First of all – you don’t need a new camera. These photography tips do not cost you a cent, you do not have to buy anything, on the contrary, they may even improve your image cash register a bit and you will get rid of unnecessary ballast. You will see, if you consistently implement and follow these tips in 2021, you have enough to do -)
The good news is – these photography tips are – just like my article about the beginner mistakes – not technical “how-to” tips, I don’t want to call them the “best tricks” and nevertheless – or just because of that – you will learn a lot if you heartily.
These photography tips are more suggestions on how you can change your mindset a bit and get much better images without having to buy new cameras or other pieces of equipment.
Here we go: Category Photography Tips you probably didn’t expect here
Table of Contents
1. Photography tip that saves money: Reduce your equipment
One of my favorite photography tips with which I start almost every conversation about improvement suggestions, whether in a shooting camp or elsewhere: use a camera, a lens, commit to as little as possible and try to get the best out of it.
Photography has been in our pockets since the smartphones and the quality increases year after year. More equipment brings more options and therefore very easily more chaos in the head. You lose focus on the essentials and the creativity in the photos sinks instead of rising.
I don’t want to say you need anything more than the camera in your host pocket. But less is more and too much can break more than it brings. No matter what you have with you, what matters is what you can do and what you can get out of existing equipment.
Whether you set 1 lens per month or once per year is irrelevant. Don’t go for too much equipment. Not only does this not necessarily help you take better photos, but it may also even prevent you from doing so. Sometimes it is extremely helpful to limit yourself to a camera with a lens and the basics of the exposure triangle. If your head says “oh, with the camera or with the lens I could …” just brake it immediately and ask yourself – what could I do with what I have available at the moment.
At this point, since briefly mentioned – Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Leica, … please do not be tempted to become a “religious supporter” of a camera brand. There is so much (mostly nonsense) being discussed online and there is someone around every corner who can explain to you why the brand he is using is the real deal.
The only right camera for you is the one you feel comfortable with and that does what you need.
2. Respect every inconspicuous motif and turn it into a rock star
We talk too often about a lack of motives.
“Well, there was nothing nice” … There are motifs everywhere and it is solely up to you and your head what you make of it. The more inconspicuous a motif may be, the more possibility it gives you to grow.
Take up the challenge even more if you think the motive would be “bad” or there would be none at all. There you have the most potential to become a better photographer.
Walk through the world with your eyes open and find colors, shapes, and motifs where others don’t see them. That is exactly what makes the difference.
The better you practice it, the more your photography will grow on it. And speaking of “go” – keep moving. Standing in one place, we don’t really see the scenery, only when we move do things that were previously hidden appear.
You don’t find new perspectives by standing in one place and thinking about it but in motion. Stopping and “zooming” is one of the most painful beginners’ mistakes that some go through for a long time 😉 This applies to life as much as it does to photography.
3. Become a better “storyteller”
Photographers don’t work with cameras. Yes, of course, we do that because it is our tool. But just as a cook would not say that he works with knives and pots, but with ingredients and his creativity, we should not limit ourselves to our cameras. What we really work with, what our actual ingredients are, is limited to light (we’ll come to that) and tell stories.
Of course, a good photo is characterized on the one hand by appealing image editing, lighting, composition, colors (or with black and white contrasts) etc. and on the other hand (in my opinion even more important) – it tells a good story.
No matter whether the expression of a person in a portrait or a reportage photo, even a successful landscape photo, ideally they all tell a story. That can, but need not be, “obvious”. It may also be enough to stimulate the viewer’s imagination so that the photo tells a story for everyone who sees it. But in any case, a good picture in some form tells any story to anyone 😉
So work on your own storytelling.
Work to see for yourself which stories in photos of others appeal to you. Find out why a photo appeals to you or why it doesn’t appeal to you. Discover the storyteller in you and try to incorporate this into your images.
4. Mask your camera screen!
An exercise and one of my favorite photography tips that I love to pull out of my sleeve at studio workshops.
Unusual, I realize that. But it works.
Gaffer tape (or maybe something gentler that doesn’t stick to the camera for years) on the LCD screen and you’re done. (Of course, this only works with cameras with their own viewfinder 😉 “But … But … I don’t see anything anymore …” Exactly! You have to think because you can no longer see anything 😉
I also do that regularly “Tom”. Because it really helps to change and reverse the thought processes in the head. Of course, it is an advantage to be able to control everything on the screen immediately. But the coziness of DSLR cameras with a screen sometimes makes us careless. Just pull the trigger, after all, you can immediately check whether the result fits. If you practice thinking first, thinking about what you do why and then pulling the trigger, you will save yourself tons of time and frustration in photography in the long run.
But honestly, not in every situation, you have “no time to think carefully about the settings beforehand”. Very often you just don’t want to. Do it anyway. It will train your thinking process before you pull the trigger, it will benefit you enormously over time and it will become less and less strenuous. But it makes you a better photographer in the long run.
5. Pounce on the supposedly “bad light” and make the best of it
Shoot camper know how much I insist: there is no ” bad light “. There is only light! Lots of light, little light, soft, hard, in all colors and variants. Talking yourself out that the light is bad and there is nothing you can do is easy. But it is also wrong and does not help you.
If you can handle your flash properly, there will never be “bad light” again, because you can do something with every situation.
And even without a flash, don’t talk yourself out of the “bad light” that is present.
Just try the opposite.
Challenging lighting situation? Ask yourself what you could do with the situation anyway (or just because of it). The ISO of your camera is not high enough? Get light. Maybe a flashlight, a lighter, a smartphone screen … Make the best of the situation and still – or just because of it – a great photo.
6. Buy an analog camera
Have you heard this king among photography tips too often? Then finally listen to it 😉 Seriously, analog photography is so much fun. I don’t want to say more fun than digital. I also don’t want to get into this “only those who can do analog can really take pictures” – singing along.
They are just nonsense!
But yes, analog photography brings you closer to photography on a slightly different level than digital photography can. Not better, but it’s a great addition, you’ll see. You will get to know photography from a different perspective and you will also learn how to deal with the minimum on the technical side – aperture, exposure time, ISO and film selection.
This will help you enormously in digital photography and understanding. Analog cameras do not cost much, film and elaboration are also affordable, give it a chance.
7. Put the camera away!
Absurd tip? Take better pictures by putting the camera away? Ok, of course, that depends a lot on how many times you have it in your hand. But if you are one of those who take a lot of photos and just (again) have such a phase of standstill – put the camera aside.
Photography means telling good stories in images, astonishing, entertaining, stimulating thought, taking a moment in whatever form – to touch them. However, this also requires that you experience something, be inspired and touched yourself and be stimulated to think.
But that doesn’t happen that much if you keep stuck behind the camera. As much as I love photography, sometimes we both need a break. Exactly when I think in too many situations of the day “that would be a good picture”. Then it is time to relive moments that just exist for the moment. And that only stay in memory.
Without a photo. (So no, open software on the computer and edit pictures does not apply in this case;))
8. Read the instruction manual
Really now? seriously? Did I really write that? Of all the photography tips? Yes. I also strongly recommend that you take the instructions with you in the shoot camp courses. Can you learn to take pictures with it? Certainly not.
But it helps a lot if you just know what your camera can and can’t do. And especially where you can find what she can do. This will get you through point 1 better – get the best out of what you already have, instead of buying new stuff, -)
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