Being a photographer takes a lot of patience, talent, and willingness to learn. The patience must come from within, driven by your desire to master the art of photography. The talent can be honed through practice. However, even some of those with the time and commitment to put in hours worth of practice never truly understand the importance of learning.

Some of the greatest photographers and artists of all time have agreed that being a lifelong learner is the secret to success. As a photographer, you might start out working with one camera but, as technology advances, you might go to another with completely different options and features. Likewise, you might start with one type of photography and later grow into another.

Whatever the case may be, it’s essential that you realize that there is always room for improvement and growth within your art. Seeing the opportunities and being willing to pursue them, even if it means devoting many more hours of practice to begin to understand them, is important on your path to becoming a truly skilled photographer.

When you’re just starting out, it’s highly recommended that you dabble in all kinds of photography. Doing so will help you find your style, which will later define your photographs as a whole. Once you have found your style, you can distinguish your works from the photographs of others–just like all the best photographers have done before you.

By defining your own unique style, you help set your photos apart. It will no longer be “just enough landscape photo” or “just another portrait”–with a style defined for yourself, your photographs will stand out as something unique to you as an artist. But, how do you find it?

The key is getting out there and taking as many photographs as possible. Don’t stop just because you’re out of film or short on space. As a photographer, you always need to be prepared with more. Meanwhile, don’t limit yourself to certain settings, subjects, or lighting either. Try photographing in all different scenes so that you can get a feel for what you really like.

For instance, if you want to get into landscape photography, don’t confine yourself to mountains. Experiment with water and its vast reflections, experiment with trees and shadows, experiment with night time, sunset, and morning shots. Once you get out there and have taken a thousand photos, take a thousand more. Through your practice, you’ll gradually begin to discover what you really like and what really works when it comes to producing your own style of photographs.

Finally, it also helps to be in tune with other photographers and what they’re up to. Getting involved in a community of photographers and artistic people, whether online or in person, can help you open up your mind to new ideas and even inspire you to try new things that you would have never thought about photographing before.

If you commit to constant improvement, every album you produce will be better than your last.