Photography is a beautiful journey of the creation of recordings capturing moments in time. Between learning to shoot, practising to create extraordinary images, potential day jobs, family life and more, shooting time can become scarce. Time flies when you're having fun, and it seems to move at an even faster pace the older you get because your life becomes busier and busier.
If photography were as easy as buying more extensive and better gear or having a Facebook page, we would all be photographers by now. However, that's not how it works, and it's a good thing, too. The journey from being a beginner and finally achieving the status of being a pro is half the fun of photography. Most people give up on photography because they get disheartened after spending thousands of dollars on their gear only to realize that they are still not able to get "good" pictures. This happens when they try to copy someone else's style. Check out our extensive list of Wedding Photographers in Melbourne to help capture your special moments.
It's essential for us as photographers to practice our skills as well as continually. Although we may have pressed the shutter button a million times, we need to be sure that we are always "ready for the big game". Like the Super Bowl quarterbacks, we must keep practising our skills, whether we are professionals, aspiring professionals, or enthusiasts.
Table of Contents
- 1 Why Practice?
- 2 Maybe I'll Practice Tomorrow.
- 3 Ways to Incorporate Photography Into Your Everyday Life
- 3.1 Always Have a Camera on You.
- 3.2 Participate in a Photo Project Challenge.
- 3.3 Start a Photography Blog.
- 3.4 Participate in Social Media.
- 3.5 Schedule Something Photography Related.
- 3.6 Peruse Your Favorite Magazines and Learn from the Images.
- 3.7 Participate in a Photo Competition.
- 3.8 Volunteer Your Photography Services.
- 4 Photography Techniques That Every Beginner Should Practice
- 5 Practice, Practice and Practice
Although practice does not make perfect (we can practice doing things the wrong way), it makes our techniques more natural and permanent.
Practice not only gives us a chance to make our shooting techniques more automatic; it provides us with a chance to try new approaches. Practice allows us to learn new poses, try new lenses, or try a new post-processing technique to enhance our photographs before we use them in a client shoot. As a photographer, learning never stops;
practice is an excellent way to try out things with no pressure or fear of failure.
Maybe I'll Practice Tomorrow.
Unless we are full-time, full-time photographers or have the luxury of shooting whenever we want, finding time to practice can be challenging. Life is busy; there are so many things that need to be done that we are sometimes tempted to say, "Maybe I'll practice tomorrow." Sometimes we need the motivation to force us to make an effort, despite other things that may get in the way, to practice our photography techniques.
Ways to Incorporate Photography Into Your Everyday Life
Whether photography is just a hobby or you aspire to do more with your images like an exhibitor provide photography services, it's essential not to put your camera away at any point and instead, always to be capturing your visions around you through your lens. In this article, I will share several ways to incorporate photography into your everyday life so that your creative passion steers clear of the back burner. You continue to be inspired to record the world around you.
Always Have a Camera on You.
Whether it's your DSLR, a point and shoot or your smartphone camera, when you have a camera conveniently on your person, there will never be a moment when you encounter a decisive moment or a beautiful object or scene and miss the opportunity to capture it because you didn't have a camera on you.
You can fall upon decisive moments, beautiful objects and breathtaking scenes at any time – even on your daily commute that you have previously travelled hundreds of times – and it's much more empowering to know you have gear with you to record that moment if you desire. Looking for a Wedding Photo Company? Look no further. Vogue Ballroom has compiled an ultimate list of wedding photo companies to help you choose.
Participate in a Photo Project Challenge.
There are many books, articles, and websites dedicated to photo projects and challenges that you can create for yourself, with a "365 Project" being one of the more popular choices because it gets you shooting every day.
If you sign up on websites such as Flickr, Smugmug, or 500px, each platform has groups or communities where you can post your image of the day and receive feedback and encouragement that will motivate you to do better continue shooting.
Start a Photography Blog.
Whether you write about photography, like I do, or want a platform to showcase your images and tell your life story through photos, a photography blog is another way to share your work, obtain feedback and encouragement and gain recognition and followers for your photography.
