Just owning a camera is not good enough.
You need to use it too. And, to see yourself improving your technique and your photographers eye you need to be doing some things on a regular basis. Here are some things you need to do to get started…
Take a camera with you everywhere
I have to say this was the single most important habit I have learned. Modern cameras can be so compact and light that it’s easy to carry one. You don’t need the full kit every time you cross the threshold. A camera phone or light weight camera can be quickly bought into action and fit in a pocket or bag. Some small cameras also have the bonus of taking RAW shots. So you can really capture what you want and work on it in Post Production too. So be prepared. Always have some sort of camera with you. It is the photograph that counts, not the equipment you take it on.
Stop and think
Everyone does it… we get caught up in the rush to get things done. Digital equipment makes taking hundreds of shots quick, easy and cheap. As a result we often capture a scene by banging out a large number of shots and moving on. In fact the well considered and composed shots are more likely to be better photographs. Most experienced photographers find that when they slow down they get less shots, but they are of higher quality. The art of photography is about expressing yourself in a way that communicates what you see. If you fire off a lot of ill considered shots they will communicate exactly what you saw and did. They will probably not convey the real depth of the moment and fall short of expressing the beauty and meaning of your feelings you experienced about your shoot.
A good photograph is usually the result of careful thought and considered composition. Of course the odd snapshot can come out well. We have all had the lucky one. But a good result and, in the long run, consistent results, rely on taking time and applying careful thought to your photographs. Slow down. Think your shots through. Experiment, practice and try to learn new ways to get better. Most of all think about what you are trying to do.
Get to know your camera
Sounds easy. You might be surprised to know that most people have no idea how to operate their camera. Most people put the camera on the ‘green’ square and leave it there. That is the extent of their control. Beyond this ‘auto’ mode position there is a whole world of control, art and insight. The first step to getting to know your camera is brilliantly simple. Read your manual. Check every detail of it. Don’t just read it from cover to cover. Work on each page and master each instruction. This must be put together with some thought and practice. Yes, it is going to be a challenge. But to learn something is always a challenge. Understanding comes only with effort and practice. But if you truly want to improve your photography, first you must get up close and personal with your camera.
Think about composition
Most people don’t consider themselves artists. They don’t realise it, but despite that, most of us have a lot of art locked up inside. We did not have the benefit of an artistic education. So producing a well composed and aesthetically pleasing photograph is not intuitive. Actually, it is not difficult for us to unlock the inner artist.
A few simple ideas can make art attainable by most learner photographers. I have seen people thinking they have absolutely no clue who suddenly turn into budding artists. An overnight transformation can be achieved buy learning something of the elements of art and the principles of art. Then, by extension, learning about some of the other important things that help to make art out of a photograph. There are some great resources on composition on this site. Check out this page of links… Composition resources on Photokonnexion. This page under the menu at the top of every page go to: SUBJECTS/ARTICLES, and click “Composition”. Study this information – it will improve your shots.
Get more input
In simple terms finding out more about photography will improve your own thinking. As you think you will begin to evolve your photography. So, what can you do to get more input? Here are some suggestions. Read these articles and they will give you some ideas to get you started…
But the single most important thing is… do some photography. Practice, practice practice. And enjoy every bit of it.
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Photokonnexion Photographic Glossary – Definitions and articles.
Composition resources on Photokonnexion
Definition: RAW; RAW format files; TIFF; DNG; NEF; CR2; CRW
Definition: Post-Production; Processing; Post-Processing; Image Editor; Editor;
Easy introduction to ‘visual elements’ in photographs
Simple ‘Principles’ of photographic composition
50 ways to improve your photography – every day!
The Visual Tool Box by David duChemin
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