Practices to be a better photographer
I offer several practices for those who interested about it. It can help, if you learn from it. Make every exercise for a longer period (a week or month), think about it, and try to get the most out of it.
For start chose one practice you like.
1. Always make a photo at the lightest parts of the scene
This does not mean to shoot the sun always. This is an exercise, don’t need to do it all the time just the time of your practice. I suggest at least a week or month. You can do it partly parallel with your normal photography, but I suggest to do it exclusively for a period. With a Dslr camera don’t see in the sun, when it is bright, it can damage your vision.
What I mean, is to make pictures only in most light parts of your scene or subject. For example in the street you see shadows and areas covered with sun. Make pictures of the sun covered area. Choose a theme there, if you find something interesting. If you go to see a match for example find out where the sun is and make photos when the players are in the sun covered areas. In the room find out where the most light parts of the room and make pictures there.
The light is your friend, this gives life for your photos.
Do this for a week every day if possible. For example you want to make a street photo. Search where the sun shines and try to make a photo there. Do your photography as you do normally, but every time consider to have the most light in your photo. This does not mean to miss the photo of your life if it is not on the bright part of your vision.
This can train your eyes how to see photographically. The target with this exercise is to properly evalute the light conditions of your surrounding and to act accordingly.
2. Try to be a master of sunrise / sunset shots
A tripod or other support is ver useful to keep the noise level low.
3. Make photos of the most colorful subjects.
Find the most colorful subjects for your photography, fruits, flowers, patterns, sky colors, anything with color. You can select a color for a week. For example red color week, brown color week, blue color week. Beautiful saturated colors make your photography better. On the other hand black and white photographs are also special. Here the forms, shapes and light conditions dominate the scene.
4. Try to make as many photos as you can when the sun shines almost parallel to the ground.
The “Golden hours” as many refer to it, is the hours after sunrise and the hours before sunset. The shadows can be longer, and light poured on your sensor. For wildlife or landscape photography alike these are the most valuable periods of the day. Animals birds are also moves more at these periods.
5. Make photos of reflecting, shining, white, metal, glittering objects.
You can learn much from them how to photograph reflecting surfaces, metal, shining objects. On the other hand a polarizer can help to remove reflection from water surfaces. It is possible to try both cases which you like better. For example a reflecting lake, or a lake when we can see what is under the surface.
6. Search for action.
Car, boat, race, fight, run, jump, splash. Make photos of action. Think about it. Most highly rated photographs are about action photography. Action shows life, power, it is interesting. Bird fights, sports, movement, something happen. To catch action high shutter speed is necessary.
7. Go in the mass
8. Search for water in any form.
9. Find interesting looking people
and try to make portraits from them. Visualize the portraits you want to make, and think about them, select the equipment you plan to use, in order to be quick to make the photo and concentrate on the pics not on camera settings.
10. Try to make photos of any animal or bird or insect you can find.
11. Find anything interesting, unusual, beautiful
This is the main power of photography to show something extraordinary or unusual.
12. Try to express a feeling, idea or thought with your photo
It is a good task, need to think about it a lot. What you want to express and how. You can check a vocabulary about feelings, there are many of them not just joy, sadness, etc. For example I think about such themes as inspiration, happiness, beauty, joy, excitement, peace. Pick a theme and think about it what kind of photo express that. You can also think about thoughts or pick a thought to express for example music, home, art, air, space, knowledge, city development, life, and many other things.
13. Play with the bokeh
The out of focus areas can give a nice feel your photographs. It is a very good practice to master that, that you can easily create the bokeh you wanted. Either to blur the background totally or wants to see something in the background as well.
14. Concentrate on different distances for a longer period
What do I mean ? With prime lenses we zoom with our feet. After some time we can get a feel, where to stand for a photo we want to take, we feel the distance we need. Zoom lenses can make us lazy to think about distances. There are many famous photographer out there who’s trademark is the special angle he/she always uses. I like the 16/24mm angle for example, what I do is think with this angle in my mind how much distance I need to make exactly the shot I wanted.
There is an other aspect of this practice. We can set a distance for ourself, for example 5m (you can think about it, and set your own goal), and try to make all photos in a certain period from that distance. Lots of learning can come from that.
In bird photography most of the time I was lazy, I usually make pictures from huge distances. This not helps always delete pictures on the computer is a waste of time. What is a better practice not to make the bad photo at all, instead think about a distance for example 10 meters, and think about how it is possible to achieve that in different situations. In the beginning is ok to make photos to delete.
15. Make pictures of food
Looks it is a simplest idea, but interesting what we eat. Similarly we can make photograps of different products. It is possible to learn many things from that well.
16. Try to make photos from unusual angles
For example from above or below. One example is to stand in circle with many people look downwards and make a photo upwards. Make pictures from low angles. Make portraits from different positions.
17. Master your shutter speed
With different shutter speeds you can add many flawour to your photography. It needs lots of practice to be sure you make a sharp shot, or the next minute with slower shutter speed you use motion blur to express something.