Last week we introduced you to the brains behind Firechild Photography, Éadaoin Curtin, this week we give you 5 ways to become a better photographer. Éadaoin has given us four great tips, but we’d like to kick things off with a tip of our own. And that’s quite simple – practice. Practice, practice, practice. Try to take a couple of shots each day, then sit down and evaluate them. Think of the elements of each that you liked/didn’t like. What would you change next time? Getting comfortable behind the camera is vital. We also suggest that you check out this free Harvard extension course. Yes, you read that correctly, free Harvard knowledge-bombs. If you’re looking for something a little more basic (and still free), this one from Lifehacker, is hugely popular. But enough from us, lets hear from the expert.
Ok, so, Éadaoin, what’s the one piece of kit/equipment you couldn’t live without?
My kit is incredibly minimal, most shoots are done with one lens, my 50mm is probably one of my most prized possessions! But really, the most important piece of my kit is my ability to tune into the people I’m working with and the context we’re working in – whether that’s a wedding or a personal branding shoot. That’s what helps me the most, the camera is just a tool.
When thinking of 5 ways to become a better photographer, editing had to be included. What’s your favourite suite?
On your phone or tablet, you can’t beat VSCO. If you’re dealing with relatively small numbers of shots at one time, my best advice is to edit on mobile with VSCO.
What are the best free tools/resources for those looking to up their Instagram game?
As above, use VSCO to edit your photos first. Get to know the editing functions rather than just the preset filters. And tag a location whenever possible, Instagram loves that! I think something that’s really worth bearing in mind is that you need to be honest, true to yourself and your brand and consistent. Ask questions to your audience and get vulnerable from time to time, you’ll grow an organic audience that interacts and appreciates you. YOU are always your greatest asset, no one else has your energy or personality, use it! I’ve created a guide for that called 7 Secrets to More Clients With a Stand Out, Authentic Image.
What is your top tip for taking a better portrait?
As a photographer – no matter what camera you’re using, if you want that ‘blurry background’ effect, try to keep your subject as far away from the background as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask them to move and don’t be afraid to move around yourself – look for the light, if it’s not right, just turn and you might be surprised!
As someone getting their portrait taken – if you want to look like a professional in your portrait, hire professionals. Get your hair and makeup done, hire a professional photographer and if you have any doubts at all about styling yourself, ask for help!
Thanks again to Éadaoin, for showing us 5 ways to become a better photographer. If you’d like to find out more about Éadaoin, or her company, Firechild Photography, check out our interview with her. Next week she’ll be telling us how to use imagery to build a brand. And that can be for business or personal. Don’t forget to check out her guide, which she created just for you. And if you’re a photography fan, what would you number one tip be to someone looking to make their photos better? Share your knowledge in the comments, and maybe you’ll pick up a tip or two along the way.