Becoming a good photographer takes more than just hard work, mechanical knowledge of the basic know-hows and the investment of time and money. None of these things are easy to give, of course, especially if you’re striving to make the transition from an amateur to a pro while also maintaining an unrelated job and investing all your extra money in new gear and props to fuel your still not so lucrative hobby. But that little extra we’re talking about could be equated to the unquantifiable spark of talent, or confidence, or creativity which your work will eventually need to stand out from the crowd. Put in more technical and less romantic terms, in order to develop this sixth sense in photography and obtain better results, you need to experiment more with your work. Here are 5 ways to start.
Experiment more with the camera settings
As we mentioned earlier, it’s always a good idea to keep playing with your camera’s settings and discover new ways to make them work for the situation at hand. Nothing will give your imagination stronger wings than knowing every last effect obtainable from every last setting on your camera. Once you get to know them all and to know how your camera reacts to every possible combination of settings, you can experiment more in creative ways for pleasantly surprising effects.
Try new angles of viewing things
When approaching your usual subjects, establish your normal, go-to viewing angle and then try 2 or three completely different ones. You may be surprised of what you discover if you allow yourself to experiment more with the angles. The results may be better than what your usual approach would have produced, or, even if not, can prove to be valuable lessons in how you’ll perceive space through your lens.
Take photos of things out of your comfort zone
After you experiment more with the angles, it’s time to temporarily change your usual subjects as well. Try photographing things you wouldn’t normally think of photographing and see how your usual techniques are suitable or not for the new themes. We’re not suggesting you to go very far out of your comfort zone if you don’t want to (like to switch from wedding portraits to the morbid and grotesque), but trying something even a bit new as a subject can make you a better photographer once you return to your usual line of work.
Go wild with post-photo editing
Even if less is more when it comes to photo editing, you can play a bit with all the editor’s features just as you did with the camera settings. Even if the results are way over the top to count as decent pictures, if you experiment more with digital tools such as Photoshop or Picasa or whatever photo processing program you prefer, you will learn a great deal about what you can do with your photos in the future.
Try to work through the lens of another photographer for a short while
Every photographer, and especially the established ones, has their unique style, and trying to emulate it for a while can do you some good, even if it’s not a style you would like for yourself. Get familiar with two or three photographers who employ a very personal view, as different from each other as possible, and study their works. Then, for a week or so at a time, try to experiment more with your photos by channeling the style of each of them. Even if you won’t borrow anything from your muses on the long term, you will know yourself better as photographer by the end of this experiment and your enhanced knowledge will soon reflect positively in the quality of your photos.