learning digital photography
shoot more or shoot better?
When I was a child, with my first camera, my mother on occasion hid my camera and told me the little white lie that it was broken. Every coupe of days I would come to her with another film to be processed and ask for a new one. I can imagine her dilemma; she knew I was following my passion and wanted to encourage me, but she simply couldn’t afford to keep up with my shooting habits.
Then came digital cameras. The first ones only allowed you to store about 20 photos at a time. But this was still amazing because you could delete the photos you didn’t like, and take more.
These days, large capacity memory cards are cheap and readily available and you can take hundreds of images on a single card. So why wouldn’t you take advantage of that?
Shoot more is the number one tip I give to anyone who is learning to take better photographs. When you are practicing a new skill or trying to capture particular image, take more shots than you think you need, and then delete those that don’t turn out quite as you’d like.
When you take a lot of shots, you can keep the ‘best of the best’.
keep your camera handy
Make sure your camera is with you, with a charged battery and a card already in it. Keep it close by so that it’s easy to grab when you see something interesting happening. “Stay right there, I will be right back!” or “OK do that again!” most often just doesn’t work.
take a close look before you delete
Before deleting your ‘bad’ images, take the opportunity to study them and try to work out what you did wrong. You can often learn more from your failed images than you can from the good ones. If you have the ability to view your camera settings, take a look at your badly exposed images and try to figure out what you could have done differently. If your focus was off try to figure out where you went wrong. If your image is badly composed work out what to do next time you have a similar scene to photograph. Use your failures as a learning opportunity and you’ll get less failures over time.
delete only the very bad images
Don’t get carried away with deleting. Sometimes your ‘less than technically perfect’ shots will be well worth keeping because of the special moment you’ve captured or the expression on someone’s face. If in doubt, save it! Remember, once deleted, it’s gone forever.
set your camera to continuous mode
Most point-and-shoot (compact) and DSLR cameras will allow you to take a continuous burst of images. With continuous mode, you can keep taking photos while the action is happening. This is particularly helpful when you’re photographing fast moving children and will help you to capture those very fleeting moments (or split seconds) that you’d otherwise miss.
shoot more or shoot better?
The simple answer is both! Shooting more when you’re learning digital photography will result in you shooting better over time.
Im not advising you take the ‘spray and pray’ approach where you snap often and randomly in the hope of getting that occasional, accidental keeper. Shooting more is not a substitute for knowing how to take a technically good photo but it will help you to develop the skills to get there.
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