It’s safe to say that you’re on this website because you love photography. It’s a great way to express yourself, be creative, and show off.
When you buy a new camera, photography seems like the best way to spend your time, but unfortunately this feeling fades away with time.
It’s easy to become disheartened if you compare yourself to other photographers, or you simply don’t see your photos improving, but I for one believe that it should always be fun.
Here are some tips I’ve found which made photography fun for me again.
SHOOT ON FILM
Shooting on film is not only easy, it’s also cheap in comparison to getting setup with digital photography and it comes with a good selection of advantages.
- You’re limited to the number of photos you can take, so you focus on only taking the best photos that you can. This produces better results.
- When you have taken a photo, you don’t think about it until after you get them back from the lab or you developed the negatives. There’s no photos to preview on a screen.
- No post processing means that you’re spending your time taking photos – not sitting in front of a computer screen.
- It’s always a surprise when you pick up your photos and see how they’ve come out.
So shooting on film is a great idea, but not very practical for a lot of people, so let’s have a look at what you can do with your digital camera.
USE A NEW LENS
Buy (or borrow) a new lens – and use it. Using a new lens is always exciting; it’s like having a new toy. I like exploring the creative possibilities of new equipment. I’m a big fan of prime lenses, and I’ve taken a lot of photos with a 50mm f1.6 lens (Canon). I’ve enjoyed using it at f1.8 and exploiting the narrow depth-of-field for creative effect. Other lenses that may open up new creative possibilities are extreme wide angles or lens babies.
A new lens doesn’t have to be expensive. 50mm prime lenses are cheap, especially when bought second hand. Depending on your camera system you may even be able to buy an adapter to fit old manual focus lenses onto your camera body. Some old lenses can be picked really cheaply in thrift-shops or online.
SET A PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT
Photography projects are a good way to learn and enjoy photography, but there’s one aspect which makes them really great. They focus your attention and they inspire you.
Start a project you can come back to again and again through the year – like a photo essay or self-publishing a photo book. A long term project gives you time to think up creative ideas and put them into practice.
here are some project examples:
- 365 (a picture a day, for a year)
- 52 Weeks (a picture a week, maybe with a specific theme)
- A-Z (taking photos of images that represent the letters of the alphabet)
- Self Portraits (come up with different ideas for a self portrait for a year)
- The Nifty 50 Challenge (take a photo with a 50mm lens every day, for 50 days)
- Shoot from the Hip (self-explanatory)
The project possibilities are endless, so get out there and just start.
READ A PHOTOGRAPHY BOOK
Read some photography books to learn new skills or build up inspiration. Your local library and bookshops should have a good selection of technique and portfolio books. Books like these are a rich source of technical information and creative photography ideas. The photography book industry is booming and there is no shortage of quality material waiting to be read.
One of my favorite books to draw inspiration from is Cereal Magazine.
Don’t fall into the trap of reading too many books. It’s better to read one great book and then go and put into practice what you’ve learnt, than read a dozen books and do nothing with the information.
I understand that this may be the reason a lot of you don’t enjoy photography; you just can’t quite wrap your head around it.
Learning photography is a pretty big hurdle when it comes to taking great photos. There’s a lot to learn, and chances are that like me, you’re self-taught.
When you can focus your attention towards learning how to take better photos and understanding you camera, you will see dividends from your efforts.
Your photography will start to improve, you will gain more recognition for your work, and you will become a lot happier with yourself.
And that’s a lot more fun!