If you want your images to progress beyond “point and click,” you will need to spend some time developing your photographic eye – the ability to view your surroundings and identify unique opportunities to create fantastic images.
Although some of us may be born with an innate ability to create artistic images, the rest of us need to practice, learn, and develop over time. Even the best photographers continually hone their skills, so don’t be hard on yourself if the process of learning how to take great photos takes some time.
Here are some tips for developing your photographic eye:
1. Learn your equipment: You may be able to “see” a fantastic image, but not have the ability to tell your camera how to capture it. Consider taking an online or local course to learn more about your camera’s capabilities.
2. Practice “seeing”: Head outside with your camera, walk down the street, and take at least one interesting photo every 10 feet or so. By looking often through the lens you can learn to identify interesting image opportunities that you may not typically see.
3. Learn what makes a great photo: There are many artistic elements that can be used to create better images – the rule of thirds, balance, focal point, etc. – make an effort to learn about these and apply them to your photos. Check back here often for a regular series covering photography basics to help you get started.
4. Learn from the best: Art students learn how to make great art by studying the masters. Likewise, if you want to improve your photography you should consider going to galleries, picking up magazines, or simply looking online at great photos for inspiration.
Finally, take a lot of photos! While you may look at a professional photographer’s images and think “how did they do that?” the fact is that there are probably thousands of other images that they chose not to display – by taking a lot of photos (and incorporating the above tips) you’ll have a much better chance of coming up with fantastic images.