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Optimal Training To Improve Your Photography - part 1 of 1 2 3 4

by John Hellstrom Published 01/12/2016

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Deliberate photography training

Watching the world’s best artists and athletes competing for top places in tournaments and rankings does not necessarily bring to mind the extensive training each has undertaken. Such expertise develops over an extended period of time [1]. A training period of 10 years or 10,000 hours may be needed to become an expert; this was first suggested from studies of chess players [2] and musicians [3]. Similar training periods have later been found needed to reach an international level in some sport settings [4]. The training to improve even further, to become established as among the best in the world, may require double that time.

Expert performance in photography may be defined as the ability to regularly be able to score 80 or above in internationally recognised competitions. World-class performance may then be the ability to regularly score 90 or above. Expertise in photography is a combination of technical skills and creative ability[5]. Experts have also been shown to differ significantly from non-experts in picture evaluations [6], and in how they crop images [7].


Neurophysiological evidence indicates that the brain slowly transforms as a consequence of practice [8]. It is the production of additional myelin that speeds brain signals, creating new neural connections which increases access to more grey matter, and enhances automaticity. Thus, practice makes permanent changes.

However, many people have photographed for over 10 years and they are far off being at an international level if they were to test themselves in international photography competitions. Something more is therefore needed in addition to a large training volumes.

Individuals who avoid arrested development, and continue to improve, constantly challenge themselves. It takes a large amount of effort and the process may not be enjoyable in the short term. They set relevant goals, and create training situations that exceed their current skills, have high focus during training and constantly evaluate their performance [9]. This is called deliberate training.


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1st Published 01/12/2016
last update 07/02/2018 11:58:44

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