How to: Take Better Photos – Mindset

We’re going to start off our photography lessons by getting into the right mindset, and to do that you’re going to stop taking pictures. What? You heard me–taking pictures is what your aunt does at birthday parties. You, my friend, are making photographs. Yes, that sounds unbearably pretentious, but try it out. Photography is an art form! I know this because I spent a few years in art school and that is what they told me. However, snapshots : fine art photography :: house painting : Rembrandt. That’s not actually true though, because painting houses is hard work that actually takes skill, unlike taking terrible snapshots.

Anyone can accidentally take a good photo. Those cats with cameras strapped to their necks manage a good shot every once in a while. But having opposable thumbs means that you should aim higher than that.

Patience Is a Virtue

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my weapon of choice in video games is a sniper rifle. Killing bandits and taking photos use many similar skills: you have to wait, watch, and pay attention. I’m not saying you have to sit in a deer blind all day to get a good shot, but pause, look, exhale, and then pull the trigger.

Quantity Will Lead to Quality

Then pull that trigger thirty more times, because one of those photos is going to be better than all the others, but you won’t know which one it is until you’ve taken them all. Shoot them all and let editing sort them out. As a beginner, your goal should be to get one good photo out of thirty or forty. I’m dead serious, and memory is cheap–there’s nothing holding you back (assuming you’re using a digital camera).

Don’t worry, we’ll have a lesson on editing. For now, though, just get out there and make some photographs.


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