There are many ways to practice the art of photography but the Guru exercise is one of the most important. Why do I call it the Guru exercise? Because its indeed can transform an average photographer into a photography guru.
Photography skills, like abdomen muscles, are easy to train. Exercise them twice a week, follow expert’s recommendations, and soon all your friends will be showering you with compliments. Frankly speaking, photography is way more advantageous than fitness. First of all, photographers can eat whatever they want. Second, many beautiful people are dying to become acquainted with them. Most importantly, all acquired benefits won’t turn into fat if you don’t practice for a while. Once you become a great photographer, you stay great forever.
Now, let me tell you how to achieve this greatness:
1. Of course, you have to practice. Make it part of your weekly routine and set repetitive “Date with my camera” notes on your calendar. It is good to know photography theory, but even if you recite all the classical rules every evening as a prayer, it won’t be as helpful as real experience.
There are so many unexpected technical nuances. Practice and train until all of your camera settings and setups become natural and automatic, and nothing will distract you from the artistic part of your shot.
2. Become friends with other photographers. Find other amateurs that are addicted to the sound of the shutter click. These camera junkies won’t let you spend a lazy weekend on a couch, they’ll pull you out to the swamps to practice taking portraits of newborn tadpoles.
Together, you will discover new methods and approaches, and you can also share your photography gear. Learning is so much more fun when you have like-minded company.
3. If you can distinguish a good photo from a great photo, you are qualified to become a great photographer. The next step is to understand why a great photo is great. This is a very important exercise. I call it the Guru exercise because it indeed can transform an average photographer into a photography guru.
Go to any photograph-centric website (my favorite is 500px.com), pick one outstanding photo and try to analyze what exactly it is that makes the photo outstanding. It can be a combination of colors, a model’s charming and dynamic posture, a whimsical reflection in the model’s eyes, or even the presence of a mysterious fog.
Try to avoid intangible generalizations, for example, describing “the spirit of freedom” or “magic of love.”
Instead, try to come up with realistic, specifically descriptive classifications such as “beautiful reflections in models eyes.
If the photo is truly a masterpiece, then you probably will be able to list many criteria for why the photograph stands out to you.
Why to go through all this trouble? So you will learn what it takes to take a great photo :) and create your own masterpiece.
First we analyze, then we utilize!
Examine at least 10 photos every week and soon this habit will become natural to you. You will find yourself scrutinizing a picture on a billboard, or a book cover in a bookstore. I not only analyze, I save all the great photographs I stumble upon, so I can come back to them later and refresh my memory.
There are so many other ways to study the sacred art of photography, such as classes at photography schools, reading magazines and tutorials, volunteering for a professional photographer, etc. Do not limit yourself with the ones I’ve suggested but remember they are among the most important on your way to success. If you’re ready to become a world-renowned, award-winning photographer, open your calendar and add regular photography exercises to your schedule.
Take some great photos!