Taking your passion to the next level can be challenging but we did some research and gathered a few tips to help you make the best of your camera.
by Julia Migné
1. Read the Manual
We know it’s manual are often written in tiny almost unreadable texts and it looks like the most boring thing to do but we can assure you that it is essential. If you don’t even know how your camera works, you’ll probably end up not maximising its full potential (maybe just utilising 5% of its actual uses) and that’s pretty sad, don’t you think?
If you really can’t be bothered to read it then head online and watch Youtube tutorials to learn the basics. There are also plenty of specialised websites and online courses that can teach you about almost everything you need to know about your camera and the different modes it offers.
2. Stop using the automatic mode
Really. Just stop. Using it is basically putting your camera on auto-pilot with you having absolutely no control over the settings. In order to progress, you need to start playing with the different modes. Try to take the same photo changing settings slightly: variations in aperture, ISO and shutter speed can drastically change the end result.
By taking the same photo with different settings, you’ll get a better understanding of what each parameter is doing and will learn to get photos that look exactly the way you wanted them to look. Take the control!
3. Look at other’s people photos
In the age of Facebook, Instagram and Flickr millions and millions of photos are now available online. Have a look on the different platforms and start following different types of photographers. In addition to it being a good way to get inspired, it is also great to discover new techniques and styles.
If you already have a niche, why not have a look at something completely different from what you typically photograph? You might just find yourself suddenly interested in food photography or portraits despite being more of a landscape photographer.
Here are some accounts that you might want to look at:
4. Join a club or a society
Photography clubs and societies are quite common nowadays and they are a great way to boost your skills and confidence. Being surrounded by other people who share the same passion is extremely inspiring and you usually get to work on different themes each week.
From light painting to portraits, clubs and societies are hubs of people with different talent and interests which means that it’s a great way to learn new things and try out new equipment. Never tried a fixed-lens before? Surely someone must have one for you to try!
5. Experiment and have fun!
Once you’re good with the basics, it’s time to explore on your own. Invite your friends over and try your new settings on them. They usually won’t mind playing models in exchange for a new improved profile picture.
Find places to train and challenge yourself. If you’re into wildlife or nature photography, head to your local zoo or botanical garden. More of a nightlife photographer? Ask nightclubs or pubs if they need anyone to take promotional photos!
Julia Migné is a multimedia journalist and wildlife photographer specialising in environmental issues and odd hobbies. She has written for Africa Geographic and BBC Wildlife among others. An endless traveller, she swears that she would visit one country for each letter of the alphabet.