It is all about practice

Like with any hobby or intended profession, it is up to the individual to practice as much as possible. Photography is a very practical, so one needs to shoot as much as possible. Don’t worry about which camera you have, or whether you believe it is good enough to take great pictures, just understand lighting and composition and technique , as these are just as important when you are “getting to grips” with using your camera properly. This will build you as a photographer and help develop your confidence and your “visual signature”.

If you own a camera, keep it with you at all times

Many people tend to forget that some of the best moments to capture are often those that are unplanned where you don’t have your camera on hand. These are the moments that stories are made from and can never be repeated. Don’t be a victim or someone who missed the moment because it was just too much hassle to take the camera along, so the moral of the story is not to be lazy and complain when it is to late. Don’t forget, your mobile device has a decent camera too…so no excuses to not practice.

Learn how your camera settings work

There is a big difference what you can achieve when you understand the settings and able to capture images using manual. The manual settings on a camera let you “take the wheel”, you are able to photograph and capture what you visualize. By setting the camera in auto mode means the camera decides for you, which often results in disappointment. So, learn the settings on your camera so you can be in charge of your photography. Learning how your settings work in today’s online environment is very straight forward, either teach yourself online by utilising one of the free courses that are available, or, if you able to dedicate the time and dedication, and wish to get ahead quickly, treat yourself by attending a short workshop or course that is practical and hands on, preferably tailored according to your needs.

Plan and prepare for your photo shoot.

If you are a hobbyist or a professional photographer, you still need to plan ahead. Knowing how to operate your camera is one thing, predetermining the lighting environment and the weather, if shooting outdoors is another. Shooting at the right time of day is vital and often will save you much stress and challenge, allowing you to concentrate and capture the intended shot with success and ease. Lighting is often what makes the shot, creates the mood, and sets the scene for your photo. I suggest that lighting be the next area you need to understand. There are many techniques to reading the lighting for your shot, both indoor out outdoor. Depending on the brief, or the shoot weather conditions also play a major role, so do your weather checks at least 2 days before your photo shoot when shooting outdoors. By understanding your camera and with some practice, you will also understand the need to have the right lenses for the job. The range and quality of the glass in the lens will often make or break the shot, this you will experience only with practice.

Making use of references is a good thing

Every creative person needs an open mind to explore the many options that fit within their genre. One cannot know everything, or have the creative solution on hand to capturing the perfect image every time. Trends change, just like wit fashion, as so does technology and people’s taste in photography. Suddenly “the selfie” became the new way to take portrait and group shots, followed by some hideous softening apps… and so it goes on. I can promise you, every great photographer made use of references to perfect their style and signature. We are very fortunate today to have the likes of “the masters” displaying their images across most social platforms and groups for all to see and admire. My best advice is learning from the best that are out there, see what works for you, from the composition to the lighting, to the range and the camera settings, it is all there for you, so take hold and digest it. Using references like Pinterest, will also relieve stress and anxiety for challenging setups and client briefs and in turn, add confidence meaning to your shot.