Nine tips to keep you growing as a photographer
Our photography keeps evolving as we build our skills and knowledge and change our perspectives. Still, you may sometimes get stuck and feel like you’re not moving forward. In this video, Ted Forbes offers nine tips for photographers seeking to raise their craft to a higher level and have their photography grow with them.
1. Embrace a growth mindset: Growth is highly personal and subjective, both in photography and life in general. Ted emphasizes the importance of a mindset shift, encouraging you to set specific goals tailored to your unique aspirations. That can be mastering a new lighting technique or delving into a different genre – depending on your needs and preferences. Take some time to think about them and determine the direction in which you want to go.
2. Use limitations to your advantage: We all face some limitations, be it personal, financial, business, or other. As frustrating as it may be, Ted suggests using them as a creative challenge. Limiting your shooting radius or gear can lead to unexpected creative breakthroughs. This approach forces you to think outside the box and find beauty in the constraints.
3. Simplify gear usage: This is, in a way, connected to the previous point. By restricting yourself to a single camera or lens, you eliminate distractions and focus more on the creative aspects of photography. This discipline promotes a deeper understanding of your tools and enhances your compositional skills.
4. Critically assess your own work: Of course, this doesn’t mean telling yourself that you suck. However, self-analysis is crucial, as well as staying objective while doing it. Regularly review your work to understand what works and what doesn’t. Ted encourages you to ask tough questions about your work to identify areas you can work on.
5. Draw inspiration from diverse sources: Inspiration is everywhere, and it doesn’t only need to come from other photographers. Ted suggests looking beyond the camera and exploring other art forms, like paintings, sculptures, or movies. This is something I rely on, as well as music, which can inspire me a lot, even though it’s not visual art. But whichever art forms you prefer, they can spark new ideas and perspectives in your photographic work.
6. Learn from mentors and workshops: You can accelerate your learning curve by seeking mentors or attending photography workshops. Learning from experienced photographers provides invaluable insights and can significantly enhance your skills and understanding of the art.
7. Engage with the community: Participation in photography communities, both in-person and online, is beneficial for growth. Sharing your work, receiving feedback, and engaging in discussions can open new doors of understanding and creativity. I’d say this is related to the previous tip. For example, when I joined a photography club, I met many masters of photography who were way better and more experienced than me. I learned a lot from them, and the comments from all the club members meant a lot for a better understanding of my own work and photography in general.
8. Undertake projects and challenges: Ted suggests setting specific photography projects or challenges for yourself. This focused approach allows you to explore themes or techniques in depth, leading to a more cohesive and refined body of work. Since the New Year is coming, perhaps now is a good time to start something like a 52-week challenge or come up with your own photography project for 2024.
9. Commit to structured learning: Finally, Ted recommends structured learning experiences like online courses or in-person workshops. Personally, I enjoy them because I lack structure in life and am terribly disorganized, working in bursts of energy. If you’re anything like me, these structured settings will help you with focused learning and significantly impact your photography and your discipline.
Of course, there are many more ways to grow as a person and an artist. Still, Ted’s insightful tips can be an excellent guide on this journey. They can help you get started if you’re feeling a little stuck, and I’m sure they’ll ultimately help you enjoy your photographic journey even more.
Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.