Now, that question could mean different things to different people and I answered him as best as I could according to what I knew about him and my own thoughts on the subject.
My short answer would be – practice and learn every day and trust your instincts.
Below are six more ways to take your photography to the next level.
1. Review your images from the past year. Pick your 10 favourites and decide what makes them work.
Is the subject clear? How does the composition – lines, light, shapes, texture, perspective – contribute to its success? How is the eye drawn around the image? Does it tell a story or evoke an emotion?
Just by identifying these things in your mind, you’re training yourself to see better when out photographing.
2. Know your camera.
The great thing about the Internet is that you can usually find the answer to any technical question you have (and for free). Digital Photography School is a valuable resource I would recommend and they also offer weekly challenges.
3. Photograph daily (or as much as possible) with a contemplative mindset.
This means, don’t photograph with any agenda in mind or subject to photograph. Experience your day, pay attention, and notice what draws you. Then, don’t judge what you see or worry whether anyone else will find it interesting. Trust your instincts. This will help you find your own vision.
A 365-day project is a great way to develop this daily photography habit.
4. Download an e-book from Craft & Vision (or somewhere else).
I have many of the Craft & Vision e-books. They are an incredible value and always teach me something new; especially useful if you actually DO the exercises suggested.
5. Attend a weekend or week-long workshop.
My photography seems to leap forward when I do this and there’s nothing like spending focused time on photography with other photographers. I highly recommend Freeman Patterson’s workshops, as well as Santa Fe workshops.
Of course, I’d love for you to join me for an in-person workshop as well. I have three coming up this year.
6. Study the masters.
Which photographers inspire you the most? Study their work and their lives. I think you’ll find that some of the qualities you admire in them, you also have in you. I’ve written about several of my favourites on this blog – Minor White, Robert Frank, and Tina Modotti, to name three.
Before taking my first photography class, I read about the life of Ansel Adams. I was drawn to his black and white images of wilderness areas – yes – but more importantly, the way he lived his life with passion and integrity. He was a photographer, musician, writer, and activist, but most of all he was a communicator.
How do you take your photography to the next level?