Forget about Auto mode.
Rah! Rah! RAW!
Avoid “slap-dash” flash.
Don’t go anywhere without your camera.
Don’t be scared of the weather.
Create black-and-white photos during editing.
Concentrate on a single subject.
Don’t overlook an opportunity.
Learn how to use filters.
Break the mold.
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Success as a photographer is all about the challenge of stepping outside your comfort zone, trying new ideas and making the New Year different than last year. The following photography resolutions are a good place to start.
Auto mode is certainly a technological wonder compared to film photography, but it’s not for the photographer who wants to know how to control the shooting process. Take the first step to being in charge of your camera by selecting the P mode. It will still determine exposure for you, but now you’ll have the option of adjusting white balance, ISO and many other settings, so your results match your vision instead of your camera’s.
Shooting in JPEG mode may make sense when you’re taking casual photos of family and friends, but RAW is the format for the photographer who wants total shooting and creative control. Sure, RAW images require more memory space as uncompressed files, but you’ll have all the data of each image to manipulate during post-production. Shooting in RAW will also “force” you to learn and/or advance your editing skills because you’ll be able to do more with your images on your computer.
It’s great that many cameras have a built-in flash, but just as with Auto exposure mode, Auto flash mode denies you the opportunity to be more creative with light. Plus, Auto flash mode doesn’t always select the perfect amount of light, making some photos look less colorful and bright. Make it a priority during 2013 (early 2013) to learn all the flash modes available to you and use the right one for each type of image you want to capture.
It’s not just a matter of missing a great shot because your camera is at home on a shelf. You’re simply not a photographer if you don’t have your camera with you. It’s also a calling card, telling everyone that you are a creative person who is passionate about developing a unique vision of the world, and then capturing and sharing it.
As a companion to the 4th resolution above, you can’t be a fair-weather photographer. In fact, once you deliberately start to shoot during bad weather, you’re apt to discover and take much better images. Again, it’s the challenge that will help make you a better photographer. Dress appropriately and acquire a protective shooting bag for your camera and become the photographer that won’t be deterred by Mother Nature.
The best place to create black-and-white photos is on your computer with editing software, not with your camera’s black-and-white mode. For the same reason you should consider shooting fewer JPEG images, you should also avoid shooting in the black-and-white mode. It will not save any of the color data of your images, which will actually cause your black-and-white photos to lose much of their pop. It’s much better to have all the image data available to you to adjust and manipulate in Photoshop, Lightroom or whatever software you use. You’ll be much happier with the results and you’ll become a better editor.
Select a specific subject or object to photograph in all its forms, under different lighting conditions, various times of the day and during every season. It could be as mundane as fire hydrants or doorknobs. The challenge is both to create a series or album of images of the single subject and make it exciting and dramatic. By doing so, you are forced to use more of your inner vision and the entire palette of camera settings and shooting techniques.
How many times have you been walking on the street or driving your car and have spotted what looks to be a scene or subject for a photo, but don’t take an advantage of the opportunity? This is why you must always take your camera wherever you go. The other challenge here, which is often the difference between great and so-so photographers, is not allow the difficulty of parking your car, climbing a fence or jumping a ditch to deter you from capturing what may be a once-in-a-lifetime image.
Too many photographers take filters for granted, or don’t know how or why to use them. They are some of the simplest means to provide you with more creative control and transform everyday images into spectacular or dramatic photos. Make 2013 the year you educate yourself about filters and add them to your visionary arsenal.
Whatever type of photography is your preference, your passion, then schedule some time for the challenge of shooting subjects that are unfamiliar to you. If all your images tend to be of people, then head for the park or the wilderness to capture landscapes and wildlife. If you’re always shooting sunsets, then try your hand at macro photography. There’s nothing wrong with being a specialist, but photography, as a creative art, is an opportunity to broaden your horizons. You may just discover a new topic that suits you better than the one you’ve been pursuing.
Photo copyright PhotographyTalk member Peter Eyles
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