Just because you have all of the expensive, high tech camera gear, it doesn’t mean that you’ll instantly become a better photographer and take outstanding photos. As a friend of mine describes it “all the gear no idea“. Don’t let this be you. To get the best out of your camera, you need to understand what your camera is capable of, and what features it has.
Here are some ideas to help you to become a better photographer:
1. Undoubtedly, the best way to find out what your camera is capable of, is to actually read the manual that came with it. So many people when they get their digital camera simply charge up the battery, slot in a memory card, and select auto. Have your camera with you whilst reading about specific features or settings, that way you can access them as you read.
Shooting this way will let you take photos, and for the most part, the images captured will be O.K. However, by shooting in auto you are handing over the decision making to your camera’s processor. This may not give you the photo that you wanted to get. To get the shot you want, looking they way you visualised, means controlling the camera settings yourself.
Most digital cameras, have a number of dials, and buttons on them which control the various functions. Your camera manual will explain in detail what they are, and what they do. Have your camera to hand whilst checking out the manual, so that you can check out the various features whilst reading about them
2. Buy (and read) photography books. These may be specific to the use of your camera, such as David Busch’s excellent book about the Canon 5D MkIII. More general information books such as The digital photography handbook by Doug Harman. Or more specific information about a particular style of photography that interests you, such as landscape photography, portrait photography, HDR etc.
Your camera will come with a CD, (or several of them) with various programs and there is also usually a digital copy of the camera manual on here. This allows you to keep a copy on your computer / laptop / mobile phone for easy reference.
Another thing to consider is photo editing, and although editing will not make you a better photographer, as you improve your skills, so the images you capture should improve over time as well. When you are starting the editing process with a good image, you’re halfway to producing an outstanding finished image. So as with learning about your cameras features, find editing software you like, with the features you need, and learn what it can do.
3. Shoot every day if possible. One of the best ways to become a better photographer is to practice. Shoot every day if you can. The subject matter to some extent is unimportant, but what is important is that you are becoming familiar with your camera equipment, and what it is able do do. Think back to when you were learning to drive, everything was more difficult, because you had so much information to process. When you have been driving for a while, it becomes much easier. Same principal applies to your photography.
As your technical skills improve over time, so should your ability to capture the image you want.Don’t worry too much about shooting a certain way to begin with. Experiment with the different camera settings to see what effect they have on the photo’s you take.
4. If using a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera, you have the ability to use various lenses with your camera. Lenses come in different focal lengths, they can be either fixed focal length or zoom lenses. Within either type, they can also be either wide angle (capture more of a scene) or telephoto (capture less of a scene, but pulls that particular element “closer” to you)
Traditionally telephoto lenses would be used for wildlife photography or sporting events where you will struggle to get close to your subject. There is nothing stopping you using them in landscape photography to draw attention to a particular feature in the landscape. Wide angle lenses are generally used for landscape photography to enable you to capture more of the scene.
If you are using your smartphone for your photograph, here’s a post that may give you some helpful tips.