I’ve attended street photography workshop with David Gaberle in Prague recently. It took 5 days and I learnt a lot of new things that I’d like to share. I take photos only with mobile phone but it doesn’t matter as the workshop was focused more on developing a visual language, seeing, selecting and editing photos. That was the reason why I signed up for it in the first place and I can tell you it was worth it.

Below I summarised a few points that I find important for improving your photography and visual sensitivity if you will.

1. Study from painters/master photographers

Workshop took place in David’s attic apartment that was filled with books on photography. Even before the workshop started he sent us a link with his favourite paintings so we could analyse them. My only source of inspiration before was basically my Instagram feed populated with many average photos.  It is very important to look at work of photographers like Saul Leiter, Ernst Haas and other names in a world of photography and art in general. I started collecting some photos on my pinterest wall. Find also painters that you like and think about why you enjoy their paintings. Study them and from that point on you can try to copy them.

2. Critique is important

Workshop is a great way to get a feedback from a more experienced photographer. David is a sensitive teacher and he has seen and taken countless amount of images. He has a well trained eye and he thoroughly analysed our photos. He was honest about it and that I appreciate. Maybe it happened to you that you took a photo and you thought it’s great. You were excited and happy with the result. Try to detach from these emotions, wait a couple of days and look at it again. Then ask yourself. Is it really that good? If you find it difficult to do it yourself, find someone who will, perhaps on a workshop, photography group in your city or even online. When you receive a feedback to your photos, make sure it is valid and contains well-reasoned opinions. If it is the case, listen carefully. On the contrary, when someone say only negative things without any reason, you don’t have to take those opinions so seriously, because there is not much value there.

3. Open your mind

This point is related to the previous one. Whatever critique you get, be open minded and learn from others, even though you may disagree at times. Accept the feedback, process it and if it makes sense be aware of it so you can avoid status quo of your work. You can get your photos to another level after you start seeing things you haven’t even noticed before, after you realise there are areas in your photography you could improve. Move towards unknown, something undiscovered within yourself. Maybe something new will emerge if you have your mind open. Something that will have clear signature and will satisfy your soul.

4. Go out and shoot

Asi with everything, practise make you better. I was talking about being critical to your photos. It means the more good photos you want the more time you have to spend shooting outside on the streets. Some people are talented and can produce many photos that they are happy with, but usually it takes a lot of time and dedication. You can take photos just on your mobile phone, since it’s a device you most likely have with you most of the time and nowadays a quality is very good. Also ask yourself why do you take pictures. What is your reason? For some people it’s a therapy, or maybe you just enjoy it. So find some time and look. Look for light, look at people, everyday objects, etc. Everywhere is beauty.

5. Work on a project

It’s good to go out and take photos as a practise, or just because you find satisfaction in it. But you might end up with a lot of different photos that don’t relate to each other. Maybe they will represent various genres as well if you shoot for example portraits and then architecture. You might also lose interest after a while, because a result is kind of random, it is not cohesive. To avoid the pitfalls mentioned, think about a specific theme you would like to work on. Create a project. With a clear goal you will be more tempted to go out. Your work will get some structure, photos will appear more unified. Make it important and eventually you may even print them, have exhibition or prepare your own photo book.