Ten Easy Ways To Improve Your Photography

11th May 2013
As I begin to look towards the next few months of photography I think it's always useful to look back at some basic pointers that have helped me over the years to Improve and capture the images I have been looking for. It is very easy to get stuck in a rut and the hobby you love can seem more like a chore. Here are my top ten pointers to keep your images fresh and your photography moving forward.

    Practice- It may seem obvious but getting out with your camera once a month is not going to cut it. If you can keep your kit close at hand so that you can even slip away in a half hour lunch to capture some images.

    Right Time- This is particularly important with wildlife, flora and landscape photography. Want to photograph Sand Martins, perhaps best done in the spring or summer months. This is an obvious example but some things can be a lot more subtle and the window of opportunity may be small. You may have a great idea for a landscape shot that has the sun rising behind a particular tree, although the sun rises in the east it varies its position wildly over the months.

    Right Place- You may have a strong desire to photograph a particular bird or animal. Research it, find out where it is common to give yourself the best chance of capturing it. For an example, twelve years ago I was obsessed with capturing images of common buzzard. Fine, a common bird, however twelve years ago they where very scarce in east Nottinghamshire. Had I travelled to the west I could have saved myself a lot of time and effort.

    Know Your Equipment - Todays digital SLR is a very complex piece of kit. Most of us are guilty of only using a small percentage of its capability. Do your practice and testing at home with a cuppa. Theres nothing worse than being presented with the shot of your life only to be frantically searching through menus to get the right setting and looking up to find the moment is gone.

    Have The Right Equipment - I can really relate to this one. Have you ever had to drill a hole in a wall to fit some shelves? Your drill bit needs to be 6mm but you don't have one so you use a 4mm and wiggle it around a bit to make the hole big enough. The raw plug only goes three quarters of the way in because the hole is to narrow at the bottom so you force it in and perhaps snip the top of the plug off with pliers. You follow this procedure with all six holes and after a couple of hours toil you fit the shelves feeling very pleased with yourself. Two weeks later someone puts a book on the shelf weighing slightly more than a well thumbed Barbara Cartland and the shelves fall off the wall bringing half the plaster with them. And the moral of the story, get the right equipment for the job you are doing and you will complete it in half the time and to your long term satisfaction. I think you get the point.

    Post Processing- Mmmm I'm guilty of this one. Some of us love to be outside taking the pictures and hate to sit at the computer processing them. You have to learn to love it or at least tolerate it. Many SLRs produce there images in RAW format. This is an apt description. The images information is all there but it needs polishing to be fully appreciated, unfortunately for us the type of polish differs greatly depending on how your images is to be presented. In programs like photoshop the settings used to prepare an image for website presentation are very different from those used to produce an A3 print. Experiment and get a standard set of procedures for each medium and then tweak them from there for the best results. Believe me it will/ save you time in the long run.

    Look After Your Kit - Its very tempting throw your kit back in the corner of the room when you have been out imaging all day. The problem with this is that if you don't maintain some order I can guarantee the next time you are out you either can't find that vital component when you need it or you'll spend hours removing dust spots from/your award winning image in photoshop.

    Give Yourself A Project- It happens to us all at some point, you find you are going out to the same places and imaging the same things. Be bold, set yourself a project, something you've never captured before, in a new place. Now all/ of a sudden your excited again, you've got to research it, you've got the ups and downs of success and failure. I can thoroughly recommend it.

    Set Up Your Own Website- Proud of your images? Think they're great, well maybe others will too. One of the problems with digital photography is that many of us go out take pictures and then hide them away on a hard drive on our computers. I would urge you all to set up a basic website and immediately your images are available to a world audience.

    Join Photography Forums- Yes, there are others out there. other people who love to get up at the crack of dawn and stand in a misty field waiting for that mystical and magical light. There are many forums out there with photographers of all levels posting there images, and not only posting images but asking for advice and giving it. In my experience photographers are a very generous bunch and love helping people out with constructive criticism, don't forget we've all been there before. Google it and drop in to take a look at the images that are being posted and the level of advice being given. Find one you like, join and post an image. There are a couple listed in my links to get you started.

    Finally The Most Important Eleventh- Remember the others in your life. I would imagine that dragging the wife and kids out to stand in a field at four in the morning sounds like bliss to you. However, I can guarantee that when you said you where going to take the wife and kids out at the weekend this wasn't what she had in mind. As a rule if I'm out at one day of the weekend the other is reserved for family time. Although I have been accused of having the best weather for when I'm out with the camera. Believe me a little Karma at home will improve your photography.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this, if anyone has any additions please let me know and i will add them to the list. I'm always keen to learn.

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