No matter how long you’ve been practicing photography, there are always ways to keep things fresh and improve your images. So, if you’re feeling stuck in a rut or just need a new way of seeing things, these 10 tips can help take your skills to the next level.
1. Exhaust All Possibilities
Don’t walk away from a subject with just one great capture. Be sure to take advantage of every situation to go home with multiple fantastic images. Make a horizontal and vertical of what appears in front of you. If the obvious orientation is vertical, zoom to a wider setting and make a horizontal and include more information in the frame. Compose the image to eliminate distractions. Make a wide and tight image of every subject.
2. Previsualize To Improve Your Images
As you approach your subject or as it approaches you, think about your initial composition so when you raise your camera to your eye, no time is wasted regarding the placement of subject matter.
3. No Arrogance Allowed
Don’t ever get to the point where you feel you know it all. Pompous photographers are not appreciated because photography is an art where one can never claim to know it all. There’s always something new and different to learn or apply. The only time the words “arrogance” and “photography” should be included in the same sentence is when you’re told that photography is not an art where arrogance should come into play!
4. Be Background Aware
“The background is equally as important as the subject” is a mantra I share with all my safari participants and every student who takes a class or comes to a presentation. I tell them if the background is busy with lots of distractions, bright spots or mergers, change your angle or move to a different vantage point so a clean background can be had. A clean background is one that allows the subject to obviously stand out.
5. Read The Manual
When I run my safaris to Tanzania, I often hear, “I didn’t know my camera could do that.” When you lay out big bucks for a new camera body, it behooves you to know what it can do so you up your chance to obtain a photo you otherwise may miss if you don’t know what your camera is capable of.
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7. Keep The Wheels Greased
As with anything else, the less you use your camera, the more you’ll forget. It’s essential to know how to quickly modify settings such as ISO, menus, aperture, shutter speed, exposure compensation, focus point, motor drive, white balance, shooting mode and more. Unless you can adjust these settings on the fly, you’re guaranteed to miss some shots. Don’t let that happen to a potential once-in-a-lifetime photo. The more familiar you are with your camera, the more you’re guaranteed to get the shot.
8. Learn, Read, Commit
Take a workshop, go on a photo tour or safari, join a camera club or take an approved photography course. Do a Google search to see what’s offered in your area. Read about your subject, do some research about where you plan to travel, study the behaviors of your subjects, learn more about the craft of photography, subscribe to a magazine and continue to read all the great Tips of the Week found on the Outdoor Photographer website. Commit to doing all you can to make great photos and stop making excuses as to why you shouldn’t go out and shoot. Grab your camera and GO. It’s easy to say it’s too cold, early, windy, etc., but there’s one guarantee if you constantly succumb—you’ll never get the shot.
9. Don’t Let Your Tripod Get Concrete Feet
Too often, photographers “lay claim” to the given diameter of their tripod legs and feel as if it’s eminent domain. Image after image keeps getting made from the exact same location. Little do they realize if they sidestep three feet to their right, a much better composition could be made. Don’t be afraid to adjust your shooting angle more to the right, left, higher or lower. A much-improved photo could be the result.
10. Learn How to Read Light
My safari business tag line is, “It’s All About The Light.” For me, light is the single most important element that makes or breaks a photo. Sunrise and sunset provide golden, warm and gorgeous light for nature images. Front light animals and sidelight scenics to maximize their beauty. The word photography literally means writing with light: photo = light // graphy = to write. When you make a photo, you write with light.
To learn more about this subject, join me on a photo safari to Tanzania. Visit www.russburdenphotography.com to get more information.