Are you like me, do you feel frustrated with your photography and tearing your hair out when things are NOT working? I hear your frustrations and have written about it before. I have discovered a solution, or at least a way to get your mojo back.
Have FUN When You Practice Photography!
The way to stop being frustrated with yourself and your camera is to use your device, and don’t give yourself a hard time when things go wrong. Don’t blame yourself or your camera.
This is not as silly as it might sound. We are all human, we want to see ourselves making steady progress and building our skills. What we don’t want is setbacks, but they happen.
We simply have to fight through, taking lots and LOTS of pictures.
- Try to take photographs as consistently as possible.
Even if they are disasters or photo fails like the ones I submit to the monthly Photo Fails you learn from each picture you take. Just keep taking pictures and having fun.
Do I Need to Practice Every Day?
Will you hate me if I say Yes and No? Let me explain:
Yes – will build your experience faster. You will be using your camera every day and become used to operating it with confidence. You will find menu items more easily, your finger will find the shutter button more easily and judge settings more rapidly.
No – may mean a little bit slower developing your skills but even using a camera every few days will allow practices to become second nature. It may simply take a little bit longer to navigate to menus or remember settings, but you can do this. Try Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Or work on Wednesdays and Sundays!
- You are learning new things, don’t be hard on yourself.
Not everyone can pick up their camera each day but it is important to build the intention do so as often as you can. The more pictures you take the better you get.
The Easiest Way to Practice Photography?
I know you will find a lot of advice about where and how to practice your photo skills so I will share the best tip that really works for me.
Have a favourite subject or goal for your photographs.
If you want to take great pictures of pet products for a blog, use your current cat products as ‘stand-ins’ to see what kind of lighting or compositions work and keep experimenting. Be ready for a sponsored post when it drops into your inbox.
Cat lovers, do you work at a cat rescue? Take your camera along when you volunteer at the rescue and ask permission to practice taking pictures.
Whatever you love to take pictures of, use that as a goal or focus to inspire you. Adjust your camera ISO, change shutter speeds or push your exposure settings higher or lower. See what happens, what works and what you never want to do again.
- We all learn at different speeds
- Don’t give up. If something isn’t working, rethink your subject or goal
- You will take
hundredsthousands of pictures that do not work
- See how a small difference in settings can change your photo
- Read your Manual!
- Don’t let the criticism of others deter you if you love your subject.
Make Sure You Check The Camera Settings
This picture of Natasha (above) from the cat cafe has the settings I used on the right-hand side of the picture. Your own settings will show you the same kind of things like exposure, white balance and shutter speed.
Most photo editing software will allow you to review the settings of every picture you have taken. From the
IDEA: Weekly photo challenges are popular on the Internet these days, but different photography communities have different names for them: Photo of the Week, 52 Photos Project, Sunday Photo Prompt, etc. The key is to take 52 photos over the course of one year.MakeUseOf.com
Photographing Things Differently
- Try taking a picture with different ISO settings or exposures. What happens?
- Take photos at different levels. High up looking down, low at cat level. How does your view change
- See what happens when you change the ‘white balance’. Try Sunny, shady, fluorescent light.
- Try using fill-flash outside.
- Set your camera to P mode and play with the exposure compensation dial. (Find it in your manual!)
- Think about only taking black and white pictures. See what happens.
Top Practice Hints and Tips
- A picture is too dark – check exposure settings
- Or too bright – look at your exposure settings (again)
- Your photo is blurry – you moved – it happens.
- DSLR users can try different shutter speeds to stop blur too.
- The image seems grainy? Check your ISO settings
Disasters Happen in Photography
So does good stuff! Even the experts don’t get it right all the time. Experienced photographers either adjust an image afterwards in photo software, which is called ‘post-production’, or they set an image aside until they find a use for it.
I am showing you the photographs I took of Natasha in this post to show how persistence pays off. Each is a success for me because each one has reached the goal I aimed form – a focus on her face.
Even if I have a blurry paw here or there or wand toy movement. This is progress for me when I practice photography. To get these pictures, I have spent time practising on the cats here at home, as well as the cafe, slowly building my skills to try and capture speed, or movement.
- You can and will make progress too.
How Do I Know I’m Improving?
You might ask yourself how good am I getting? How do I tell? Have I made any progress? Try this.
Keep a record of pictures you think of as successful. Put these pictures in a ‘Best of My Photos’ folder. After a while check out your pictures and see how you are doing.
You will find there are photographs that you are really pleased with. There will not be many but that’s the point. You are learning a new skill step by step and picture by picture. Your collection of the best of you will continue to grow over time.
You will end up with pictures you know have worked. Like this one of Natasha did for me.
Her face and body are both sharp and you can see the shine in her fur, in spite of her athletic wriggling and playing with wand toys, I captured an active cat in motion.
Now, I want to know what your own goals are when you practice photography over the coming weeks. Tell me in the comments!