As a photographer I’m constantly asked how do you improve the quality of your pictures? If I had to choose one single method that improves my work, it would have to be practice. It was Jim Rohn that said:
“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.”
Does Equipment Matter?
I have spent weeks on end trying to choose the perfect lens, only to find out it’s not long enough or bright enough. In fact I have spent twice as much time choosing the right camera and in the end realized that it’s not as good as the next. The right equipment simply makes the job easier but hard work makes your results shine consistently. For example a camera from 2004 such as the Canon 20D (my 1st camera), can still take excellent pictures despite it’s age. Below are a few samples taken by the 20D:
The iPhone can also be used for photoshoots & even a blog. The follow 3 images were all taken with an iphone:
When taking pics in an impromptu situation I do my best to be prepared. As I’m getting my camera out or walking to the location I gauge the settings I believe would be necessary to take the picture and then I goto work. By looking at the lighting conditions I can set my shutter speed, exposure and f-stop ahead of time. Then once the moment arrives I am at least partially ready, I say partially because camera settings are only part of the process.
For instance the above image was taken with only a few seconds of preparation. I was actually upstairs in a 2 story building and saw these large snow flakes falling outside my window. In a parking lot, adjacent to the building was a group of women enjoying the snow fall and snapping pics with their phones. I immediately grabbed my camera adjusted my settings (while inside) for the environment and I was off to capture the moment. Then in about 5 mins the snow was gone and out came the sun. Capturing that moment really came down to:
- Having my Camera with me
- Not being hesitant to seize the moment
- Thinking ahead and setting the camera for outdoor lighting
- Actually capturing the photo and not waiting for the perfect moment
To take better pictures you have to desire better results and go get them.
Had I stayed indoors thinking there wasn’t any chance of a good photo I would have missed those images for sure. Don’t ever be afraid to capture that key moment because in a second it can be gone forever. There is this wonderful Wayne Gretzky quotes that states:
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
In photography that statement holds true because how will we ever know if we can capture an image if we never try.
Inspiration is essential when it comes to creating your pictures. Photography is not just how you set your camera or the type of glass you use, it starts with the image in your head. You have to visualize what you want, then goto work to achieve it. Keep in mind the visual you have won’t always be crystal clear but having something is the key. I will go over the process of crystalizing your mental image in another post but for now here are a few places I go for inspiration:
- Nature (take a walk find locations and concepts)
Let’s recap the 3 ways to take better pictures
- Practice spend time with your camera even if your just hanging out with a few friends take it with you.
- Prepare think about where you’re taking the pictures and set your camera. You might not always have the time but take advantage when you do.
- Stay inspired find a community to keep you motivated or a place that’s full of beauty and just imagine the images you can create.
These 3 methods have helped me over the years and I continue to use them every time I shoot. Photography after all is about developing: not pictures but the skills it takes to get those pictures.