How to be a Good Photographer: 12 Techniques

How to Become a Good Photographer: twelve Steps

How to Become a Good Photographer: 12 Steps

In this article, I explain ways to become a better photographer – just by following a few reminders.

Specifically, I share my 12-step plan that’ll help you develop both your technical abilities (i. e., settings , composition , editing ) as well as your artistic skills (i. e., your personal photographic voice).

If you read this short article carefully, if you follow our plan, and you put in the work, then you will certainly become a great photographer.

The first step : Look at the light

SoHo, NYC.

Most folks, when trying to become good at photography, look straight to their camera settings. They will dive headfirst into technical features like aperture, shutter speed, and autofocus modes.

Plus it’s true: Those settings have their place.

Yet in my view, getting started with camera settings may actually confuse you – because the camera is just a tool that can record light.

Instead, when you attend take photos, the first thing you need to think  about is lighting, not your camera. Get involved the habit of asking yourself a number of questions every time you walk outside :

  • Exactly what time of day is it?
  • How strong is the light?
  • Is it sunny or cloudy?
  • What direction will be the light coming from?
  • Where are the artificial light sources and what colors carry out they give off?

Pretty soon, you’ll constantly be aware of the light. You’ll find out its quality and its path. That’s an excellent place to be in .

After all, gentle will affect how you shoot  and the  settings you use. Even a slight change in direction of your light source can completely change how an image will appear. You can’t learn how to use your digital camera properly if you do not first be familiar with light.

So start with light. And only then should you move on to the next step…

Step 2: Find out your camera settings

Every image is available at the confluence of a half-dozen (or more! ) digital camera settings, including:

Learn exactly what each of these settings means, and learn how to adjust them on your own camera. In the beginning, you don’t need to know literally everything about each setting, but you should understand how they’ll affect your own photos and which configurations work well as starting factors.

This way, when you see an opportunity for a great photo, you’ll know how to alter key features, such as clarity, depth of field, lighting, and more. And you’ll have the shot you’re after.

It sounds like a lots of work just to take an one photo, and it is. However , if you start out shooting this way,   it will eventually become second nature. It’s just like learning a basketball shot or a golf swing. Doing it the correct way might sense unnatural and weird initially, but eventually it will come  naturally and quickly, and you will be better equipped to get great results.

A quick tip for moving forward with settings:

Get your camera off Auto mode and experiment with Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority , or Manual mode . Aperture Priority is often a good place to start because it gives you control over direct exposure variables while letting the particular camera do some of the large lifting. But if you’re eager to really understand exposure, you can test switching over to Manual setting right away.

SoHo at Night, NYC how to become a good photographer

Step 3: Learn to carefully create your shots

Now that you’ve familiarized your self with key camera settings, it’s time to get into the particular slightly more artistic part of being a great photographer:


Most new photographers have a poor habit: they look up, notice something interesting, photograph it quickly, and move on. On the other hand, seasoned photographers often examine an interesting scene for many lengthy minutes, deciding what precisely to include in the frame. Only then – once they’ve persistent the best composition – perform they take a photo.

Now, composition can be difficult, especially when starting out. And there’s no need to go it alone; instead, learn compositional aids such as the guideline of thirds , the particular rule associated with odds , symmetry, leading lines , and so on.

In that case, when faced with an interesting photo, take a breath. Think about different compositional variables. Where should you stand? Where should you place your main subject? Should you add other elements for a more complex composition?

Always remember that the difference between a snapshot and a work of art can be thought . In fact , the difference between a good image and a great picture could be as simple as shifting a step to the left.

Once you’ve used a photo, review it in your camera’s LCD, and review it on the computer at home, too. Think about the composition. What do you enjoy? What could you have done much better? Over time, your compositional abilities will flourish, and you will see interesting compositions everywhere .

three men walking, SoHo, NYC

Step 4: Learn to use color

Color , or a lack of color, is a very important element of photography. If you can learn to use it to your advantage, your pictures will instantly be elevated. But how do you develop your color “sight”?

