When I compare myself to some photographers, I think I am awful.
When I compare myself to some other photographers, I think I am awesome.
When I compare myself to myself, I think I am better.
If someone asks me how I got to where I am (which in essence, really isn't all that advanced) there are a few things that I will tell them.
1. Practice, practice, and... practice! I know, it's obvious. Your piano teacher, mom, and basketball coach all said it, but that's only because it is true. Seriously. Don't expect to wake up one day wanting to be good, and then miraculously being freaking fantastic. No, you wake up one day wanting to be good, and then you start trying. You get your feet wet. You get mud on your shoes. You get a couple bruises and you keep going. It's through experimenting and messing up that you find yourself becoming better.
2. Use the equipment that you have. When I first started taking photos, and I wanted to be this uber legit omgicannotbelievesheistakingphotosthatgreat type of person, all I had was my wee little point and shoot. Canon Digital Elph 1000 or something like that. And I shot my socks off. I did as much as I could with what I had, and learned so much more than I would have had I just waited until I had enough money to buy. Google was my best friend, and if I wondered anything about photos (Why and how backgrounds are blurry? How to take a backlit photo?) I would look into it and figure out how to do it. So please, start practicing with what you have, even if it's just your camera phone, because it will certainly grow you and lead you on the path of the photographer you want to be.
3. Look to others for comparison and critique. Sometimes I felt silly because of the frequency that I looked at other people's photos. If I wasn't studying or facebooking, I was probably looking at blogs and forums, thinking about who knows what with the intent of being a better me (photography-speaking of course). When I would take photos, I would also post them on forums and ask friends for advice, even if it meant that I would get ripped to shreds. It not only humbled me, but I took the advice to heart, applied it and saw improvement. Also, prior to doing my first engagement shoot, I googled and gawked at as many poses of couples as I could and hoped I would be able to implement them as well as I could. I still do this and using my own posing methods as well. It's just snazzy.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask me. I would love to divulge all of my secrets... which in turn wouldn't allow them to be secrets anymore.
Mull over this essay of a blog post and enjoy this preview: