1. GREAT PHOTOGRAPHERS ARE MADE, NOT BORN
It took me a little while to realise this. I thought that to be a great photographer you had to have eagle eyes for composition, tons of ideas and be overflowing with creativity. Whilst this is true and crucial to taking great shots, great photography is really about having a great passion and having a willingness to learn.
2. DON'T SWEAT OVER THE TECHNICAL STUFF
When I started out in photography and bought my first DSLR camera I remember being overwhelmed with all the buttons and menu options on the camera.
Photography should be fun, fun, fun! Often we forget this and get caught up with the technical side . Give yourself a break and don't expect to learn everything all at once and know everything there is to know straight away. Embrace and enjoy the learning process without sweating over all the camera functions. Remember when you learned to drive a car or learn a new language? You probably took it one step at a time and enjoyed each step. Learning to be great with your camera is just the same, so relax and enjoy.
3. STUDY GREAT PHOTOGRAPHERS
I pursue photography because I am inspired by great images. The thought of being able to create something magical that evokes emotions and inspires people fuels my passion to take great photographs.
Make the effort to appreciate the works of great photographers such as Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Steve McCurry. If you truly want to take great shots it's important to study them and learn from them. Then ask yourself what makes their work stand out? What makes it special? Pay attention to your feelings and emotions.
4. LEARN THE RULES, THEN BREAK THEM
Photography is an art and like any art form it is subjective. Yes there are rules and guidelines but they are simply just that. They are there as a starting point for me to explore ideas and to be creative.There are photographs to be made everywhere. Look around, observe and pay attention. To come up with a unique image, a photographer may need to move around the subject. Perhaps climb up to a higher ground, lie flat on the stomach, put your knees to the ground and point the camera upwards and so on. You get the idea.
5. BE TRUE TO YOURSELF
Don't compare yourself to other photographers. The only thing that you should focus on as a photographer, is you. Take time out and enjoy making images. Learn about yourself and your relationship with your camera. Practice, practice, practice and you will get better and more confident.
Find ways to continually challenge yourself. Do a project. Enter photography competitions. Borrow your friend’s pet. Photograph your family and friends. Visit a place you have never been before. Visit the same place at different times of the day. And most importantly just keep taking pictures!