Jul 1, 2010

The one thing that will make you a better photographer

I was certain to get your full attention with this title, wasn't I! We are always looking for the magic bullet that will suddenly turn us into the lovechild of Ansel Adams and Henri Cartier-Bresson and, when we find things to be a bit more complicated, we turn to our secret weapon: our wallet. Surely with the latest 2.8 zoom, or if we switch to a full frame camera, then our images will get better. Right?

Well, things don't quite work this way, and deep down, we all know the truth: there is no magic bullet. We can't buy our way into being a good photographer any more than we can buy our way into becoming a good writer. Talent might give you a head start, but in the end, the only way to become any good at creating images is, like for everything else, to practice it a lot. Nothing can replace hard work and shooting tens of thousands of frames, day in and day out. As brilliant as HCB, Adams, Weston and any of your photographic heroes might have been, they have worked very hard to become as good as they were, and they shot a lot of crap to get there, just as everybody else.

Autumn

At this point, you might simply shrug, thinking that there is nothing new here and you would be right to find the title of this post misleading. Indeed, just accepting the reality and saying "I need to work hard" is great, but it isn't of very concrete help.

But I didn't lie: there is a thing, simple and relatively easy, that you can start doing right now and that is guaranteed to make you a much better photographer than any amount of money you could spend on gear or even workshops. I was lucky enough to discover it by chance when I started getting serious about photography, and I have no doubt that it was the main factor in making me reach where I am today (wherever that is). Continue reading...