One of the biggest issues I’ve seen for beginning photographers (and sometimes some more experienced ones), is a lack of confidence, or lack of belief, in their photographic ability.
Sometimes this can be justified, especially if you’ve just started out, but the thing to remember is that everyone began exactly where you are now!
As with anything in life, if you want to be good at something, you need to practice and get constructive feedback. Both of these requirements are easy to achieve in photography, but the one we often struggle with as a beginner is the feedback.
The only feedback we ask for generally, is from friends and family… or, to put it another way, people who love us. Whilst this is great to give us a warm fuzzy feeling inside, without the constructive criticism aspect, we’re always going to find it difficult to improve very quickly.
What we need, as well as the practice, is someone to tell us what’s not so good about our images and suggest ways to make improvements.
Through my journey, the best way I’ve found to gain experience and get worthwhile feedback, is to join a local photography club. Most towns will have a club nearby and having somewhere to go each week where you can learn new techniques, glean information from more experienced photographers and get honest, helpful feedback on your images is probably one of the best things you can do.
If you live somewhere very remote, you may have to travel to get to your nearest club, or you could even start your own? In fact, I’ll speak to the guy that started my local photography club and write an article to help you out if your in that position
It’s also worthwhile displaying your images on photo sharing websites such a Flickr.com. The benefit here is that there’s almost certainly one or more groups dedicated to the sort of photography you’re interested in, and these groups generally want you to submit your images to the group.
Unfortunately, you only usually get comments like “great shot”, or “nice pic” etc. on Flickr. This is great for your ego, but not much use if your trying to improve, so as a learning tool it’s quite limited.
Anyway, I’ve listed below some of the things that will definitely help you to gain experience, become more confident and generally improve your competence as a photographer. Check them out and let me know in the comments if there’s anything else you think I should add.
Over the coming weeks I’ll go deeper into some of them and give you some ideas to help make them part of your photography journey.
- Join a club
- Set yourself a photography goal for the week, month, or year
- Get feedback
- Display your work
- Join flicker groups
- Start a project
- Comment on photography blogs
- Look at your old photos and grade them next to your recent ones.
Until next time, keep shooting!