I know we live in a USA TODAY, drive-up window world. Everybody wants what they want now. So here are five things you can do in six hours – in fact on this very day to BECOME (not be) a better photographer.
1. Go to a museum. Yep – any museum. STUDY don’t just look at the art there. Ask yourself the same questions about every piece you see and keep notes. What was the artist trying to say? What may have inspired the artist? What tools or techniques did the artist use to make the piece? Is the piece effective on an emotional level? Is the piece something that makes you want to know more?
Time to complete – 75 minutes
2. Now take the exercise you just did at the museum and sit down with a good book or magazine that features lots of photography. Do the same thing I asked you to do in part one. Ask yourself the same questions about every photo you see and keep notes. What was the artist trying to say? What may have inspired the artist? What tools or techniques did the artist use to make the piece? Is the piece effective on an emotional level? Is the piece something that makes you want to know more?
Time to complete – 45 minutes
3. Go meet with other photographers – preferably established or even professional photographers and ask them to tell you the three things they wish they knew before they started getting serious about photography. Then – be quiet. Listen. Don’t talk. Take notes if they don’t mind. Just listen. Gather it all in. Oh and buy them a donut while you’re at it.
Time to complete – 60 minutes
4. Go out and shoot the one thing you’ve always been afraid to shoot. Go make that one image that has always been hard for you. Find that one subject that scares you. Now go embrace it and photograph it. If you are a landscape photographer who is afraid to photograph people, get over it. Go make a portrait. You get the idea. Just do it.
Time to complete – 120 minutes
5. Make a list. On this list put down every single asset you have (emotional, physical, material, etc.) that will help you become a better photographer. Sure you should put your camera gear on the list. But how about your brother or sister or wife? Are they encouraging you? If so, put them on the list. How about knowledge from a workshop or class you recently attended? Did that help? If so put it on the list. Once this list is complete, start everyday by looking at your assets and being thankful for them rather than worrying about what you lack to be great.
Time to complete – 60 minutes
That’s it. Five things. Six hours. Do this exercise (regularly if you can) and I guarantee you that your photography will improve, you’ll learn something about yourself and you might just make a difference in someone else’s world while you’re at it.
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