5 ways to improve your art

Model: Arzu Kaos; Photographer and retoucher: myself

I’ve been told lately that my skills in photography have been getting better and better, even though I don’t do things differently than before. This made me realise that perhaps what I have been doing overall to grow as an artist was not bad to begin with. In a world where knowledge is power but artists are dying, I’ve decided to share a bit of what works for me and what helps me evolve.

  1. Get inspired — I spend lots of time curating photos that make my creative sense all tingly, I have pins on Pinterest, favourites on DeviantArt and loves on Tumblr. Sometimes I share what I find most amazing on my Facebook photography page! But when I say get inspired I don’t mean to only look at the art medium you are working in. The really awesome thing about art is that it triggers senses that can trigger other senses that can..you see where I’m going with this. Music is my number one source of inspiration, as well as (in no specific order) TV series, movies and videos. As long as you don’t blatantly copy someone else’s idea everything goes and it is incredibly helpful in expanding your horizon!
  2. Connect with other artists — Back when I was living in the Netherlands, I used to make these ‘Creative days’ with one of my favourite studio photographers, Ork. We would basically meet up and gather a few models and just let our imagination go wild! A lot of my very cool shots and projects came from that, and we would also get ideas from watching each other at work. It was a very therapeutic process. Talk to different artists, get to know the people behind the scenes, collaborate, pick their brains and learn!
  3. Take a course — Realistically you can learn a lot of things by just doing them yourself, playing with techniques and trying to replicate what others are doing to see if you can too. That is what I have been doing for a really long time. However that is also a very long and exhausting process, because you’re basically by yourself. I started watching some online photography courses and learned so much in just a few hours! Ideally, a combination of DIY and learning from professionals about how they do it is the best. In a world where we have internet we are not alone, and we should take advantage of that!
  4. Work, work, work — This is where we get from external things to actually putting in the work ourselves. I know it’s extremely logical but I can’t stress enough how important this is! You need to put in the hours, you need to find time in your busy schedule and you need to practice. Otherwise you will lose your touch.
  5. Give yourself a break — Wait, you just said work..Yes, okay, working is super important but everyone has their limits. If you feel you have a day when you don’t really feel like putting in the time (unless you’re in a paid project with a client and otherwise you can’t meet the deadline) please take a break! Forcing yourself over and over results in blocks, which can take months, even years to get over. I’d say a couple of days of break will always trump years of a creative block. Furthermore, constantly pushing yourself could make you start disliking what you do. Listen to what your mind is telling you!

This is it! Doing a bit of all of these is what keeps me going and how I improve. There’s many more things that can help but overall these are the key ones! Hope you guys found this helpful and let me know if there are any other really important tips that I might’ve missed or that might be important to you!