Beginning Photography – How to be a Better Photographer Part 2 of 2

Beginning Photography
How to be a Better Photographer

Part 2 of 2

In part 1 of “How to be a Better Photographer” I suggested three things.

1. Join a support group (forums)
2. Purchase three books
3. Subscribe to newsletters

Hopefully there has been enough time for you to do all 3. They are simple steps to take and hopefully you have found value in them.

Also, I’d like to preface Part 2 by saying I am not a professional photographer. I am not trying to teach you anything except to share with you my experiences in the first 10 weeks of photography in my quest on how to be a better photographer!

That being said, here are 4 more tips on what ‘you’ can do if you want to know how to be a better photographer!

Part two covers:
4. Find a friend
5. Shoot and keep shooting!
6. The ‘before you shoot’ checklist
7. What do all those words mean? I’m not smarter than a 5th grader!

Once all these steps are covered, practice applying everything you learned. If it is ONE thing from each book, then apply it and make it part of your photography life.

These final 4 will allow you to ‘show off’ what you’ve learned and understand some of the language you have encountered.

That being said… Here we go:

4. Find a friend

If you are as fortunate as I am to have a budding photographer friend like Nhat Nguyen, you can learn just by observing and asking questions. If you were my friend I’d show you everything I know about photography – so lets hang out and learn together.

My friend Nhat just started photography and he shoots actors headshots. His photography website is here: Nhat Nguyen Photography.

We spent a day together as he photographed my son’s headshots and he knew I wanted to learn how to be a better photographer. He was a wealth of knowledge and I learned a lot. So find a friend who knows photography and spend a day with him or her! Just watching them shoot, asking them why they are adjusting the dial, where they are shooting, etc. will give you a ton of great knowledge!

5. Shoot and keep shooting!

One of the best ways on how to become a better photographer is to shoot and keep shooting pictures. I have spoken to new digital camera owners and when I look at their photos through the camera, I see a picture here and there. Always trying to capture one shot and moving on, as if it’s too expensive to develop thousands of ‘bad shots’.

This is the beauty of digital photography. You can shoot to your hearts content – or your memory cards storage! Just keep shooting. Find those different angles, shoot a wide master, go in for a medium, then go in as tight as you can! Practice different apertures, speeds, ISO, etc. Keep shooting and delete the ones that you do not like!  It’s as simple as that.

Think of yourself as the director of a major motion picture. You keep shooting a scene, Take 1, 2, 3, etc… Get all the coverage you need and in the end, the audience will only see one of the many ‘takes’ you ‘took’!

6. The ‘before you shoot’ checklist

I got a call from my sister the other day. She was shooting outdoor pictures and all her pictures were washed out. She said she had her aperture wide open, and couldn’t get it exposed – all her pictures were over exposed. We did a quick trouble shoot. Are you in “M” mode? White Balance? Shooting mode? What is your aperture? Speed? ISO?

“Oh… ISO!” She was at 3200.

She changed it down to 400 and viola. Magic.

Well, magic for her. She was completely ecstatic that her camera was not broken!

So before you shoot, go thorough a written checklist:

a) ISO
b) Shooting mode
c) White Balance
b) Aperture
c) Shutter speed

If you are someone who goes form manual focus to autofocus, add that to your list as well. If these 5 things are mentally checked off, you will be more prepared. This is basically the 6P Rule – Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

7. What do all those words mean? I’m not smarter than a 5th grader!

Instead of going through all the camera terms, I’m going to point you to one of my favorite websites: (camera terms)

Just review the list in the left column and understand them just a little. If you do, you are well on your way on how to be a better photographer.

This completes this 2 part introduction on how to be a better photography! I am still learning, so comments are appreciated!

Back to Part 1: “How to be a better Photographer Part 1

Related topic: “Beginning Photography – The Canon T1i

About Glenn Magas