The new year is upon us and like most people you are probably thinking about your New Year’s resolutions and goals for 2015. Here are a couple of suggestions that will help you improve your photography for next year:
Quality – not Quantity
Too many photographers seem to be shooting in the “Infinite Monkey” mode these days. Make 2015 the year you strive to shoot fewer but better quality images. Take time to think about your shots, why are you creating this image, take the time to compose your image thoughtfully and carefully.
Shoot in Manual (or at least one of the 2 priority modes)
The Auto, Scene Modes, and Program mode on your camera are quite good. These modes free the photographer from thinking about the camera settings so that they can concentrate on creating the image. However, these modes sometimes make us lazy and leads us to shoot more and faster. When I shoot in Manual I am forced to slow down and really think about the image before I shoot it, or realize after I shot it, “oops, I forgot to change the _________ setting.” Shooting in Manual is a good exercise and makes you think about the consequences of the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO settings you are using. The 2 priority modes are where I typically shoot, because it still gives me control over what I am interested in controlling the most: Depth of field (Aperture Priority) or Motion (Shutter Priority).
Use Raw for it’s intended purpose
I see this way too often. A photographer takes a picture, then thinks or says “I will fix that in Photoshop”. Raw was never intended to be a tool to “fix” your images. It is intended to provide the photographer with all of the data that has not been processed. One of the biggest secrets to shooting in raw is to strive to get your exposure and white balance correct at the time you shoot the image. This frees you up to do the editing rather than the fixing.
Try something different
Sometimes we get in a rut and stuck in our ways. If you primarily shoot landscapes, try shooting portraits instead. If you are a bird or wildlife photographer, try shooting architecture instead. Not only will this broaden your skills, but you might find that you enjoy another aspect of photography.