July 19, 2024
Lady Photographer / bwb-images

Do you want to Improve Your Photography?  Most people do.  Photography is one of those great lifetime pursuits.  Now matter how long you have been at it, or how good a photographer you are – there is always more to learn and new ways to improve.  If you are new to photography – a novice – the learning curve may seem a bit overwhelming.  Fear not – photography can be understandable and enjoyable from the very beginning.  And the more you learn about photography – the better your photographs will become. To get started you need to have an understanding of Photography Basics – the concepts and techniques at the heart of photography.

Are you Looking For Answers?  What is this photography thing?  How does it work?  What are all these photography terms?  How can I improve my photography? I thought it would be interesting to put together a series of articles on the basics of photography.  As with so many skills in life, in photography it is important to establish a solid foundation of knowledge and understanding on which you can then build more advanced skills and abilities.

Let’s explore some of the basic concepts and techniques of photography.   In the process I’ll share a few tips and tricks which might help your understanding and assist you in improving your photos.  In fact, let’s start with two very basic but very important tips.

TIP #1 – SHOOT ALOT OF IMAGES      Photographers are really fortunate in so many ways that we now live in the age of digital photography.  While purists might disagree, the advantages of digital photography over film photography far outweight the disadvantages. I’ll be mentioning many of these advantages as we cover various topics. Many of these advantages can help the novice photographer in a big way.  Perhaps one of the biggest is that you get instant feedback.  Take a photo – look at the image in the LCD screen on the camera – assess the result!  In the “old days” of film you would have to wait until you shot the entire roll of film and then had it processed and the prints developed.  A very slow process indeed.  Rapid feedback of results is a great learning tool and digital photography has it.  Combine this with the fact that you don’t have to buy film for each shot – instead using and reusing memory cards – and the cost of shooting and learning and reshooting to improve gets much much cheaper. So the first thing for the novice photographer to do is Shoot Alot of Photos.  Not just random shots – shoot with a purpose and then examine the results.  Learn from the results and then reshoot to improve.  But shoot – shoot -shoot!

Tip #2 – Turn Off “Auto”      All digital cameras have some type of “auto” or “program” mode or setting.  It’s a technological marvel.  It does all the thinking for you and makes all the settings for a particular image. This can be very handy because all the photographer has to do to make an image is “point and shoot” – hence the nickname for many lower priced cameras where manual adjustments and settings are either non-existent or are buried so far in some drill down menu that they might as well be non-existant.  The “auto” setting allows the camer’s built in processor (think “small computer”) to examine the conditions and make camera settings according to built in, on board programming parameters.  When you use the  “auto” setting you should generally get an “OK” image in most standard situations – and you can shoot fast without the need to stop, think, and apply your own settings.  So there is a time when “auto” can be helpful even for the more advanced photographer.  When I am traveling, I frequently have my camera set on “auto” as I walk around a new city or location.  I know that if I notice something that is happening quickly, or if I chance upon a subject that doesn’t allow time for me to make my own manual settings,  that I can “point and shoot” and will likely get a fairly good image.

The “auto” setting will let you make some fairly good images in most situations.  As a novice you will likely still use it alot because you have not yet learned about how to personally adjust your camera’s settings.  But the “auto” setting will not help you learn about your camera.  It generally won’t help you make creative or great images.  And it won’t help you become a better photographer.  Think of it as an option of last resort – use it selectively when circumstances require.  That’s OK.   But for learning – and for our purposes here – when practicing to improve your photography, turn off “auto” and start getting to know your camera and how the various settings which YOU make impact your photos.

That’s it for this time.  In future photo posts we’ll get into the basic concepts and techniques of photography. Photography is All About the Light.  That’s the topic for next time.  In the meantime,  you might want to get out your camera and review the manual.  That way you’ll be ready for future action.

Meanwhile………………Enjoy The Adventure!

Dr.B, The Photo Trekker