Copyright Scott Bourne 2009 - All Rights Reserved

This post was inspired by something I wrote in 2009. Photographers are always trying to improve their portfolio. Here are a dozen ways to make pictures that are guaranteed to improve your portfolio.

1. Photograph the same object over all four seasons or a certain period of time and document it’s change and the changes to its surroundings.
2. Photograph something unique; something you’ve never photographed before.
3. Take a road trip where photography is the only goal.
4. Photograph something inspirational; something that makes you want to do better, be better or hope for better.
5. Photograph something that makes you smile; it will probably make someone else smile too.
6. Photograph something controversial; if it’s controversial, it will cause people to react.
7. Spend a weekend shooting with and mentoring a new photographer. Nothing inspires learning and improvement in your photography like having to teach someone else.
8. Photograph something that gives a sense of belonging; people gravitate toward tribes.
9. Photograph something that tells a story; you’ve heard the phrase “A picture is worth 1000 words?”
10. Photograph something over and over and over; the more you get to know a subject, the better you’ll be at photographing it.
11. Spend time on a personal project. Don’t shoot anything but images for that project for a week. Then select the best image from that project for your book.
12. Photograph something through a child’s eyes. Think about how a five-year-old sees the world. Shoot like that.

Improving your portfolio is not about improving your gear. It’s about improving your eye, your mind, your patience, your perseverance, your dedication, your work ethic, your desire to achieve, your ability to relate and your hope for a better result. Go out and shoot like that.

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