So You Want to Become a Better Photographer? John Warton of Photography Laureates Provides Five Tips

Share Article

Five tips for improvement from a leading expert helping manage one of the largest amateur photography community site with over 48,000 active members (

John Warton actively works at reviewing and evaluating photography submissions for a photography association called photography laureates ( Building on his experience reviewing thousands of entries by amateur photographers from all over the world, John provides here a personal improvement list to gradually transition from amateur photography to professional photography.

1. The essence of the photograph is what matters the most

Photographs that capture the essence of a subject can have technical flaws and still be keepers.

In order to catch that essence, John Warton at photography laureates ( recommends taking time to get to know the subject. Patience and immersion within surroundings helps photographers to breathe the essence of their work and take correspondingly superior photographs.

Most often, what you see in front of you is a pretty picture, but it is not the story as, simply quoting John Warton: “Photographs are made – not taken. If a picture does not have meaning - if it doesn't tell a story - the image is just another pretty picture and I will probably not publish it on To tell a story, you must get to know the subject extremely well. A solid preparatory work consists of observing and visualizing the scene.”

To understand the story, take the time to contemplate, research, watch, and talk - but mostly listen. You will quickly start to grasp the meaning of people, trees, rivers, places…

2. Be ready to shoot your photographs instinctively and quickly

On a different note, Mr. Warton also encourages quick, instinctive shoots whenever appropriate. Needless to say, photographers need to know the camera controls inside and out, backward and forward and be on a permanent alert mode for no-hesitation shooting.

3. Do your devil’s advocates!

It is a good exercise to compare side by side lousy snap-shots versus those of professional photographers on a category by category basis (nature shots versus portraits…). John Warton at photography laureates advises that this exercise has the benefit of teaching new approaches to amateur photographers as they make notes of their impressions. They quickly get to understand and visualize what their work is lacking to get to the next level.

4. Always have the humility and flexibility to re-consider your work and re-shoot

Being one’s own critic and performing self-reviews enables amateur photographers to gain a new perspective on their work. It is important never to hesitate to re-shoot using different parameters (lighting, focus…) in order to experiment. Experimentation leads to progress.

Getting a second opinion as part of an ongoing exchange also enables one to evaluate one’s work more objectively. It is important to keep in mind that almost all feedback provides valuable insight and ideas and that even untrained friends and family will see elements in your photos that you may not have noticed.

5. Do a reality check and study your photography patterns

Lousy shots are usually lousy in the same old, tiresome ways. Many amateur photographers have a snapshot tendency whereby they take the obvious shot without exploring alternatives. According to John Warton, patterns are easily identifiable, including but not limited to: repeatedly shooting scenes that combine extreme lighting and an inexplicable tendency to hand-hold the camera at slower shutter speeds…

Quoting John Warton: “Take out all your lousy photographs, study your lousy patterns and make a list of them on a notepad. Then, simply make sure to bring that note pad everywhere you make photographs! Slowly but surely, you will improve your work”.

John Warton is a senior photography editor. He has decades of experience in photography first as a freelancer, reporter and then as publisher. He is a member of various international photography associations (Association of International Art dealers, Photographic resource center…)

Photography Laureates offers the following:

  • A unique platform of self expression to the amateur and professional photographer
  • An opportunity to be published as part of a leading photography manuscript
  • 24/7 customer care assistance to help associate photographers gain exposure
  • Review and pieces of advise from the editors on submitted entries
  • A leading membership community where members can exchange and learn

About Photography Laureates (

The mission of Photo laureates is to provide a platform of artistic expression for amateur and professional photographers to gain exposure and recognition. Photo Laureates promotes photography and photographers through technical workshops as well as improvisation sessions.

An independent panel of experts at photo laureates reviews photographs based on the following criteria: technical quality, composition, flow, texture and light.

The manuscripts from photography laureates are distributed internationally. Photographers always retain full copyrights to their photographs. Photo laureates has more than 45,000 members and a 98% satisfaction rate.

For more information on Photography Laureates, please visit:


Sol Mina, Customer Care Manager

Photography Laureates
450 856 7896

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Sol Mina
Visit website