DEVELOPING as a Photographer

Many of the questions and messages I receive through this blog centre around ‘how do you improve as a photographer?’ and ‘How did you learn to take better photos?’. The answer is an awful lot of practice and I am nowhere near done! Below I’m going to talk you through my development in the last few years.

One of my first images I took when I was 16 and just started A-level photography. I had never studied photography before and fell in love with it during this project ‘traces’. Looking back I would never edit an image like this, now I most likely de-saturate the whole image.

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This is also part of my ‘traces’ project. I still like the composition of the photograph but would lower the saturation and contrast of it (I  had just started leaning photoshop!)

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I took this at 18 when I bought my first set of coloured flash filters. This was all about having fun and learning about the effects of flash. It’s taken me a while to realise that I much prefer slow shutter speeds using ambient light rather than flash.

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After watching a YouTube video called something like ‘How to do street photography’  I took my camera out , rather over-enthusiastically , to the streets of London and tried to apply literally everything I learnt.  As I was young I wasn’t aware of how people might feel about having their photos taken and was fearless, I am now more aware of people and how their portrayed.

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I still love the comedy of this shot. I took this during my second year at university.  I was completely against it with 3 essay deadlines coming up and very little time. I had been spending around 6 hours a day everyday in the library.   But on this morning I woke up a decided to dedicate a whole day to photography and just enjoy it. This was one of the first shots I took.

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One of the main lessons I learnt at university was the art of networking and making connections. This was in collaboration with a poet for his debut book.

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This image (also featured above) came in useful when I learnt how to create photograms in the darkroom.  I printed the image on acetate, overlaid random items and placed it on light sensitive paper.  Again I would lower the contrast but I like the combination of image and found items.

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Still one of my favourite ever shoots. I took my best friend, dressed with a snorkel,  along the London underground. The project was a conceptual tongue-in-cheek  project based on the fact the London Underground goes under the river Thames.

Although not a brilliant photograph it represents an opportunity gifted to me by collaboration. A friend and fellow photography student was photographing at an organic farm and asked me to go along for support. Having a camera allowed us to get a behind-the-scenes look at the hard work that goes into running a farm.

I will never claim to be fashion photographer as I have no clue when it comes to fashion but learning how to photograph in a studio is a skill every photographer should learn. You can apply the skills and knowledge of lights, soft boxes etc. out in the field. Light is incredibly important whether its harnessing the golden hour, creating shadow or drawing the viewers eye to the subject.

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It’s not all serious in the studio..

It’s true you should never stop learning when it comes to photography and it can help to have an end goal (landscape, portrait, street photographer etc.). But ENJOY getting there. I am not where I want to be photography-wise but it has opened up incredible opportunities I would never have experienced without photography;  from photographing the cycling Tour of Britain to exploring new cities and countries..

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post I’ve  really enjoyed putting it together. No matter how far you are into your photography journey its always worth looking back over your images and seeing how much you’ve improved.

You can find me on Instagram @madisonbeachphotos or over on my website.

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