A good rule of thumb is to post at least once a week, but 3-5 times a week would be optimal if you are looking to gain exposure and keep active with photography.
Participate in Social Media.
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are perfect tools to share your work on a very regular basis, as it happens, and to broaden your audience through hashtags and keywords. Not only will posting your images on social media keep your contacts up to date with your work, but you will acquire a following and gain precious feedback – the more you post.
Schedule Something Photography Related.
While it doesn't have to be every day, perhaps once a week or bi-weekly, schedule and participate in a photography workshop or photo walk, meet with other photographers to shoot and share photos or set up a portfolio critique session to get feedback on your photography. Registering for a workshop or portfolio critique or just meeting up with other photographers for a photo walk and to share your images forces you to get out and shoot. You are less likely to cancel than if you were to always plan on shooting alone.
Collect Inspirational Images and Start a Pinterest Board. Pinterest is a great tool – especially for portrait and fashion photographers – as you can search numerous images on the pinboards of other people and collect and save inspirational photos for your next photoshoot.
This platform is also perfect for creating mood boards to share with your creative team on a photo shoot to give your team a better idea of your feel, mood, and vision for your images' outcome.
Peruse Your Favorite Magazines and Learn from the Images.
You most likely already take time to read your favourite magazines in fashion, travel, science, news, etc. One way to double task your reading is to take a moment to study some of your favourite images in these magazines and determine what it is that draws you to the idea. Is it the lighting? The wardrobe? The colours? The architecture?
I am figuring out what's appealing about an image to you as you flip through magazines forces you to look at photographs more closely, sometimes creating an interest in how the image was produced and how you can reproduce something similar. Also, magazines can be a great source of inspiration for your next photo walk or photoshoot. I typically tear pages out of fashion magazines of images that inspire me, whether it's the pose, wardrobe, makeup or hairstyle of the model or the location, general idea and lighting of a set. I scan them and save them in organized folders to peruse later when I look for inspiration for my photoshoots.
Participate in a Photo Competition.
Many photo contests out there – most with some incentive involved – and many themed on things having to do with your everyday life. Games such as "best pet photo" and "best destination photo" offer you opportunities to either use images from your daily life or encourage you to shoot more stock photos in your life.
Volunteer as a Photo Assistant for a Working Photographer. This is an excellent opportunity to keep your toe in the photography world by learning new techniques and exposing yourself to other photographers' visions and how they execute and achieve their dreams.
Volunteer Your Photography Services.
Do good with your talents—volunteer at a local animal rescue to photograph the available animals for adoption. You can also volunteer at places like hospices to help record a family – a loved one's last months, weeks, days and final moments.
Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep Portrait Photography Services
Organizations such as Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep ask for portrait photographer volunteers to help families honour children lost to stillbirth by providing portrait photography services capturing those children in a beautiful photograph for families to have and keep for remembrance.
It's essential to find ways to integrate photography into your everyday life. Not only does it give you a creative outlet, but it provides you with the opportunity to record those critical moments in your life and the lives of others. Putting your camera down for an extended amount of time can make it even harder to pick it back up again at a later date, and even if you do, you may stand a chance of not having the momentum you once had in capturing extraordinary images.
The saying 'practice makes perfect is as valid for photography as any other activity, so we've put together a collection of exercises that will help you become a better photographer.
Photography Techniques That Every Beginner Should Practice
Modern metering systems have great general-purpose modes, often called Evaluative, Matrix or Multi-area, which do a great job of accessing a scene and setting good 'average' exposure settings in many situations.
However, they're not 100% certain and very dark or very light scenes or backlighting can trick them into over or underexposure. They're also not psychic and don't know what you see in your head when you take a shot.
Switching to spot metering puts you in control of where the camera meters from and helps you develop a much better understanding of the tonal range in a scene.
A standard spot metering system allows you to meter from a tiny part of the scene, and it suggests exposure settings that will render your target a mid-tone. Consequently, you need to take care of this spot's positioning, study the scene carefully, and decide which is the best area to take a reading from.
It's often helpful to combine spot metering with AE Lock as this will fix the exposure settings (after metering) while you compose the image.
