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15 Tips to Become a Better Photographer

You may have found yourself struggling with photography and wondering how you can improve. No worries! The Nerdy Photographer is here with tips to become a better photographer and improve your photography skills!

1. Stop Worrying About Gear

Every photographer experiences gear envy at some point or another. Especially if you spend any amount of time on social media looking at a bunch of photographers’ setups. However, one of the most important tips to become a better photographer is to remember is that you don’t need a bunch of fancy gear.

tips to become a better photographer improve photography skills forget about camera gear
Photo by Alex Andrews on

In fact, you will probably find yourself being more creative when your gear is limited (more on that later).

2. Shoot in Manual

I know it seems scary, but you will learn so much about photography from really thinking about your settings. It doesn’t have to be as difficult as you make it out in your head. Remember, there are only three settings that you have to adjust!

person holding film strip
Photo by Markus Spiske on

3. Deliberately Limit Yourself

Putting limitations on what you can do is a great way to force yourself to think creatively. One of my favorite techniques is to limit myself to a certain number of exposures. This takes me back to my film photography days, and forces me to really think about which shots I am taking.

However, that’s not the only way you can limit yourself. Here are some other possibilities:

  • Only shoot indoors
  • Only photograph in black & white
  • Only shoot outdoors
  • Only shoot at night
  • Only shoot with available light
  • Only photograph strangers
  • Only take self-portraits

4. Learn About Composition

There are a lot of rules of composition (the Rule of Thirds, Golden Ratio, etc.) and you certainly don’t have to memorize them all. However, knowing a few of them can definitely help improve your photos.

rule of thirds composition tips to improve your photography skills
The Rule of Thirds

And when you know the rules, then you can break them!

5. Shoot RAW

I know this is a giant debate, but I really don’t understand it. RAW images give you much more flexibility in post production. By having the information available to you in those files, you can do a lot more to process your images into the style you envision in your head.

Also, storage is pretty cheap these days. I paid the same amount of money for a 128 gigabyte SD card recently as I did for a 128 megabyte compact flash card when they came out.

6. Know Your Equipment

It’s important to really know your gear. The more familiar you are with your equipment, the easier you will be able to work when the pressure is on.

tips to become a better photographer improve photography skills
Photo by Lachlan Ross on

Familiarize yourself with your camera, including all of the menu layouts and buttons. Get comfortable with your lighting gear. Know how to set it up quickly and efficiently. Get to know your lenses and what types of photos they are best suited to take. Then you can switch things up on purpose.

7. Shoot Under Different Lighting Conditions

You are not always going to have the best lighting conditions. Yes, “Golden Hour” pictures are naturally going to look better without a lot of effort from you, the photographer. However, lighting conditions are not always going to be perfect.

Figuring out how to overcome poor lighting conditions will make you a better photographer. If you only work under the most optimal conditions, you set yourself up for failure when things don’t go your way.

8. Study Other Photographers

When I started out, I read every book I could find on photography. Furthermore, I would study those photos. In my head, I would break down the directions of the lighting, composition, posing, etc.

female with instant camera against blue sky
Photo by Ike louie Natividad on

Looking at the work of other photographers added to my photography foundation. Don’t merely look at the photos. Study them!

9. Change Your Perspective

Move around! Change your position. Get up high or down low. Changing your perspective and seeing the photo from a different angle can really inspire your creativity.

low angle photo of four high rise curtain wall buildings under white clouds and blue sky
Photo by Philipp Birmes on

10. Take Pictures in a Studio Setting

As I mentioned earlier, shooting under changing lighting conditions can help you improve and become a better photographer. But it is equally important to take photos under conditions that you completely control yourself.

11. Work With Everyday Subjects

Anybody can make an interesting or unique subject look great. However, if you take the time to make the mundane interesting, you will teach yourself a lot about composition and styling.

12. Watch Movies and TV with a Critical Eye

Just like looking at the work of other photographers, you can watch movies with an eye towards composition and lighting as well.

tips to become a better photographer
Photo by Leon Macapagal on

13. Experiment With New Techniques

If you clicked on an article of tips to become a better photographer, you’re obviously looking to improve your skills. That means adding more techniques to your tool box.

It can be very easy to fall into the rut of only shooting one particular way. It feels comfortable. However, trying something different will not only teach you new skills, it will help you see potential photos in a different way.

14. Spend Time Learning Photo Editing Software

Photographers spend just as much time editing as they do taking pictures. Sit down and spend time learning how to use whatever image editing software you edit with.

You spend more time working with your editing software than you do your cameras. So why don’t you spend time practicing and honing your editing skills? The more familiar you become with your editing software, the more time you will save yourself in the long run by being able to quickly edit your photos.

15. Learn to Value Yourself!!

One of the best tips I can give you to become a better photographer is to value yourself in the photographic process and in general. Too many times I see photographers get down on themselves because of any number of reasons. Maybe they think they don’t have the gear to create great photos. Perhaps they think that no one will like who they are and therefore not hire them. It’s possible they don’t feel like they are outgoing enough to succeed in an industry that, these days at least, focuses so much on being visible on social media.

But you must remember, you are the most important component of taking great photos. You need to remember that YOU HAVE VALUE!

Do You Think These Tips Will Improve Your Photography Skills?

I hope you found these tips to become a better photographer helpful. Also, creating content that is genuinely helpful and improve your photography skills is why I created this website.

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The Nerdy Photographer

With more than a quarter century as a professional photographer, The Nerdy Photographer's goal is to spread knowledge and laughter throughout the photo industry. Please follow along on social media and subscribe to the podcast.

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