Start by looking at a color wheel. Study how the colors work  together. Which shades look nice together? When you combine them, what effect do you get? Also, what do colours represent? Which colors associated with viewer feel calm, plus which colors make them more agitated?

After that, when you’re out and about, shop around. Notice different colors as you pass them by. Think about how they work (or fail to work) together.

Also, try to see how the light changes shades. Light can be cool, it can be warm, and it can even be green. Learn to identify these colour casts and learn to determine the way they affect the scene.

a woman in a shop

Also, you can transform your ability to use color simply by editing. Play around with color heat range to see if you like warmer or even cooler images. Desaturate your shots then add a little vividness to see how you feel. And adjust the contrast, then ask yourself how it affects the particular colors.

Action 5: Learn to edit your images

You may not want to hear this, but if you’re serious about becoming a good professional photographer, then you need to become an excellent editor along the way.

Editing is vitally  necessary to developing your vision, and the best photographers combine their photo skills and their own editing skills to produce spectacular final results.

I suggest subscribing to Lightroom Classic , as it is the standard and it works well for a lot of photographers. But you can also check out Luminar , Capture A single , and ON1 Photo RAW , all of which offer plenty of tools for the up-and-coming shooter.

Note that editing your own photos will involve lots of testing, especially at first, so exercise constantly and don’t get upset if things do not go your way. Simply perform what you can to learn from the mistakes! For a fun problem, try to recreate the look of your favorite photos to get a really feel for  how the editing was done.

Finally, be diligent about arranging your archive. A little time invested each time you upload images will save you so much time in the future. Celebrity your good images (Lightroom allows one through five stars) so they are easy to get, and create Collections based on ideas that you develop over time. Viewing  your work in an organized style will help you improve your skills much faster than if you  have a messy archive!

Step 6: Printing your photos

These days, hobbyists rarely print their photos – yet that’s a mistake, and here’s why:

It is one thing to see how your images look on a  keep track of. And it’s c ompletely  different to see them in their last, printed form. A printing lets you see how the light, the colour, and your camera settings all of the affected the final image. It’ll teach you a lot about how in order to shoot, mark my words.

I do recommend you try various printing papers and look at your prints under different lights. I don’t recommend, however , doing the printing your self. Find a local printer or perhaps a reputable online company and have designs made for you. If, following a time, you decide that you love printing and want to do it all the time, you may consider buying a printer of your – but as a newbie, just go the easier route plus send your photos off for printing.

Also, try creating a pictures corkboard. I have a 36 a 48 inch board close to my workstation and I  swear by it. Fill it up with 5 x seven and 4 x six prints and constantly change it out. See how the images connect with one other, which images final, and which you lose interest in. Use this as a playground for your prints!

Photography Inspiration corkboard how to become a great photographer
My print out corkboard!

Step 7: Photograph constantly

As soon as you’ve made it this far, you’re in a good location. You know what you’re doing, your own prints look beautiful, and your photos are well composed. You might even be a decent photographer. But how can you become a better photographer? How can you become great ?

The next step is figuring out ways to take  unique  and fascinating photographs. It is now time to spend more effort thinking about what when calculated resonates with you in photography and exactly what makes images stand out in your head.

And that begins by photographing all the time.

woman shadow with a nervous hand

So many people  only take their digital cameras out on trips or holidays. They go places specifically for pictures, such as mountain ranges, zoos, gardens, safaris, cute cities, or cities with excellent architecture. And while this is excellent to do, push yourself beyond that. Take photos whenever you can, even during the course of your daily life. If you’re unable to take your main camera with you, utilize a smartphone.

The very best photographers can capture great photographs in the most ordinary  places. Practice this. Venture out to some random location – or even go out to a place that you think will be terrible for photography – plus figure out how to take an interesting picture. This will help you so much inside your development. You can understand  light source and camera settings like a pro, but if you’re not out photographing in a variety of situations on a somewhat consistent base, then you’re selling yourself short as a photographer.

Step 8: View the work of other professional photographers

woman faced toward a wall

At this point, you should be actively trying to develop your own voice and style. And one of the best ways to do that? Look into the work of others.