Check the Histogram
Just like the Levels display in image editing software packages such as Adobe Photoshop, a camera's histogram display is a graph that represents the brightness of the pixels that make up an image.
The scale runs from black, with a brightness reading of 0, on the left to white, with a brightness reading of 255, on the right.
The histogram peaks indicate the number of pixels with that brightness, and a prominent peak means lots of pixels have that brightness. This means that a very dark image will have peaks over to the left of the graph, while a bright one has peaked on the right.
Meanwhile, a correctly exposed 'ideal' scene has a histogram with a so-called 'normal' distribution peaked in the middle and just a few very bright and very dark pixels.
Checking the histogram after every shot will increase your understanding of the brightness distribution of an image. It will also enable you to determine whether an image is under-or over-exposed, with most pixels being grouped to the left or right of the graph, respectively.
Use a Single Prime Lens.
Using a prime or fixed focal length lens enables you to forget about the distraction of zooming in and out. Instead, you walk towards a subject, assess it through the viewfinder and then either shoot or move again to find a new or alternative vantage point.
It forces you to explore the subject more fully; you'll soon understand the angle of view of the lens.
As well as letting you travel light, if you take just one lens with you on a shoot or day out with your camera, you'll get to know that focal length, and in the future, you'll be able to decide which lens to mount on your camera just by looking at the scene and framing an image in your mind.
Set a Specific White Balance
Modern automatic white balance systems are competent, but that's not always a good thing because it can mean that you shoot with your mind in neutral (ha!) as far as colour goes. This may be OK much of the time, but if the camera delivers a result that you don't like, you may find yourself a little stuck for answers.
The answer is to climb free of the auto white balance safety-net and set a preset white balance value for the appropriate lighting conditions.
You may find that the Daylight or Sunny white balance setting produces the best results for the majority of the time, but it's worth experimenting with the others to assess their impact in a range of conditions so that you know when to use them in the future.
Set a Custom White Balance Value
It's easy to set the custom white balance value of a camera; you just set it to the correct mode (the manual will explain how to find this) and then photograph a white or neutral grey card in the same light as your subject. Well, that's the theory.
It can be a little trickier in practice because the angle at which you hold the card can significantly impact the final result.
Suppose the leading light is coming from directly above your subject; for example, you tip the card slightly downwards towards a coloured area under your topic. In that case, you will find the result is very different from the one you get if you hold the card slightly tipped upwards.
Learn how to make a custom white balance setting with your camera and experiment by holding a white balance card at different angles to see for yourself and learn. If you find you don't like the neutral look of images that your camera produces in this mode, try the adjustment controls until you find a setting that works for you.
Use Manual Exposure Mode.
Although aperture and shutter priority exposure modes are handy, they decide how bright or dark the image will appear to the camera.
Manual exposure mode puts you in charge, and it forces you to think about the brightness of a subject and its surroundings. It also means that you have to consider both depth of field and freezing or blurring movement.
It can help combine this exercise by using spot metering as it will enable you to select exposure settings that work for a specific part of the scene.
Post a Single Image Every Day
Rather than shooting sporadically and posting images to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram or any other social networking or image sharing site as and when you feel like it, try committing to shooting at least one image and posting only one shot every day.
This will encourage your creative powers, help you find novel subjects, and explore new areas or photography genres. It will also mean that you have to critically assess each image to identify the best shot from that day to post.
Wherever you post your image, make it known what you are doing, which will underline your commitment. It's also often a good idea to request constructive criticism to help you see your shots from another viewpoint and improve as a photographer. Looking for a wedding photographer in Melbourne? Look no further. Vogue Ballroom has compiled an ultimate list of wedding photo companies to help you choose.
Practice, Practice and Practice
You don't have to do all of these photography techniques every single day. Do one thing at a time but keep doing it daily. You will soon familiarize yourself with your camera's capabilities which will help you manipulate it creatively to create stunning images. Practice only makes you perfect. So keep at it. Even if you fail to get good shots, keep shooting to take better pictures than your last one. You will soon see a difference in the images you are shooting now and those you had shot earlier.