Thursday, March 07, 2013

How to Improve Your Photography

 Photo taken late last year at Berdorf Goodman.

Self-doubt is my worst enemy.  If others are honest they might admit the same.  When I'm feeling uninspired or like my work isn't going where I'd like it to go or just generally like I've hit a wall creatively, rather than sink into it I try to get my creative flow going again by pushing myself and giving myself some much-needed perspective.  I try to think about ways to improve my photography and my own outlook by keeping these tips in mind. 

1.  Get out of your comfort zone

It happens to everyone in many aspects- you get so comfortable doing one thing or another than the thought of changing things up terrifies you.  Or worse, it doesn't even occur to you to try something different because what you've been doing has become so easy for you.  Push yourself out of that zone of comfort and try something new.  If you tend to shoot wide, zoom in.  If you tend to shoot with a zoom lens, leave it at home and take your prime with you.  If you never photograph people, try going up to someone and asking them if you can take their picture. 

2.  Take your camera everywhere

This should be a no-brainer.  If you leave your equipment at home you won't be out shooting.  It's fun to play with your iPhone (it's obvious I LOVE mine) but breaking out your dslr on a daily basis is important and an essential element on your way back to being creative.  Having your camera with you will help you to preserve memories.  I have hundreds, if not thousands, of photos that have never been looked at by anyone but me and there's a lesson in that.  I like to look back at my archives to see how much my work has change, how I've evolved, and importantly, what I'd like to try to do next.

3.  Change your perspective

Photographically, get down low, stand up tall, zoom in, zoom out, etc.  Don't think like an expert (even if you are one).  Instead think about things like you're doing it for the first time and it will get you to expand your mind outside the box and force you to change your perspective.  It's a great exercise to get your creative juices flowing.

4.  Visit some place new

There are many places in New York City that I've never visited.  And, there are many that I haven't been to in years.  One example is the Empire State Building.  I'm really dying to get up there soon and take some photos.  The last time I was there I remember feeling so overwhelmed with how majestic and powerful the city looked.  I remember feeling really small but energized and I was so inspired.  That inspiration is sometimes just what I need to get excited about what I'm doing again and it's only a subway ride away.

5.  Go to a museum

Whenever I need a timeout I go to the Met.  Sometimes I go to see a particular exhibit but other days I just want to sit in the Greek and Roman Art Hall and watch the light and amuse myself by watching tourists walking by with their maps and cameras.  This place feeds my soul and it is one of my favorite locations in New York to be alone and with my thoughts.  There are so many incredible and evocative works and interesting people that if you're not inspired I don't know what else I can say.

6.  Pick a color and focus on it

I'm obsessed with Paris in Color.  I love this book by Nichole Robertson, a creative who I've been following for years, and really it's such a simple concept.  Pick a color, any color, and train your eye to look for it.  The result will most likely surprise you and definitely inspire you to look closely at all of the amazing details that are all around you.

7.  Network

I've said it before and I will say it again and again, get out there and meet people in your industry who you admire and who inspire you.  Ask questions, attend seminars, learn from them and grow from what they teach you.  Help people who might see you as a mentor and learn from them too.  Visit new blogs and websites and reach out to the people who are creating all that amazing content.  I have met so many wonderful people and have learned so much because of this blog and it never would have happened otherwise.

So, do you have any tips?  Please share them in the comments!  I'd love to know. 

You can also check out Learning How to See and Is Creativity Learned?  Also, ten things to think about on the road to success.

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