Whenever I take a photo I seem to so it exactly the same: small depth of field, very close up, from an angle. Whilst I really like this technique and is (in my opinion) quite easy to pull off and have it look nice, it is quite boring after a while and I don't feel like I'm getting any better.

I am very much a beginner but I'd love any tips on ways that I could push myself.

Example of my photos: https://flickr.com/freddie-poser I am specifically taking about photos like "acorn", the Berlin locks, the flowers, the phone, barbed wire, sketch book etc


6 Answers 6


Whenever I take a photo I seem to so it exactly the same: small depth of field, very close up, from an angle.

As Jeff Daniels' says in The Newsroom, the first step in solving a problem is recognizing that there is one. You've already taken that step. I like the photos you posted a lot, but I can also see why you might feel like your photography is stagnating. There's a fine line between finding your style and becoming repetitive.

So, you've already identified the things that you usually do, and you've decided that you want to break out of your usual mold. All that's left is to go out and do something different. If you usually go for shallow depth of field, look instead for shots where you can keep both foreground and background objects sharp. If you usually shoot close up and at an angle, consciously decide to shoot from a greater distance and straight on. If you usually like lots of color, start looking at form instead and maybe set your camera to black and white. If you usually shoot low, stand on a chair or step stool for a while.

Beyond just doing the opposite of what you're comfortable with, pick some aspect of photography that you haven't explored much and focus (so to speak) on that for a while. For example, you could stick with your usual M.O., but start shooting long exposure images for a while. Or motion-stopping short exposures. Play with flash photography.

Another path: pick something that you already do, but push it to a whole new (for you) level. For example, you've got the narrow depth of field thing down, so get a set of extension tubes and try macro photography. Shooting macro will let you get razor-thin depth of field when you want it, but it might also make think about when you want to get more DOF.

Plan and execute a project. Instead of just finding interesting details, choose a subject and draw a sketch of a photo you'd like to take, including notes about angle, DOF, colors, etc. Then set out to realize that photo. Once you feel like you've got it, do it again in a different way.

These are all suggestions to help you shake things up, but I can't tell you what your next step should be. You're the only one who can really come up with an answer that's right for you. Just keep pushing your own personal envelope.


If you have a habit of approaching each new subject with the same type of shot, then my advice would be to restrict yourself to a single subject and spend a lengthy amount of time trying every angle you can think of. I would take it further than fernando's suggestion of "moving cars" or "dogs" and spend time with a single subject. A flower or a dog. Vary your distance, angle, focal length, depth of field. Experiment with intentional camera movement or shoot B&W.

Stick with it until you have 10 or 20 or 50 interesting shots. It may be hard and take some time. Forcing yourself to stick to a single subject will require you to be inventive.

Then pick another subject and repeat.


One thing that helped me discover new techniques and artistic vision was to force myself to stop thinking about things and context and start thinking about colour, shape, tone and their relationship to each other. This moves you away from creative documentary photography and into evocative abstract photography. You can still photograph things and context, but they can be more suggestive than literal.

E.g. if you like soft imagery, try taking a photo of 'creaminess' or 'lightness' rather than actual creamy or light subjects.


This seems like it's about discipline. Commit to approaching a new style of photography each month. In March try street photography. In April, landscape. In May, try documenting events in your city.

Imposing artificial limitations on yourself actually aids creativity because it forces you out of your comfort zone and to come up with unfamiliar solutions. Buy a 105mm prime lens and use only that for a week. Try using bounce flash for everything for a week. Try and get the best photo you can get consisting only of concrete and shadow. Or clouds and sky. Put it all up on a photo blog / instagram. Pick a different letter every day and photograph something starting with that letter. If you're like me you probably have friends that do that type of thing on Instagram or 500px or flickr or something already.


Explore Flickr.com for different ideas and examples. Since you say you're a beginner, it might be worthwhile to pick up a book or two on photography. "Understanding Exposure" and "Learning To See Creatively", both by Bryan Peterson, might be a good start.


Right now a majority of your photos are essentially Still Life images. For flowers its pretty but kinda boring, for Barbed Wire... its just boring.

But how to fix it? Well there are many ways, in no real particular order.

  1. Nature and patience. Wait for a moment in time worth capturing.

  2. Props. What happens when you put those flowers in a glass vase? A ceramic vase? What if they're on a piece of wood?

  3. People. Harder to do but if you know of someone, or are willing to do self portraits, then what if you're holding the flowers? Or the vase? Or have the flowers in your hair? In the pocket of a blazer? Behind you? In front of you?

  4. Story. Now the hardest of all - tell a story with your photo. Show us something unexpected that makes us go, wow I wonder what led o this moment in time and what happened right after it.

The technical stuff, in my opinion, should be secondary to these. I want to show this moment in time - now how do I do that. Not I want to use this aperture or this lens to show this item. Its a subtle difference in mindset but makes all the difference in how you approach photography.

Even if you like still life and landscape you can still implement much of this. Wait for an animal to run through the shot, the clouds to break, the sun to hit in just this amazing way, a tornado to drop down... whatever the case may be. A field is just a field. A field with a focal point is better. A field with a focal point getting approached by a massive tornado.... well thats a moment worth capturing (and was the National Geographic Photo of the Year).

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