One of the best things you can do as a beginning photographer, or to keep you fresh if you are more experienced, is to shoot a lot. The more you get out with your camera, and the more frames you shoot when you are out, will help you to continue to grow as a photographer.
Having a plan and a purpose helps. Setting self assignments or on going projects will boost your photographic productivity. Design a project for yourself that you will enjoy. Choose a topic or subject matter that you know about and love to work with and it will be easy to grab your camera and go!
Once you’re out shooting, don’t be frugal – take a lot of photos. I don’t mean to just blaze away shooting six frames a second. Instead, take your time to find other points of view and photograph your subject from different angles, with different lenses and shutter speeds and aperture settings. Move around your subject, watching the background as you do. See how it changes depending on your perspective? If you are shooting with a wide lens, change to a longer lens, move back and shoot again. When you compare the photos you will see many differences.
If you are shooting any kind of action – animals, people doing working, sports etc. be ready and anticipate the action. Think ahead and predict what your subject will do next or when they will do something that will make your photo more interesting. Being patient and waiting for the right moment to shoot will result in stronger images. If you are photographing someone who is repeating the same action over and over – photograph them over and over. Each time the action may be a little different and so will your timing. Don’t rush off after the first few shots, take your time and you will see the quality of your images improve.
Doing this will give you a good variety of images and I guarantee you will see the first photo you took of any subject is not always the best. If you are just taking one shot at a time of each subject you will be missing out on opportunities for creating better photos.
Shooting a lot is the best way to get to know your camera better. The more you use your camera the faster you will be at changing settings, changing lenses, reloading film – hmm, that last one’s not so relevant now days! Being familiar with your camera and knowing how to make adjustments quickly and easily, especially if you are shooting on manual mode, will free you up to be more creative.
For sure you will end up with large numbers of photos that are not so good. Don’t be tempted to delete them before you load them to your computer. Viewing them all on your computer will help you learn to see the differences between good and bad images. Make comparisons, ask yourself why you like one frame more than another. Ask friends to give you their feedback too. Once you have made your choices of the photos you want to keep, make sure then to delete the extras so you hard drive does not become full too quickly.
Shooting regularly leads to a development of personal style which will help define you as a photographer. The more you shoot, the better you will become at operating your camera and the more creative your photographs will be.