Analyze what makes other photographers’ photos so eye-catching, and that will make you a better photographer
Did the photographer use minimum focus, or was everything in focus? Was there anything in the way of special effects used? If so, how did they do that? How many lights were used? What shape was the highlight, round or square? Did it even matter to the shot? Did I like the shot because of the subject matter (scantily clad hot babe?), the lighting, or the novel composition? Or was it even something else. How high was the light source? Were there long or short shadows? How much of the subject was in shadow? Were there cast shadows in the frame of the picture from objects outside the photos. Was the environment real or was a set constructed for the shot? Was the crop "tight" or loose? I would keep leafing through the books and keep asking questions. If you keep ?observing? and experimenting yourself, you’ll improve.
Learn how to become a better photographer by shooting more
One way to get better at shooting, is to shoot more. Now in the era of digital photography, you really don’t have much of an excuse not to shoot more than you do now. Don’t wait for someone to hire you to shoot something. Do it on your own. I know that there are other things in your life demanding your time too, but if you want to get better at this thing called photography, you’re going to have to work at it. It’s all about priorities. From time to time there is something I like to do and I think that you might want to give this a try. Find a shot or a technique that you really admire and try to copy it. Yes, that’s right, I said copy it, exactly, if you can. But isn’t that illegal, you might ask.? Not if you don’t show anybody, it isn’t. Besides, you probably won’t be able to copy it exactly enough to make it illegal, anyways. What you will do though, is learn a heck of a lot. You might even invent another way to do the intended technique or even invent a new technique of your own. Trust me, it’s a great way to learn new techniques and to improve on other aspects of photography too. You’ll find solutions to problems you never even knew you would have in the first place.
Failing is just another way of learning what doesn’t work, but you’re still learning… and that’s the key to becoming a better photographer.
Don’t be too worried about failing. (unless your client objects details, details) Failure is a great tool it you learn to use it correctly. If you keep swinging at the ball, you’re bound to learn how to hit the thing sooner or later. Take the time to really look at your attempts / experiments. How could you have made the shot better. Forget the excuses, jobs will always bring with them limitations. The really good photographers produce great photos even with the client or reality imposed limitations. Mediocre photographers make excuses, good photographers over come the barriers and make the shot great. Maybe not all the time, everyone can have a bad day. It’s just that the really good photographers have less than everyone else. And when they do make mistakes, they have the ability to learn from them so that the next time a similar situation should come up, they know for sure what doesn’t work and have probably already figured out what will probably work. That’s how you really learn to light and to be a better photographer.