How to Be a Better Photographer

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It’s evident that Steve Richard is an amazing photographer. Yet it takes him two to three hours to get a ‘decent image’.

Now if you watch his video, you’ll see the kind of work Steve Richard does. In my opinion it’s incredible.

An arrow pointing to the video underneath and some text saying "Please press play to watch this video".

Later in his video he says:

… it’s really rare for me not to have a session where I can be shooting and know I’ve got a really good image—maybe not a world class image because that’s really rare—but I’ll have a really good image …Steve Richard

Which got me thinking again: what would I tell people who wanted to know how to be a better photographer?

Now I’ve worked with a world class photographer. I had the privileged of seeing how he approached a photographic shoot on thousands of occasions. But until I recently read a mind-blowing book I had never analyzed the secret to success as a photographer. I had assumed it was a talent we are born with and thought I could never reach that level of mastery.

It turns out I was wrong. But I needed a book to explain to me how to move to the next level in photography.

The One Book I Wish I’d Read at College…

If there is just one book I wish I’d read when I was setting out to study photography at college as a teenager, it’s ‘Bounce’ by Matthew Syed.

Bounce by Matthew Sied at Amazon

Now I can’t portray in just a few hundred words the story that Matthew Syed tells in his book. And I’m not sure I should try. The secret is so simple that if I tell it to you here you’ll probably move on to the next bit of Internet eye candy and forget all about it.

Some years ago a multi-millionaire business man named Peter Thomson explained to me that if you give things away for free people think they are worthless and discard them as such. He told me that he has many, many more people attend his lectures if he charges for them than if he allows people to attend the very same lectures for free.

So I’m not going to reveal Matthew Syed’s secret here. I’m going to encourage you to buy the book. That way you’ll value what he says and will be far more likely to be a better photographer.

The Secret

In ‘Bounce’, Matthew Syed explains the reasons why it happened that almost all of the country’s very best Olympic level table tennis players all came from the same block.

He explains why Olympic level ice skaters fall over very often while practising ice skating and what you need to learn from that.  The book is not a book about photography but if you want to know how to take better photos it’s my opinion that reading this book will help you more than just about any other.

Looking back on my apprenticeship it’s now obvious to me that my mentor did exactly what is described in Bounce. What I thought was natural talent was something I could learn to do. I just needed to know the secret.

How to Take Better Photos

To read about Bounce, and four other photography books I recommend, read my article, the “Top 5 Best Books to Improve Your Photography“. Of all my photography tips for beginners, reading that book is my #1.

To see more of Steve Richard‘s work, take a look here.

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