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Whether you take photos of your kiddos, pets, home, or everyday life, you could probably use some improvement on your photography. Photography is always changing, and now that we have smartphones that take better photos than over half of the cameras on the market, it’s more important than ever. Today I want to share three ways you can up your own photography skills, no professional training required.
1. Stalk Instagram
One way I get better at my own photography is by stalking Instagram accounts and hashtags.
One thing that can really help is to save photos you like in folders within Instagram. Like Pinterest, you can create folders (called Collections) in IG and you can group them just like Pinterest boards. I have collections for home inspiration, styling inspiration, natural poses (for people), pet photo inspiration, and color inspiration. While I’m swiping around IG, if I see something I’d like to recreate I save it to a collection. Then if I’m struggling to get the right photo later, I can refer back to that collection.
2. Understand Editing
Honestly, phones take great pictures. So don’t fret if you don’t have a fancy schmancy DSLR. I have one of those big bad cameras, but ever since I got the newest iPhone, I haven’t even taken the camera out of the closet. And while the phone and camera both take great quality photos, I can take them to the next level with editing.
Don’t think it’s cheating. It’s totally not. Think of the unedited photos as your face. Already beautiful, but a little dash of powder to adjust the shine and a little swipe of mascara to sharpen your lashes just give your face that extra oomph. That’s what editing photos is like. Just keep in mind that there is such thing as too much editing. If your images start to look washed out, grainy, or the colors start to look a little wonky, you’ve taken it a little too far.
When it comes to editing software, on my laptop I prefer Photoshop for hard core editing and PicMonkey for small-scale photo boosts. On my phone, I usually edit within the Instagram app for easy brightness updates and A Color Story for bigger fixes.
3. Invest In Education
Photography skills aren’t something you’re born with. You have to learn and you have to practice. You can take classes at local colleges and museums, but these are usually a little pricey. If you’re trying to become a professional, then by all means, go for that and get professional training. But if you’re just trying to take better photos of your puppy or the plants in your kitchen, you don’t need to head out to the University Of WhereEver and enroll.
There are lots of great online courses you can take for around a hundred dollars that will teach you the basics of general photography. Some courses are even based specifically around certain cameras or even iPhones. I also love getting tips and ideas from the Digital Photography School blog.
Really Want To Up Your Photog Game?
Seriously, the best way to get better at photography is to just do it. You’ve got to practice. You’ve got to study. And you’ve got to get inspired. Some of my best photos were taken after I saw a great image in a magazine. Some of my best styling was mimicked after a store showroom display.
And don’t expect your first shot to be perfect either. I usually take a couple of photos, sit down and look at them, decide what should be moved around and how the lighting should be adjusted, then I go back and take more photos. I can safely say that my first ten to twelve shots go straight into the trash folder. Trial and error goes a long, long way.
If you saw my holiday home tour I shared in December, would you believe that it took me two days to get all those shots? I had to wait for the best sunlight, move things from room to room, and stuff extra things in the garage…but the results turned out amazing.
Do you have a great photography tip? I’d love for you to share it below in the comments to help us all out!
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