I recently had the pleasure of assisting Juan Pons at his “Geese, Swans and Bears” photo workshop in North Carolina. Birds are not a frequent subject of mine, but I always jump at the chance to learn something new.
As photographers, we tend to concentrate our efforts on learning one particular type of photography. It could be wildlife, portraits, landscapes or any number of other disciplines. It’s great to develop a personal style and hone your skills in a specific area, but sometimes it’s good to make pictures that are outside of your area of expertise.
Exploring other disciplines can give you a fresh perspective on your work. Perhaps learning to create depth in a landscape photo will give you new ideas for dramatic portraits. Lighting techniques you learn for portraiture could help you make more compelling wildlife shots. Maybe taking your old Polaroid out will give you some cool post-processing ideas.
The easiest way to try something new is to give yourself an assignment. It can be something simple… Go shooting with only one lens. Try shooting only with the lens you use the LEAST. Get together with friends and give each other assignments. You friends’ ideas could help spark your creativity.
A class or workshop is another great way to try something new. Unfamiliar techniques are much easier to master with the help of a good instructor. Workshops range from one-day seminars to two-week trips to exotic locations. Pick a class outside of your comfort zone and dive into it.
Top image captured with a Nikon D300s w/ 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR Nikkor lens.
Bottom image captured with a Nikon D700 w/ 24-70mm f/2.8G Nikkor lens