10 basic photography random tips and advice

I am often being asked advice from people just starting out in photography. Usually it is along the lines of “How can I ………?” or “What camera should I buy”. Most of these questions have no single simple answers and will be different depending on the kind of photography you want to do. Here is some random advice that is just one photographers opinion and should be viewed as such.

1. To get better the single most important thing you can do is to use your camera more. Take more pictures.

2.There is a ton of software out there for photographers and you can go broke fast buying it. If there was one software I could have starting out I would get Adobe Lightroom. This program will help you get
organized and allow you to edit multiple images at the same time. If you are or hope to be at the professional level, the full version of Adobe Photoshop is also something that should be considered.

3.Learn from your meta data. When I was starting out in Photography in the film only days (Yeah I’m old), we did not have the option to look at our images settings. If we did not remember or write down our shutter speed and aperture, there was no way to know what they were. Today all your images have this information embedded in the file, make use of this amazing gift from the technology gods. Look at the images you like or more importantly the ones you don’t like and see where you shutter speed and aperture were and learn from your mistakes and successes.

4.Use a tripod. Yeah it is a big pain in the butt to carry around a tripod, but in certain situations like when using slower shutter speeds a tripod is a must.
5. Think before you photograph. Today with digital photography people tend to make too many exposures(take too many pictures). I used to photograph landscapes with a 4×5 camera that required me to insert a single sheet of 4×5 inch film for every exposure, every time I clicked the shutter was the result of a well thought out composition. Pretend your digital camera can only photograph one image every 5 minutes and think about what you are photographing, ask yourself what aperture and shutter speed would work best in this situation.

6.Photograph in raw and not jpg. There are times when only jpgs can be the way to go, but if you are photographing anything important, raw is the way to go.

7.Buy a camera that allows you to manually select shutter speed and aperture.

8.Photograph what you know or what stimulates you artistically

9.Take the word “smile” out of your vocabulary. Don’t force smiles, let them come naturally.

10.Don’t let what other photographers are doing make you think your work is any less important. This happens to all photographers at every level, you look at some awesome photographer’s web site and sometimes you feel like hanging up your camera because you think you could never “do that”. This is when you have to understand we all have our strengths and weaknesses and the great thing about photography is that there is no single “right way” to do things. Learn from those you admire and allow them to inspire you to try new techniques and compositions. Your most valuable quality is your own unique vision, that is yours and yours alone.

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