Go to galleries, buy photography books, and research the images  of great photographers. The internet is an easy place to view photography, but it can also be easy to get lost. Galleries plus books are curated for any reason. Study the pictures, think about how they were completed, and figure out the context behind them. Sometimes images will certainly hit you whether or not you know  the context, yet other times it can be important to purchase photographer and the history behind the image. At the very least, it’ll add another layer to your understanding.

Emulate the various styles of photographers that you like. In that case pick and choose your favorite elements through different photographers  and  merge them to create your own design.

Purchase several prints. The average home has a lot of walls – sufficient for many artists!

Yes, there is something satisfying about seeing an image then going and figuring out how to create it for yourself. But it really is important to appreciate the work of others. Check out plenty of photos, and you’ll start to develop your own inspiration.

Finally, one of my favorite ways to  gain inspiration is  to read about things unrelated in order to photography. Learn about what you are shooting. Read poetry, look at current events, read anything at all. This is about growing your voice outside of photography, which supports strengthen your voice within photography.

woman walking on the street

Step 9: Immerse your self in a subject or area

Did you know that some photographers have spent literally 40 years photographing in the exact same area? You don’t need to go that far, but selecting a single subject or region, then running with it, can significantly enhance your growth.

For instance, you may photograph:

Really, you can select anything, as long as it’s fairly specific. Rather than photographing “the streets of New York, ” for instance, you might choose “the streets of SoHo” or maybe “Manhattan bridges. ”

Then go back to exactly the same place or subject at different times, in different lighting, and keep photographing it. This really is very  important for your growth, since  it will allow you to  learn the area or subject like the back of your hand. Your images will take on a lot more depth, and you’ll begin to recognize what you really like about a shot.

Step 10: Find a small group with whom you can share your work

The internet is an amazing place for sharing your work – but it is also very impersonal. Everyone sees thousands of pictures a day from hundreds of individuals. While it’s definitely feasible to develop through internet reviews, it can be tough to get a proper critique of your images.

So find a few people and put together a group that will looks at physical images each once in a while. You ultimately wish to shoot for yourself, but viewing how others relate to your pictures is important for your growth. The greater they get used to your work as well as your style, the more helpful their comments and thoughts is going to be.

Note that your own critique group doesn’t need to be full of photographers. They can be close friends, creatives, even significant others. A good, tough critique from the partner can be very valuable – and though it can sometimes become tough to hear, it’ll be useful in the long run.

Action 11: Put together an modify of similar images

One of the most  attractive aspects of Lightroom is that it allows you to create collections of pictures outside of your normal file structure. (Other programs permit you to do this, too – and at the very least, you can group pictures by adjusting your desktop file structure. )

Start to group plus sequence images that relate to each other. Turn them in to a project. All the images in this article relate to one another – but they were taken over time, not every at once. You can do the same.

Note that, while you may think about projects from the very beginning, often projects and ideas will come about naturally during the process of daily shooting. Therefore review your work, look for styles, and embark on various projects. After a while, you’ll have a handful of tasks going at once, and you may even end up with a handful of completed projects to add to your portfolio!

Step 12: Really develop your photographic tone of voice

stroller with a shopping bag how to become a good photographer

Developing your own voice is the last step in becoming a good, good, or even incredible photographer – but if you follow the prior 11 steps, your voice will come naturally.

Of course , you can think about your voice, and you can pay attention to it as you progress. But do not really force this. Let it arrive over time.

And if you feel like you’ve reached this point within your photography and your voice nevertheless hasn’t developed, don’t panic. Instead, revisit a few of these techniques, especially Step 7 (Photograph constantly), Step 8 (View the work of other photographers), and Step 9 (Immerse yourself in a subject or area).

You will develop your voice eventually. And you will turn into a great photographer.

How to become a good photographer: final words

You can learn to use your camera quickly, but you cannot become a great professional photographer overnight. Take your time, try to improve a little bit each day, and you will make huge strides over the course of a couple of years.

Now to you:

Which of these steps maybe you have followed so far? Which are you currently working on? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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