Improving in 2013

New Year Resolutions!!!

Happy New Year

I was recently watching the last episode of the year of the photography show “The Grid” (also on youtube), with Scott Kelby and Matt Kloskowski and they were talking about 7 steps to become a better photographer, or to improve your photography (not to make you a better person hehehehe)

Worth watching! The show usually is, but this one was even more!

I’ll try to summarize here, also giving my “reading” to it.

Plain points, comments latter:

1- Figure out what kind of photographer you want to be

2- Study great photographers and their photographs

3- Once you know what you want, get training

4- Do what it takes to get the photos that you want

5- If you need gear, get the gear that you need, even if used (get sharp photos, no matter what)

6- Get a public portfolio

7- Open up opportunities, take the next step

Now the comments πŸ™‚

Point 1, that’s where I am. But basically don’t try to be everything. Find out what you like. Sports, portraits, family, concert, landscape … whatever, doesn’t have to be one, but it’s not possible to be all! They suggest you figure out, like the 3 things you like the most and focus on that. Also don’t have to forget the others, but you cannot be good at everything.

Better be good at something than bad at everything.

As I said, I’m still figuring out what do I really like. I actually like shooting, regardless of what. Besides I always had problems in specializing … but the idea is focus on some stuff, even if you change later.

Point 2, once you know, look at photos in this style. Internet has given access to material that is unbelievable. Before, you needed to by coffee table books, magazines, today it’s all in the web! Look for people you know are icons of the type you like and study their photos. Also look at other people’s work. 500px is great for it! Great shots! Just type in the keyword you’re looking for.

Look at pictures you like and try to find out WHY do you like! What makes it like the shot! Look at something you don’t like and find out what do you dislike in it! And so on.

I still owe myself the analysis. I look at a lot of material, but haven’t got much time to analyse. This is probably my most needed thing for 2013 (apart from point 1).

Point 3, get training you need. There’s A LOT of training available on the web! Free and paid. There’s good free material, of course the paid one is given by more “skilled” trainers. BTW, there’s still something old fashioned, like BOOKS!!! hehehehehe

I started browsing the net, found Kelby Media Group, watched most of their shows and leaned TONS! After that I joined NAPP and then Kelby Training. Worth every cent! I find it better than browsing around, is consistent and condensed.

Point 4, means, if you like landscape, do the whole pack. TRAVEL, wake up early for the sunrise light and all that comes with it. Plan your family vacations on places with great landscape and so on.

Practice before! Go at the corner nice view, even if it’s not the greatest place and take the shots, make mistakes, go there again, make new mistakes, until you’re tired of making mistakes and get it right! Then you travel!!

Same for sports, shoot the local kids playing football! Or the small performance at your city’s main square! Wash your car and shoot it from all angles.

Make mistakes, find them and learn from them.

But do what it takes to get your shots!

Of course shoot with conscience of what you’re doing! Don’t just spray and pray! Think about what you’re doing!

Point 5, I will invert it. Get sharp photos. If you need gear for that, get it, if is out of your budget, get it used!

If you’re into macro, for example, you need a tripod and a macro lens. Without it, it may be hard to get your shots. If your into indoor portraits, you need lights.

Get the best gear you can, but don’t obsess with it. Get what you need, when you need, or rent it or borrow it from a friend! I don’t need a 500mm all the time, but if my son is gonna play, I might needed and I’d rent it (don’t know anyone that has a 500 … I need richer friends that shoot Canon).

This brings a nice thing. I’ve always been the guy that buys the race bike and then learn to pedal … but in photography prices are prohibitive πŸ™‚

Point 6, get your best shots and make it into a public portfolio. Most important, listen to the comments and learn from them. Replace your shots when you get better shots.

Scott Kelby makes a great point in the “Crushing the Composition” class. 1st page, best of the best of the best shots … 2nd page, the great ones that didn’t make the 1st one … 3rd one, the good ones that didn’t make the 2nd page … 4th page you put the ones that didn’t make the 3rd page … he summarizes with something like “you’re as good as your worst shot”. So, why show your 4th best shots? Why show your 3rd best and your 2nd best shots??? Got the point?

I still have problems to show my shots. First I need time to work on them … grrr me and my back log. Second I never think they are worth showing around … gotta work my self confidence … this is a problem lack of confidence or lack of common sense πŸ™‚

Finally point 7. You like sports, make it so you get to shoot it. Go to the school, get good shots, take them to the local team, get to shot them, get the good and scale it up. That works for everything. Talk to whoever you have to talk to get to shoot what you want. Team up, join other people to shoot an event (just watch out for shooting weddings and face Bridzilla).

I personally haven’t figured out what I like, so is hard to team up. Also have always been shy for networking. Gotta work on that, regardless of photography.

Basically that. I’m getting the first points to work on them in 2013 and improve. I suggest the same! πŸ™‚

Happy 2013!


About Cris Da Rocha

Astrophysicist, DB manager, cyclist, musician and, why not, "photographer to be". Back to enjoy photography after many years ... it's cool. Might share something nice and get something new.
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