In this day and age, most of us know how to take a decent snap. With a smartphone in hand, we take tens – if not hundreds – of photos each and every day. Our storage is packed full of images of our friends, family, fanciest meals and even our pets.

But have you ever wanted to take your skills a step further? To learn the tips and tricks of professional photography? Maybe you’ve even flirted with the idea of starting your own photography business, or perhaps you’re simply looking to improve upon your current abilities?

Whatever your reason, there are three simple steps you can take to become a better photographer. Three steps which will help you to grab snaps which truly wow.

Acquire the proper equipment

The first and most vital step is to ensure you have the right equipment to hand, if you’re serious about taking your skills to the next level. That’s not to say you have to shell out fortunes for expensive gear; there are a range of digital single-lens reflex cameras (otherwise called DSLRs) which won’t break the bank…in fact, this online course comes with a DSLR camera as a part of the qualification

Yet in addition to the camera itself, there are supplementary pieces of equipment which will help you to capture more professional, polished pictures.

For example, the following pieces of equipment come highly recommended for both beginner and professional photographers:

• A camera tripod (as tripods can help you achieve perfectly positioned and stable shots, whether you’re focusing on landscape, portrait or even night photography)

• SD memory cards (multiple backup SD memory cards will always be beneficial, especially if one were to ever become corrupted or lost in transit)

• A good quality camera strap (to help you keep your camera safe, even when hanging around your neck)

• A properly designed camera bag (for transporting your camera without the risk of it being damaged)

• A camera cleaning kit (helping you to tackle dirt, grime, dust and moisture before it risks permanently wrecking your camera)

These are just a few examples of the equipment any photographer needs within their arsenal.

Learn the essential skills

Once you’ve acquired the proper equipment, then comes the particularly fun part – learning all the essential technical skills to take your compositions from eye catching to amazing.

One way to learn these skills is through completing a photography course. If you’re unable to attend a photography course in person, that’s not a problem. Online photography courses with certificates are highly accessible options, whatever your lifestyle or current obligations, with self-paced studies fitted to suit your schedule.

Through a combination of unit workbooks, video tutorials and practical exercises, an online photography course will guide you in the best practices to capture truly magical shots. Units can cover topics such as lighting, the exposure triangle (aperture, shutter speed and ISO), and composition, in addition to how to use editing software such as Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.

Rather than waste your time trying to dig out training resources from multiple websites and social media sites, recognised photography courses are one-stop-shops for guidance and top insights from genuine industry professionals. You’ll be learning from the best of the best!

Nurture your creativity

The final step is to give yourself creative freedom! The reason you were attracted to photography is because of your ‘eye’ for stunning and unusual compositions, so there’s no reason you can’t experiment with your own efforts.

For instance, try snapping shots which are off-centre. Experiment with ‘blurred’ or out-of-focus backgrounds (also known to some as bokeh). Study your favourite photographers and challenge yourself to emulate their unique styles. Switch between close-ups and long-distance shots. Create compositions full of texture and depth. Build a portfolio around a certain theme – whether that’s a mood, a colour, a location. Change between people, animals and objects. Tell a story/song/memory through your photos, or hint at a hidden experience…

Basically, the world is your oyster!

The beauty of photography is that no one shares your exact viewpoint, perspective or history. Your work will be completely personal to you, meaning you have total creative license when it comes to building your own selection of snaps. Nothing is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’; every picture will reveal something new and exciting about yourself and your environment, society or culture. Each time you take your camera out into the world, you will take another step toward discovering what kind of photographer you truly want to be.

Becoming a better photographer is an incredibly interesting process. So if you are looking to develop your skills and explore more techniques of professional photography, check out photography courses in Australia and begin your picture-perfect journey today.