For anyone who would like to take envy-worthy photos, I have good news for you: You can.
No one is born with a “good eye.” The talent to take exceptional photos is learned.
If you want to take better photos, here are five ways to unleash your own photography talent…
1. Take your camera everywhere.
Fit in little opportunities to practice — perhaps on your subway commute to work, or go for a photo walk at lunch.
On rainy day trips or night drives, I practice photographing rain on the windshield or light trails while my husband drives.
Play and have fun, because the more you practice, the better you will get. Think carefully before clicking. Is your subject in focus? Is it on the thirds line, following the “rule of thirds?” Is there a tree sticking out the top of your subject’s head? (If yes, move your camera until it’s not.)
2. Break it down and practice one technique at a time.
Understanding comes incrementally, and you cannot “get” everything all at once. Spend a day focusing on one technique before moving on to try something else. You’ll be surprised how naturally it will come to you before long.
3. Browse through websites, magazines, and even junk mail.
I spend as much time looking at magazine ads for inspiration as I do reading articles. Study photos you like, and try to figure out why you like them—notice the angles, lighting, focus, color, and trends.
I like to keep a cut file of these photos to inspire ideas for styles, poses, lighting, and creativity. You can then go out and try recreating what you like, adding your own ideas and putting your own spin on it.
4. Tell stories.
Why are you taking this particular photo? If you don’t know why, your photo buyer won’t either.
A collection of photos from the same shoot can create a bigger story, so work the angles and details to add to your story.
I like to think of it like creating a scrapbook page. For instance, on a weekend at the cottage, you might take a wide-angle shot of the kids jumping off the dock, with the lake and dock surrounding them. Then you could take a more close-up shot of one child jumping against a blue sky, and follow up with some details, such as colorful towels hanging on the deck rail, a close-up of swim fins and snorkels on the shore, and maybe a big splash.
Follow up with a photo of the kids huddled in their towels or sitting with their feet dangling. This way, each photo is a standalone, but together they make a great grouping for a scrapbook page.
And the same type of grouping that would make a great scrapbook page would also be a great grouping for a magazine article, event photography or stock.
5. Get feedback
The best way to learn is to get feedback on your work. I went to a live event but maybe you can use this program, here. It helps to know when you’re on the right track or if you need to move.
Finally, here are some more tips from freelance writer Kyle Wagner on becoming a successful freelance photographer.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about how you can fund your travels and make an extra income with photography, travel writing, blogging, and more in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel. Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Five Fun Ways To Get Paid To Travel: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.]