10 Tips for Finding Your Photography Mojo

Are you frustrated that your photography doesn’t turn out the way you want it to? I’ve got 10 tips that will help you get more out of your camera – whether you’re using a smartphone or a fancier equipment:
  1. Get like minded mates to go on a photo walk – preferably somewhere with interesting architecture, street art or views (if you’re in Manchester the Northern Quarter is fantastic). It’s more fun when you collaborate and also then there’s people on hand to take photos of you.

    Photography A recent photo walk I did in the Northern Quarter
    A recent photo walk I did in the Northern Quarter
  2. Download the VSCO app on your phone – it’s free (although you can buy additional filters). This app will CHANGE your life. It really helps to make your photos pop. There’s a lot of YouTube videos out there to explain how it works.
  3. Read articles like this to give you pointers on photography rules to follow. Many are so simple and and make a big difference.
  4. Cropping and straightening your photos can drastically improve them. A photo that may have started off out of balance, too busy and wonky can get transformed in seconds. You can also retrospectively apply photography rules like ‘rule of thirds’ when you crop.
  5. Do a ‘Year of Mornings‘ photography project.  A delightful project invented by two American friends that requires you to take one photo every morning for a year.  It will push you to make the most mundane things look interesing.  I’ve been doing it with my friend Debbie – we WhatsApp each other once a day with that day’s photo – it’s holds us accountable and it’s lovely to share the experience with a friend. Here’s a couple of the photos I’ve taken on my project:
    photography 365 day photography project
    365 day photography project

    photography 365 day photography project
    365 day photography project
  6. Take trips to places that are beautiful to get your creative juices flowing. The other Saturday I deliberately went to the Lyme Park Orangery on the edge of the Peak District because I knew I’d be inspired and the photos would take themselves.

    Photography Lyme Park Orangery
    Lyme Park Orangery
  7. Emulate the photos of your heros.  I love Susan Earlam’s photography on Instagram – she is particularly good at botanical photos and she does fantastic self portrait poses in front of walls  – I’ve taken a lot of inspiration from her.  If you’d like to find out more about Susan – check out my recent interview with her.
  8. Talking of self portraiture – I’d really recommend giving it a go. Whether that’s experimenting with the timer on your smartphone camera or taking photos of yourself in the mirror.  I think it’s a lovely way of getting more comfortable with yourself in front of the camera.  And bonus, you can make sure the photo is as flattering as possible.
  9. Take the same photo from lots of different angles until you get the dream shot.  I’ve spent a lot time doing this on my Year of Mornings project.  I’ll take the damn photo of that candle 25 times if I need to – because I know eventually I’ll get the golden angle.
  10.  Observe light – notice when it’s casting interesting shadows and jump on it. Work out which rooms in your house have the best light and at what times of day – it’s all useful information for future snapping.
    photography This bookcase in my bedroom gets some fantastic light in the afternoon
    This bookcase in my bedroom gets some fantastic light in the afternoon

    If any of you want to come and put these techniques into practice, why not join me for Instacake on Sunday 11th November?   It’s a meet up for Instagrammers – first we’ll eat cake at Rapha cafe and have a natter, then we’ll go on a photo walk in Manchester.

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