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  • Writer's pictureKareema Ismail

Five ways I Improved My Photography

Updated: Nov 1, 2018

We have all been there, scrolling through our favourite photographer's feed eyeballing their wonderful photos wondering how on earth they got so talented. Well don't worry you're not alone, I still kind of do that today...

I'm going to share five tips on what I did to improve my photography when I first started out and how I took my photography to the next level. If you are a seasoned photographer you probably don't need to read this, however feel free to share your tips in the comments section below.

Before and After

1. I started using manual mode.

It's all well and dandy taking pictures on automatic mode and calling yourself a photographer but you will never be able take your photography to the next level using auto mode. I promise learning how to manipulate your Shutter Speed, ISO and Aperture will make a huge difference to your photos. Research the Exposure Triangle, you can thank me later. Don't worry if it seems confusing at first, it took me quite a few attempts to master it. So keep practising and before you know it, you will become a pro at being able to set exactly what settings you need according to your environment.

2. I watched a lot of youtube tutorials.

I remember thinking that I have to pay a lot of money to go on photography courses and then I came across the wonderful world of youtube tutorials. Photography tutorials on Youtube are free and there are so many to choose from. I found two really cool channels on Youtube that helped me learn many new skills. They are fun to watch, easy to understand and follow along. I also found my self getting inspired to shoot every time I watched one of their videos and saw their work. I would recommend you check out Jessica Kobeissi and Mango Street.

3. I learnt how to use lighting to my advantage.

It's very important to understand how lighting can affect your photos and how to use it to your advantage. I personally started practising with natural light in all types of weather situations and mastered that before I moved on to use lighting equipment. At first I started off creating really harsh photos because I didn't understand where to place the subject according to the light source or how to work with shadows etc. The beauty of photography is that there are no rules when it comes to creativity. So learn to play with light however you like, create a certain mood for your photos and tell a story. Practice how to use manual mode in different lighting situations and you may even discover your unique style.

4. I played around with editing software.

Editing is my favourite part of photography. I remember when I first started taking photos using my phone and then I would get excited to go home to use all the editing apps on my phone. I then upgraded when I got gifted my first camera and started using Adobe Lightroom to edit my photos. This was a game changer for me, I practised and watched (YouTube) tutorials and slowly started to develop my own style of editing. At first my editing style would consistently change and that is ok, you improve as you go along and learn new tips. Sometimes I would see someone's instagram picture and wonder how they got their picture to look like that and would challenge my self to create a similar look. The more you play around with each setting and slider you will understand the way it works. However, it's easy to get carried away just don't over do it!

5. I took as many photos as possible.

I can't stress this point enough, if you want to improve you need to have something to improve on, duh. I used to take walks with my camera and take photos of anything and everything. This helped me get to know my camera and play with different settings. Although the photos I was taking were questionable at the time, I have my old self to thank because my photos today are pretty awesome. Set yourself a challenge to take a certain amount of photos each week and review them against the previous week. Ask for feedback from someone whose work you value and don't be shy to put your work out there.

Please let me know if any of these tips were helpful, or if you have any questions please leave them below :)

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