Practice and life long learning
How to you go from this
Feedback, lots of practice, collaboration with other artists and taking lessons.
I have been taking pictures on a pretty regular basis since 2000. These were just images for fun, your normal "snapshots". In 2002 I did my first wildland fire. It was fun taking pictures of things most people never get to see. At the time I was still shooting film and the internet was still in its infancy. In 2005 I was finally able to afford my first consumer level digital camera. While this was a good camera, I missed my interchangeable lenses. In the spring of 2009 I was able to afford my first DLSR, a Nikon D90 and 2 lenses. While I was able to take some better pictures, I was still running in auto letting the camera decide the best settings. In 2012 I started SCUBA diving with a camera and to get good images you really need to shoot in manual. This really started my journey to where I am now.
Each one of those events changed how I took pictures. For many years people kept telling me I needed to do something with images. Usually it involved my fire or underwater images. In the fall of 2017 I decided I was finally going to do something with my images. I made all of the preparations to start my business and launch this site. At the time I was planning on focusing on nature, landscape, fire, underwater and similar images.
As it happens when people know you are a photographer, I was asked to shoot some senior images for my nice (first image) and nephew on February 18, 2018.
While the images are not horrible, they leave a lot to be desired. Shooting portraits of people is so much different than editorial style or nature/landscape so I had a ton to learn. There is only so much we can learn on our own without some kind of feedback. While you can turn to the internet for feedback it can be harsh and non-beneficial. If you can find a photographer to mentor you will grow so much fast. They will see things you do not, in the same way you should not edit your own papers.
After you find a mentor(s) it is time to practice. You can not expect to improve if you don't spent time shooting. Practice should involve many aspects. Are you comfortable with your camera, all of the settings, how to make it do what you want it to do? Posing/prompting along with what is in your background? Post processing or actual "Photoshoping" if that is the style of photography you are doing?
Practice has taken me from this
to this in the course of a year. Yes, they are the same subject.
Practice has taken me from this kind of senior image
One of the areas that I wanted to improve on faster was lighting. I signed up for lighting lessons with, Mike Laverdure Photography. During class I was shooting with a model which will also help you improve faster. They are typically very comfortable being in front of a camera and posing.
I have had a few opportunities to collaborate, however due to the situations I am not able to share any of the images from those.
No matter what you camera you use, what your shooting style is or your preferred subject matter, get out and practice as often as possible. Some people choose to do different photo challenges such as the 1 image per day. If you want to improve do what motivates you to get out and shoot.
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