When you see the work of great photographers, you possibly wonder how do they manage to do it. What magic is enabling them to create these masterpieces? You might think that success lies in having the right gear, professional models, enough money to travel around the world, and of course talent. But the truth is that behind every great photographer is a huge amount of passion, hundreds of hours of practice, and some simple secrets. So obviously, it's not about expensive gear (some photographers use an analog camera, proclaiming the independence from technology). It's not about traveling to exotic places and photographing famous people. It's about how much you love what you do and how you grow your creativity.
Creativity comes naturally to some people. But if it's not developed and maintained properly it may vanish during the struggle with procrastination. The good thing is that you can boost your creativity and find a source of inspiration for everyday practice.
Great composition is essential in photography. What you put in the frame and how you put it, determines the success or the failure of your images. If all your pictures are in landscape format and taken at your eye level than it's time to make some changes. Challenge yourself to get outside your comfort zone, try to impose yourself temporary rules. For example, try not to use the landscape format for a couple of days. Another good practice is to make monochrome compositions. Black and white photography helps you better observe the shapes and the geometric elements. To add even more inspiration, try using some special effects, like Luminar's splash effect. It allows you to keep the color of a certain object, while everything else is in grayscale.
Creativity needs inspiration. A visit to a botanical garden may give you some ideas. Take a long walk in the city. Even a local fair, a traditional market or a touristic landmark may be a good source of inspiration. Visit art museums, galleries, and photography exhibitions. Most people react to art, but it doesn't necessarily have to be paintings or photography. You may be inspired by classical music, jazz, theater or movies. It's important to expose yourself to art in any form.
Learning is always a good idea. Photography courses became fashionable lately. Among dozens of online classes for beginners, you can find some worthwhile courses and tutorials. Amazing photographers like Albert Watson and Annie Leibovitz teach technical classes, but also offer mentorship, portfolio reviews, and insights. From the master classes, you'll find out how to minimize the photo editing process. You'll find out that style and patience are the most important qualities of a photographer while technicalities are left to an image editor. For example, lightroom plugins can solve many of the basic adjustments, while you focus on finding your inner voice.
Scheduled photo sessions are good, but photographing unexpected events is even better. Take a camera with you or at least a smartphone with a decent camera. A photographer is an observer. Street photography and travel photography are based on snapshots. Be prepared and keep your eyes opened. Ingenuous female poses, candid children games, dramatic events, wildlife pictures, they all happen spontaneously. You have to be there and feel the moment. Some photographers choose a place and wait for something to happen. They believe in the magic of that place and can 'feel' a good shot. Doing snapshots is also a good practice. It helps you to get acquainted with your camera and change the settings fast.
To make your pictures standout, filters may be a great help. They aren't expensive or hard to use. Their functions are limited, but you can use up to two or three filters at the same time. The most common filters are the circular polarizing filter, the neutral density filter, and the color enhancing filter.
Photography is an art, even if today we all have a camera in our pocket. The biggest mistake you can make is to think that Camera will resolve everything. Sure, you have some amazing image editors, and cameras Henri Cartier Bresson wouldn't have dreamed about. But the secret weapons behind a great photographer are creativity, dedication, and motivation.