It’s easy to get dismayed when your photos just aren’t coming out as good as the one you envisioned in your mind. I’ve seen some plenty of aspiring photographers abandon the hobby because they feel like they just aren’t very good at it. But this is a bad attitude to have! Sure, taking great photos may require a lot of practice and hard work but it’s not impossible. Like Henri Cartier Bresson said, your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.
So instead of beating yourself because you’re still in the beginning stages of your photography journey, take the mistakes you make and use them as a learning experience to grow from.
The Art Self Critiquing
Self critiquing a photo can be extremely difficult. Because we’re humans, we tend to let our feelings and emotions get in the way. For some of us, that could mean we are impossibly hard on ourselves and don’t give ourselves enough credit; or, it could be we become to emotionally attached to our images to be able to point out places in which we could improve them. Regardless, we need to learn to look at our photos objectively and evaluate their quality.
To get some practice at this art form, consider having your photos critiqued by a professional first. These critiques sessions can teach you how to look at a photo and study why it works and why it doesn’t. Pay close attention to the advice they give you and apply these techniques to your own self critiquing practice.
Take A Workshop or Join A Photography Club
It can be difficult to recognize we’re making mistakes at times. The reason is simple: we don’t know what we don’t know. Sometimes being surrounded by fellow photographers at or around the same skill level as us, can open up our eyes to different ways of doing things, and in some cases, better ways of doing things.
And if you take the workshop route, you’ll have a knowledgeable instructor there who can help guide you through the learning process. These types of classes are fantastic ways to improve your photography because you’ll have someone with more experience than yourself who will more easily be able to point out any mistakes you may be making AND give you advice on how exactly to fix it, right there on the spot.
Of course, with clinics, workshops, and clubs comes the necessity of being able to accept constructive criticism. However, this is a good thing! If you’re willing to accept you’ve made mistakes, that means you’re on the right path to correcting them.
Mess Stuff Up (On Purpose)
If you’re using a digital camera there’s no reason not to experiment. So, go ahead, do something “wrong” intentionally. Just to see what happens. Use the wrong shutter speed. Try a different aperture setting. Break all the composition rules. Really. Get a little crazy every once in a while. This is probably one of the easiest ways to figure out why something works and why it doesn’t. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes!