Taking photos is easy, anyone can do it! However, here are my top 20 tips for getting a better photography experience. With many decades of experience in using a both an analogue 35mm camera, digital SLR camera’s and selling photos and services, I have found these to be invaluable!
01. Be prepared the day before – Forget all the worry and charge ALL your batteries the day before a shoot.
02. Format your SD cards once your batteries are charged – There’s nothing worse than being mid-shoot and a card fills up unexpectedly.
03. Make sure you make the most of your User Quick Settings – These allow you, to at the touch of a button set you camera settings to a default. It’s handy to make the first setting for general shots (perhaps base ISO, film type etc), another setting for fast objects, another for low light etc.
04. Make it routine to check your dials on your camera – So many people wonder why they are shooting black and white, or burst shooting etc. Set all your dials before you make a start.
05. Make sure you have your electric horizon turned on! If you don’t have an electric horizon, use the focus points as guidelines – Straighter photos means less cropping!
06. Make sure you have your live Histogram turned on if you have one! – You can keep an eye on your highlights and shadows with this.
07. Use live Exposure & live White Balance in your EVF – See what you shoot before you shoot it.
08. Take shots with your mobile device of subjects you really like – Sometimes it helps to see the view through a bigger screen and take test shots quickly with your mobile.
09. Choose a focal length for the day (on a per subject basis if necessary) and stick to it – Follow the rule of KLIC (See separate blog), keep it consistent and your work will look better.
10. Take multiple shots from multiple angles – Use burst mode when possible, you can never take too many shots.
11. Move around, use your feet not your lens to zoom where possible – You’ll discover much more!
12. Use your gut instincts – They are usually right, and those photos will usually be the best.
13. Don’t be afraid to try something new – If you have an idea, try it, it’s the only way you’ll learn.
14. Don’t be afraid to use any mode you want in your camera – If it means you get the shot because you flicked your switch to fully automatic, don’t worry about it because nobody knows or cares.
15. Take a break – Make sure you have a snack and fluids and take a break. You’ll see things differently after that.
16. Don’t “chimp” – Looking consistently back at your photos means you’re missing an opportunity. By all means check your first shot of the day to check everything is working, but after that, try and concentrate on the photography.
17. Make sure you take your images off your card as soon as possible, then look through them – Get your photos backed up as soon as you can, just look over them, perhaps do some minor edits, then leave them for a short while. Your brain will have chance to digest what you’ve taken and you’ll have better ideas for post processing.
18. If you want an image to be proud of, think what it would look like on your wall – This one is most important. If you want to improve your photography, think how an image will look on a wall. Sometimes they can look great on a computer or phone screen, but picture them on a wall. People will request your work of they can picture it on their wall. Print out a few A4 images to try it out.
19. Move on – The lifespan of an image you think is awesome it’s just a few hours to a day on social media, longer on your website and infinitely longer when printed. Don’t dwell on your images if you don’t intend to print them.
20. Enjoy your photographing – If you’re happy photographing something, you’ll take better photos because you’re interested. If others are shooting landscape around you and you don’t care for that, photograph them, or do some macro.
There’s no hard and fast rule, but these basic tips should help you on your way to better photography. In an upcoming blog we’ll revisit KLIC (Learning to Keep It Creative & Keep It Consistent). A set of sound, simple to use principles which, if followed will help you on your way to becoming a successful photographer.
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