One of the things I try to do at the start of every year is to look back over the photographs I’ve taken in the previous year.
I do this for 2 main reasons:
- Firstly: I like view to them with fresh eyes and form an opinion on whether or not I think they are any good. After every safari I spend ages sorting through the images I have taken and deciding which ones are worthy of showing off and which are not. After I’ve made that selection there will often be a period of months when I only look at and work with the selected photographs; simply because they are a manageable number. So when I go back and look through last year’s work I often find that images I haven’t looked at for months leap out at me; making me wonder how I overlooked them first time around. In part this is due to the fact that I’ve become so familiar with my ‘selected’ images that these ‘forgotten’ ones appear new and fresh. I also find that the intervening months allow me to appreciate alternate shots of particular subjects.
- Secondly: I want to see how my skills are progressing. Am I still taking the same sort of photographs and making the same mistakes or have I actually learned and improved over the year.
I was in the middle of this exercise when I found an article by Jeff Carlson on Lynda.com entitled
“How to Be a Better Photographer (Hint: It’s Not Your Camera)”.
Carlson makes some very simple, but very relevant, suggestions that all of us could benefit from.
Look at your current photo library
If you want to learn how to be a better photographer, then evaluate how you see the world. Although you may end up purchasing new gear, start by looking at and thinking about your current photography.
Consider the types of photos you want to make
Just as important as evaluating what’s in your photo library is determining what’s missing. What photos do you want to make? Maybe your next step to being a better photographer is to go create the types of images that catch your eye.
A journey has a beginning and an end. You need to know where you are starting out from and where you are intending to finish. Otherwise, how will you know when you get there?
Your development as a photographer is no different. If you know the kind of images you’ve been taking and you know the kind of images you want to take then it should be possible to work out how to make that journey.