5 Exercises To Improve Your Photography

Do you want to improve your photography? Are you looking for cost-free methods to improve that don’t take a lot of time or technical expertise?

With a few simple exercises you can begin to drastically improve your photography. Understanding the technical side of things helps, but great photography is also about practice. The more you shoot with intention, the more you will see your photography improve.

Here are 5 Intentional Exercises To Improve Your Photography

I’d recommend you pick one, practice it for a week, and then move on to the next.

Shoot One Thing, Many Ways

There are many different ways to see any subject. If you are shooting one photo from a standing position, you are missing out on more creative angles. Take a calculated approach to your subject and you will end up with unexpected results.

  1. Begin by shooting from a standing position.
  2. Move above your subject.
  3. Move behind your subject.
  4. Move lower.
  5. Move higher
  6. Move to the right.
  7. Move to the left.
  8. Take a step closer.
  9. Take a step back.

You now have 9 unique perspectives of your subject. Do this every time you shoot. You are forced to slow down to think more intentionally about hitting all nine.

If you are photographing kids, animals, or adults who may not want to sit through 7 angles, pick one or two that you don’t typically use. Work within the limitations your subject presents!

Look On The Light Side

You know photography is about light, so it’s helpful if you can see the light. Begin by walking around your house in the morning, midday, and late afternoon. Notice the direction the light comes through your windows. Notice which rooms have the most light. Often your best light is in an unexpected place like the bathroom or laundry room or even with the front door open.

Take note of the color of light and its intensity. Look for light places where light is indirect.

Once you’ve studies the light in your home, step outside. Watch the light for the same qualities of

  • Direction
  • Color
  • Intensity
  • Quantity

Go On A Photo Walk…With Limits

I love taking a photo walk, whether it is simply down my street or an adventure through a new town. The photo walk I’m suggesting though, isn’t just any photo walk. Take a photo walk and allow yourself to shoot only 10 frames in 60 minutes.

Yes! 10 frames in 60 minutes.

You will be forced to slow down and think very intentionally about when you click the shutter. You’ll be forced to look and angles and light.

When I follow this exercise I find myself seeing more opportunities for photographs. I slow down, notice details and angles that I wouldn’t have seen.

Play With Shutter Speed

I love technical play with my camera. I love knowing how the buttons and dials work to help create an image. Understanding shutter speed is your ticket to sharp photos.

  1. Find a moving subject. Water coming out of an outside hose works well for this exercise. A child willing to jump over and over can work as well.
  2. Place your camera on Shutter Priority (S or TV) on your mode dial.
  3. Shoot at the fastest shutter speed you can.
  4. Shoot at the slowest. (Grab your tripod or place your camera on a steady surface for the best results.)
  5. Work your way through the shutter speeds in between. ┬áIf you move at three clicks of your dial, you’ll move through full stops of shutter speed.
  6. View your photos and see what results you like.

When shooting your everyday life, try to think through your shutter speeds more intentionally. Focus on which is best for your situation.

Play With Aperture

I love aperture play. Your aperture is the setting that gives you either the blurry background of a shallow depth of field or the crisp focus of a deep depth of field. Understanding aperture helps to up the creativity in your everyday photos.

  1. Place your mode dial on Aperture Priority (A or AV).
  2. Set your aperture to the smallest number (aka the widest f/stop). This will give you the blurriest background and the smallest amount of your subject in focus.
  3. Click your aperture dial three times to “close down” your aperture to the next stop.
  4. Continue to do that, shooting at each stop.
  5. You may need to steady your camera or use a tripod as you move through f/11 and higher. These apertures bring in the smallest amount of light, slowing your shutter speed.
  6. Look at your results to see which you like.

In your everyday shooting, work on shooting with a different aperture than you typically use. Even a small adjustment in your aperture can substantially change the results of your photos.

With a little intention you can improve the photographs you take of your everyday life. Knowing what to look for and how you can adjust your camera’s settings can help move what you see to what you capture.

Do you have a favorite exercise or tip to get better everyday photos? I’d love to hear yours in the comments below!