How to Level Up Your Photography Skills

One of the images I captured while taking a photo lesson with a professional landscape photographer.

Three and a half years ago, I rediscovered my love for photography while standing in a Panera parking lot, watching an amazing sunset unfold.

Since then, landscape photography has become a fulfilling side business, sparked this growing blog, taken me places I wouldn’t have experienced otherwise, and brought me thousands of new connections. 

As fulfilling as this passion had become, I was feeling limited by what I could learn on my own through trial and error and watching YouTube tutorials. Going out daily with my camera yielded the same results, and I wasn’t growing my skill level.

I decided to book a lesson with a professional photographer; it is the greatest thing I have done to improve my skills as a landscape photographer. I booked a half-day guided photo workshop with WNC Photo Tours, where I learned so much from walking alongside founder J Smilanic on the Blue Ridge Parkway for a few hours — more than I would have learned through more years of plugging along on my own. 

Capturing flowing water was a skill that eluded me before taking a photography lesson.

He taught me how to use a tripod and set it up more quickly, which filters work best in different settings, and how to capture flowing water on my phone and my DSLR. His tips made an immediate, lasting difference in my skill level.

The next time you need to level up your skills, consider taking a hands-on workshop or class. Based on my experience, it will help you improve faster than going it alone.

If a half-day workshop like the one I took is out of your price range, check camera stores, your local parks and recreation department, an art museum, a community college, or even a nearby Apple store. These organizations often offer low-cost photography lessons taught by experienced professionals. I had a great experience in a free photography workshop held in our local Apple store.

Later this fall, I am taking another lesson on the North Carolina coast through Our State magazine. I can’t wait to show you what I learn on this one!

What strategies have been successful in helping you grow your skill level?

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