Quick Fix: Improve Your Photography Instantly

If I told you I could improve your photography instantly, I mean quicker than overnight, would you be intrigued?  Now, what if I told you the fix is incredibly easy?  What’s a stronger word than intrigued?  I just want to know the word I should use to describe the feeling you’re probably experiencing as you read this.  This fix is what I call the difference maker for photographers.  The crazy part is, it’s no secret.  Time…  This four letter word is the single most influential ingredient in photography.

DSC_8843It took roughly three hours of shooting before I wrapped it up and headed back to edit this photo…  Had I took the shot and moved on it would have looked just like the rest of the crappy smartphone photos people were taking as they exited this subway station.

Time can be considered a few different ways.  How much time you invest in actually taking the shot, the timing of the actual shot, and the time of day.  Timing of the shot and time of the day are actually two different things…  Time of the day refers to the type/amount of light available while timing refers to the actual moment you press the shutter and what is happening in the frame.  Take the photo below for instance, it’s the same scene as the top image but having stuck around for about an hour I was able to catch a person as they walked up to the alter at the front of the church.

l1003237You could argue that the human element, not time, was the difference maker here but I would simply counter with had I not spent the time waiting I would not have captured the human element at all.  The point is, time can make or break your photographs so why skimp on it.

It’s simply not enough to show up twenty minutes before sunset and pack it up as soon as the sun dips below the horizon.  Hopefully, if you’ve been following PhotolisticLife.com for a while, you will know that the best light doesn’t even start until the sun is below the horizon.

dsc_0087-panoThe best light I have ever been blessed with has happened after the sun has set and the other photographers have already packed up and headed home.

On a personal note, I’ve found that the time of day is becoming less and less important as I improve my photography.  Time invested in a shot and the timing of said shot have been the most important difference makers in my photography.  I’ve began to spend more and more time working a promising scene whether I’m doing street photography, architecture, landscapes, portraits, cityscapes, etc….

Interestingly, my solution for fixing your photography “instantly” is the investment of additional time.  Deep right?  In regards to time, here are some of the approaches I take to photography which I have found have been instrumental in building a successful photography business:

  1. When you are tired and ready to give up…  Don’t.  Keep going until your feet, ankles, knees hurt (bring snacks).
  2. The best shot is always the next one.
  3. There is a direct correlation to the time you invest in your photography to the time it takes to be successful and the amount of said success.
  4. The number one difference between you and a better photographer is your willingness to invest more time into your passion than they are.
  5. The more time I invest, the harder I work, the luckier I get…  Funny how that works.
  6. Always walk one more block, stay one more hour, take one more shot.  Curiosity is king.

I hope I was able to articulate this in a way that inspires you to invest more time into your photography.  If you approach photography in this way your images will improve dramatically, I promise.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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7 replies on “Quick Fix: Improve Your Photography Instantly”
  1. says: Paul McCarthy

    I agree, patience is important. Your shot in Heinz Chapel is perfect for having a “guest” walk in at the right time. I try to do that myself. As for shooting after sunset I agree, the blue hour is fabulous. Thanks for listening

    1. says: John Barbiaux

      Thank you. Part of that was luck as they don’t normally have the upstairs open… One of my favorite sayings is a variation of “The harder I work, the luckier I get” which I think applies to photography perfectly.

  2. says: Paul Loker

    I agree totally with the sentiments expressed. Coming back later in the day or even just an hour later on your way back to the car can make a big difference to the shot.
    Someone asked me once how I had managed to get interior shots of the Alhambra in Granda, Spain that were free of intrusive tourists…..it is very crowded and people are always in the way of your shot. The answer was simple as you say…..time. I stood and watched people as they came round and quickly realised that visitors were coming round in pulses. Periods of intense activity were followed by short, very short periods of calm before the next group would come along.ten minutes hustle and bustle would be followed by a minute of calm.
    I used the ten busy minutes to work out angles, shots, exposures etc getting all balances right and then used the quiet minute to get my shots with the already discovered details I needed to be successful. In the minute I had I could get lots of shots that were near as damn just right without wasting time messing around.
    I went round the whole place doing this and for most of the time was very successful. I now wait and watch most places I go. You can get great photos if you wait!

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