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(Last updated on October 12th, 2021)

In this post, we have covered three key tipsthat will help you become a top-notch photographer.

With cameras integrated into our electronic devices, everybody and their mother calls themselves photographers. But some, like yourself, work on their skills to truly stand out of the crowd. And especially for you, I reveal the three realizations that advanced my art the most.

Photography Is About Knowing Your Basics

I know. This is more than one tip on its own. But there’s no way around it. You need to master photography basics. Understand exposure, aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, as your technical basics. Read books and articles about your artistic basics, such as composition, color science, and contrast, and practice them in your photography. All the time.

photography is about knowing your basics

Also, understand the basics of your gear. Learn how you can change exposure, aperture, shutter speed, and ISO on your photo camera and try to do it blindly. Photography is about the moment, and you don’t want those moments to pass you by as you fiddle with your camera settings. The faster and more intuitive you work with your camera, the better you can focus on your subject and make sure you get the shot.

Photography Is About Catching the Light

Take a look at the work of professionals and accomplished photographers, like stock footage. What sets professionally taken photographs apart from your little brother’s photos is that light is deliberate. Your little brother will focus 100% on his subject, without giving the light a single thought. Whether in studio conditions or outdoors, pros will always choose their light.

Landscapes are usually shot in early mornings or late afternoons to catch the pleasing light of the setting or rising sun. If city lights are part of your composition, you might push it into the blue hour, just after the sun has set and artificial lights switch on, but when you can still catch some detail in the sky. When taking a portrait, the pros will look at what light does to the face of their subjects and will move their model until it looks right.

Picture of an old man with catch light

When you start looking at light, a whole new set of tools is added to your arsenal. Front light or backlight, shadows, contrast, windows, neon, stars, and clearings in the canopy will all become new toys for you to play with until you get your subject in the ultimate conditions that will produce a killer shot.

Think about it. Today, everything’s been photographed. It’s the lighting (and weather conditions in general) that always changes and has the power to make the mundane unique and unforgettable.

Photography Is About Taking the Time

This is the winning tip … and the hardest to achieve in our busy lives. Photography is about taking the time to get the shot. When you read the stories that come with award-winning photographs, the same theme seems to always return. It took them months to get this shot or they spent days in a hide trying to catch a bird in the right conditions.

Photography is about taking the time to perfect your art. And it’s about taking the time to visit and revisit your subjects until you catch them in the unique and powerful circumstances. It’s about taking the time to sit in a marketplace and really observe what’s going on until you catch that fleeting moment something of interest or emotion happens, or a fascinating face stares straight into your lens.

Photography is a game of patience until the perfect composition comes together. It cannot be done fast-paced.

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