Photography: What Do I Need To Do To Get Better?


The above slide is my take on how someone develops as a photographer. And with each step on this journey your skills as a photographer continue to develop. Now as I have mentioned before, some never get beyond the photo taker stage. Perhaps it is because they don’t want to. They are happy just snapping away on special occasions. There is also the possibility that they are just not very good at it no matter how hard they try to improve or they just don’t know what to do to improve. But let’s just say that the photo taker wants to improve and develop photography as a hobby. What does he/she have to do to get better? Continue reading “Photography: What Do I Need To Do To Get Better?”

Does Your Camera Take Great Pictures

More than once I have had people tell me my camera takes great pictures. Of course there are  a lot of comebacks to that – yes and your stove makes great meals, or yes I taught my camera everything it knows etc. Now to be honest I don’t really ever take this to heart or take it as a comment on my ability as a photographer. As photographers we have to understand that to a certain extent that gear does matter. I think that as photographers we must realize that a great photograph is often a combination of good gear, good technical knowledge, a good understanding of the basics of photography and creative vision. And I also believe that if you have good technical knowledge, a good understanding of the basics of photography such as lighting and composition and a creative mind, that the better the gear you have the better the results you will get especially when you get into specialized photography such as food photography or architecture or portrait photography etc. Now if all you have is top of the line gear and none of the above skills your photos simply won’t be very good.

Here is a photo that was taken by my son using his i-Phone. To me this photo is all about the story – an uncle with his nephew on the beach. Could it have been better using a top of the line camera and lens? Of course, but for me this photo is all about the story, it is a moment in time caught by the camera and the photographer. To quote another cliché, “sometimes the best camera is the one you have with you”. 

So next time sometime tells you that you must have a great camera, just smile and shrug it off but also remember that when you have acquired the necessary photographic skills, better gear will mean better photos.

And Now For Some Free Resources

Photography can be a very expensive hobby. In addition to equipment you can also spend a lot of money on photography education. Books are very expensive and so are live photography instruction, and online courses and instruction.  You will see them advertised as only 14.99 a month but you could easily subscribe to a number of courses and instructors depending on your focus of interest. There are some quality  online courses that can set you back 300 or 400 dollars. Now my advice is that if you are just starting out or you are a hobbyist look for the free stuff. There are plenty of free online resources. Here are a few that I have found particularly useful.

My favourite free resource is YouTube. You can search just about any topic in photography and there will be videos about it. Just subscribe to the channels and enable notifications and you will be notified every time that person publishes a new video.

One excellent channel that offers all kinds of tutorials, on photography, post-processing, video etc. is Adorama TV. They have exploring photography with Mark Wallace,  Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey and You Keep Shooting with Bryan Peterson. These are three of my favourite photographers on the Adorama Channel. Another great channel with numerous instructional  videos is B&H. They have short video tutorials but they also have some that are over an hour long and go into detail about lighting, posing, post-processing etc.  Andrew Boey’s Beyond Photography is a new channel  that I have found recently. It is funny, entertaining and educational. If you are looking for post-production techniques I would highly recommend Glyn Dewis. Glyn has all kinds of tutorials on Photoshop and Lightroom.

Well this should be good to get you started. I will post more as I come across them or when I try out their tutorials. Happy watching and keep shooting.

Some Resources to Get You Started

Here are some of the resources that I have found helped me to improve my photography. As I mentioned, photography is a life-long learning process. The more you learn and the more you practice the better you will get.

One book that really helped me to learn about exposure was Understanding Exposure, Fourth Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera by Brian Peterson. You can find it on Amazon. It is an excellent book for someone starting out who wants to get out of Auto mode, take control of their camera and start “making photographs”.

Another great series which is now available in a boxed set is Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography Boxed Set, Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5: 1-5. Scott is a great teacher and an entertaining writer. Basically just about everything you need to know about photography is covered  in this set. This is also available on Amazon.

Michael Freeman’s book  Photo School Fundamentals: Exposure, Light & Lighting, Composition is also another wonderful resource for learning about photography. As you progress in your photography I would also recommend Freeman’s other books. Two in particular that I have enjoyed that have really made me think about photography as art are, The Photographer’s Mind: Creative Thinking for Better Digital Photos and The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos. Also if you want to delve even further into exposure Freeman’s  Perfect Exposure: The Professional’s Guide to Capturing Perfect Digital Photographs is an excellent resource.

Here are a few other that I have read that I found useful. 
Beyond Auto Mode: A Guide to Taking Control of Your Photography by Jennifer Bebb

Quick Snap Guide to Digital SLR Photography: An Instant Start-Up Manual for New dSLR Owners by David Busch

Digital Photography Masterclass by Tom Ang

The possibilities for learning are endless. I am sure some of you also have your favourites. There is certainly enough here to get you started. One tip that I would have for you is that as you read be sure to have your camera by your side. As you read about different techniques and settings, pick up your camera and try them out. In my next post I will take a look at free resources that I have found useful. Until then, happy reading and keep shooting.


Getting Into Photography (Part 2)

As I mentioned in my last post, it wasn’t long before I just was not satisfied with the results I was getting shooting in Auto mode. By this time I had joined various photography groups and was amazed by many of the images I was seeing. I started posting and asking for suggestions and it wasn’t long before the messages came back loud and clear – get out of Auto mode. And so the journey began.

I started experimenting with the other modes. The big mistake I made was not researching the other modes.  And the biggest mistake I made was not learning the Exposure Triangle. When you first start learning about exposure, no  doubt you are going to find the whole thing rather complicated. Don’t give up! Once you get a good understanding of this you will go from “taking photographs” to “making photographs“. You will be taking control of your camera. Once I started learning the Exposure Triangle and once I started doing more research on the other camera modes and how to use them creatively, my photos began to improve. I was starting to get some of the results that I envisioned and was starting to be able to imitate the results of some of the photographers I had been following online. Just remember if you are serious about photography it is a life-long learning process. In my next post I will outline some of the resources I have found useful over the last few years.



Getting Into Photography

I mentioned that the purpose of this blog is to share my experiences getting involved in the art of photography. I was thrown into photography by being assigned to teach a class where part of the curriculum was photography. It also included graphic design, Photoshop, word processing, and audio recording. I basically had a summer to learn to get ready for this class in September. Luckily, I was pretty familiar with basic graphic design, and Photoshop and I had a really good friend who was a professional photographer who said he would help me with the photography in the curriculum. To make a long story short, once I got into the photography I was hooked. Now at school we were using film cameras and using the darkroom to develop our film. But this was right when digital was quickly become very popular. I taught the course for two years and then after  kind of lost touch with photography. I did not actually buy a digital camera for quite some time after that. But the bug came back and my photographer friend convinced me to buy my first digital camera. I bought a Nikon D90 and so the journey began. Like most first time camera owners I wanted to get out and take photographs and like most first time owners once I knew how to turn the camera on, and set it to Auto I was on my way snapping up a storm. It didn’t take long however for me to not be completely satisfied with my results. I was not getting what I had envisioned as a final product. So the study and research began. That will be the topic of my next post.

New Gallery Page

Check out the new gallery page in the main menu. I will begin posting monthly galleries with different themes.

New Site Up and Running

Well as some of you might know, I had a bit of a disaster with my site recently. I accidently deleted the entire site. I am in the process of rebuilding the site using  a new template. I am not all that crazy about the template, but it will do for now. I hope to post one article a week about my thoughts on photography and what I have been learning about the art of photography. Thanks for subscribing and I hope you enjoy.