Or how to be a better photographer…

I am often asked how can I become a better photographer?   I think they are waiting to hear about hot tips for the latest kit!  If so, they will be disappointed.  The answer to this question is HUGE!  I am no scientist, but here goes…

Do the best you can, until you know better.

Then, when you know better, do better.

Maya Angelou

It’s all in the mind.

It seems that the old saying practice makes perfect is the short answer!  A little and often will make you a better photographer (and anything else, come to that) than the same time gathered together less often, say once a month.

Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and other great teachers were all born with a brain built just like everyone else. The difference is – they used their minds to change their brains in ways that changed history.

Simply put, what we pay attention to, is what becomes embedded in our brain tissue and our neurons are wired in respond to what we focus on. From Rick Hanson’s Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom.

Repetition seems build new pathways in our brains – this appears to be the case for keeping a gratitude diary – by writing down our positive experiences of the day, it makes up more positive in the long term.  Back in the 1950’s psychologist, Abraham Maslow noted that a self visualised person focuses on their talents and strengths – they take a positive view and encourage themselves.  Maybe this is why so many people have started to write out their gratitudes at the end of the day during lockdown.


Explore mindfully, with purpose.

Whilst carving these new pathways through repetition, in order to make progress, it is essential to go exploring as you become competent at a new things.  Make mistakes!  Lots of!!  It’s only human to make mistakes.  The takeaway from this is imperfection over perfection is good.  This seems to be an echo of an earlier post BE BRAVE, SHOW UP, don’t you think?  On imperfection, think about how the Japanese Aesthetic of Wabi Sabi values the imperfect, the handmade and the simple – it nurtures the authentic by acknowledging three simple realities – nothing lasts, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect. From Richard Powell Wabi Sabi Simple.  Are you inspired? Or should that read reassured/buoyed up?

See those mistakes as opportunities!  Opportunities to learn what you would like to explore in order to achieve the better that you see.

Be curious

Ask questions.  Ask better questions – when your camera is in your hand, ask how can I make this photograph better?  What if…

I change where I am standing, my lens. 

The light is changing – if I wait to see what evolves.

Reframe – I take a step backwards, forwards, to the side.

Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager. Susan Sontag.


(images in this post shot with both digital and analogue cameras)

About Julie Davenport

JULIE DAVENPORT is a Fine Art Lifestyle Photographer, a Creative and generous in sharing tips and hints for Photography, Creativity and a Creative Lifestyle. She has one goal – to inspire and empower creatives and aspiring photographers with heart centred education, support and encouragement to guide them to achieve their vision. Known for her signature style painterly touch and love of light and elegant composition, she draws much of her inspiration from Scandinavian painters and the seasonal rhythms of country life in her beloved Cotswold countryside in the UK. After a lifetime spent in photography, her work has now grown into a full time photography and education business - specialising in professional online training and inspiring other creatives, designers, makers and photographers. Through her depth of knowledge of her subject and unwavering passion, she has become THE authority for creative souls looking for heart centred education, support and encouragement to guide them through to achieve their vision.