We’ve shared many tips with you on this blog but this one is the big one. The one that should be at the top of your list at all times. It has nothing to do with gear, lenses, camera settings or even lighting.
The most important photography tip to improve your images this summer as well as year round is: STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE!
That’s it. Well, that’s not IT but it’s the general idea.
The following are 5 ways to make sure you step out of that comfy spot you’re in as a photographer and step onto that milestone you’ve been looking for throughout your career. The fact of the matter is that if you gather all your images in one place and laid them out side by side, you’d realize one very important detail. The majority of your images look the same. Now that’s not always a bad thing. Whether you’ve just started taking pictures as a hobby or you’ve been doing it for decades professionally, you’re bound to develop your own style. Your style is a good thing. However, it can also keep you from growing artistically.
So how, you may ask, does one step out of their comfort zone when it comes to photography?
1. Same Place, Different Time – Take a look at your best images and try to remember what time of day you captured them. Then, go back to the same place you snapped that photo only this time, go there 12 hours later. Then go back, 6 hours earlier. 6 hours later. Whether the image was taken outdoors or indoors you are bound to capture it differently at different times of day. Either the lighting will be different, the mood will have changed, or the people or objects won’t be the same. Try it and see what happens.
2. Be Specific – Put some thought into each image you take. Think about the days when we only had 24 or 36 frames per film roll. Each image captured was considered precious. I’m not saying go back to shooting film (but if you want to you can) just think about each image as if you only had 24 or 36 frames allotted to your picture taking that day. You’d be amazed how much creativity will emerge when you slow down and calm that trigger finger a bit.
3. Use a New Piece of Equipment – Emphasis on “New” here. If you normally work with natural light then try using a flash for an entire day. If you’ve never used a bounce card before, take one out with a friend and see how many ways you can manipulate natural light. Shoot only macro for a month. Rent a fish-eye for a week. The options available to you are virtually endless.
4. Get Off the Beaten Path, Literally – We all have our favorite places to capture images. Mine is the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But if we’re to step out of our comfort zone, we have to force ourselves to visit places we’ve never been before. You can either plan a trip abroad or simply make a left turn instead of the right you always take. Take the long way home. Walk through the trees at the park. Just keep your camera ready to capture each surprise you encounter along the way.
5. Shoot in Bad Weather – Summer is an especially tempting time to only go out when the sun is shining. But next time you hear of a storm closing in, why not grab your gear (and the appropriate cover) and head to the beach? “Beaches are a great place to go right before or after a storm, the ominous clouds and rolling fog create dramatic scenes. But try not to change lenses in sandy, windy, and wet conditions, there is a good chance that you’ll end up with debris inside your camera or lens.”