To improve as a photographer, the number one advice you’ll get from anyone is to go out and shoot. Sounds like a no brainer but assuming you already do that, Micah Albert states that if you’re seeking to branch out as a freelancer, it becomes “much more than just knowing how to operate a camera.”
There’s been days when my camera goes untouched largely because I may not have dedicated time but those are the moments I spend catching up any photography related articles on Instapaper and after having read Micah’s tips for breaking in as a freelancer, I now feel less guilty about having spent time improving as a writer by reading rather than shooting. My favorite tip is where you encourages you to read:
Don’t ever forget that the camera is just a tool. No one hires a writer because he knows how to hold a pen just right or has good penmanship. The pen is just a tool for an end result. So is the camera.
Being a good photographer is a baseline. What are you above and beyond that? Editors don’t use the best and well-known photojournalists of our day simply because they know how to take a good photo. They have gotten that job because they know their stuff, they know the region, they know the people.
Editors are not looking for another person who can take a pretty picture. They are looking for people who can find the story, highlight why it matters to their audience, operate in that particular environment and then deliver a product with a unique perspective time and again.
In addition to reading, I must admit that there’s been a tv show that’s assisted me tremendously on how to write the way I do about my photographs. I would assume you would know which one I’m talking about already because I’ve mentioned it endlessly but in case you lost track, I’m referring to No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain.
If you’ve never seen an episode and if you’re really enthusiastic to get more into writing about your photographic experiences, I sincerely encourage you to watch at least one show and pay extra attention to how he narrates the places he visits. I find it completely inspiring.