I think it is fair to say that I am not going to achieve a level of fame where the weekend paper life style sections want a pithy one page interview with me and thoughts on photography. But if they did, it would be something like this...
Treat photographers like musicians
In other words, get to know their genre, current and back catalogue. It's not only enjoyable, it actually starts to feed in to and improve your own images. To get started, go through the Magnum photographers' galleries and feast your soul there. Alternatively, you could enjoy the images of musicians taken by John Morgan
The web is great, but the printed page is better
The majority of the images you look at will be on some sort of screen, which is understandable. A book however, gives you a tactile, closer relationship with the images the screen just can't match. A real beauty is the recent Martin Parr compendium if you want to put it to the test.
Better still, buy the book after visiting the exhibition
It's like going to see them live and listening to the CD later.
Ditch the zoom and get a fixed prime lens
I've spent so much time and money expanding my optical options only to come full circle and realise for street and portraiture work, I only need one lens - a 35mm prime. If I need to get closer or further away I now move my feet.
Try and do something everyday
To improve in any activity, practice, practice and more practice is required. It's heartening to read books like Matthew Syed's Bounce and Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers argue 10,000hours of practice leads to greatness rather than just innate talent. To practice more I needed to stop thinking photography as an appointment hobby , i.e. weekend after next I'm going out to use my camera, to one where a camera is with me most of the time. For some that might be a smart phone, for me it meant buying another camera small enough to carry but still high in image quality.
Don't get hung up on effects
I've noticed for some people when they get in to photography they aim for techniques such as light trails and slow shutter wire wool burning shots for their wow factor ( I hold my hands up - I was no different). Yes, they can look spectacular, but after a while they just become , well, a bit boring really.
Can't tell which one of the 17 near identical images you like the most? Well, don't display them all for us to decide. Hard as it might be choose just the one, as for every near identical image you add the original impact decreases dramatically.
A forced smile is like a faked male orgasm...
...its easy to spot and nobody leaves feeling great. An honest expression will always make for a better portrait compared to a forced grin.
Till next time...