests for photo sessions of people – I don’t consider that “my thing”. However, on occasion I will accept these requests as long as they are not in a building… I know that makes sense but I tend to “specialize” in outdoor photography – the whole “one with nature” theme.
Additionally, I don’t put a great deal of effort into editing my photos – sometimes I will add some filters but my goal is to see the beauty as it is. I get some of my inspiration from amazing photographers and this is what I have learned.
The Photographer’s Eye
- Some people just have it – while other’s can learn. I definitely don’t just have it – though I have relatives that do. I look back at my early photos in my blogging career and I cringe. I am not sure why I even thought those were passable. I definitely put more effort into my photos now.
- Understand what you have done that works and what doesn’t. I remember the first time I was allowed to do a guest post on someone’s site. She had very strict criteria for how she wanted the photos to be framed, how the lighting should be etc… I hated all the hoops she made me jump through but in reality – that was probably the single most important lesson in photography that I ever had. For that post I definitely didn’t master the skill and had a long way to go. But I carry those tips with me always and they make a world of difference now.
- Join Facebook groups that offer suggestions on your photos – these groups are free and everyone is there to make each other a better photographer. Don’t be afraid of the criticism – sometimes they aren’t as nice as they could be but they are all learning experiences.
- Enjoy color and emotion – not every photo needs to be a smile. There is a great deal of emotion to capture in the crying, the sadness and of course happiness. Capture the fun such as with a Just Add Color party!
- Change your perspective – it isn’t always about where you point the camera. Don’t be afraid to take a shot off center, laying on the ground, looking up, looking down. Some of my favorite photos are me literally lying on the ground while my horse trots over to me. A very different visual perspective than just standing up and taking a photo of him trotting to me.
- I often have a photo a day theme for a full year. This year is my second one – a full year of a black and white photo a day. That may seem easy but not all photos are good candidates for a black and white photo. It is also a challenge that makes me aware of my surroundings as I go through my day – what will I give my readers tomorrow? What image would just be better served by the lack of color? Here is mine from today – my daughter focused and drawn in to The Moving Wall (a mobile replica of the Vietnam Wall).
- As you look around you – look for natural lines, natural barriers and natural boundaries. Accentuate them with your photos – they will add power to your photography.
- One of my favorite tips and it is totally true – always have a camera with you… or vice versa, your best camera is the one you always have with you. I have expensive cameras – quite a few of them. But 99% of my photos are taken with my iPhone X and I know how to use it. A cell phone can be powerful if you know how to best use it.
- Find someone (online or in person) who you can use as a mentor. The internet is full of amazing resources such as Blake Ruben. And never ever stop learning or looking to improve.