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The most important tools in any photographer’s possession are their own brain, eyes and passion.

Without the photographer’s vision and experience, even the most advanced camera and lens are only a collection of expensive parts.

Photography is so much more than just picking up a camera, aiming it and pressing the shutter release.

There are simple concepts every photographer should remember.

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BASIC PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS

Why do you take photos?

Bryce Canyon National Park Inspiration Point - view and photo spot

Everyone loves a spectacular photograph. Photos emote feelings, inspire and preserve cherished memories. 

Images have the ability to transport us to a beach with a long passed loved one, or a visit to the local ice cream store when our adult children were toddlers.  

Photographs are moments in time that fashioned our souls into the complex individuals we are.

Understand YOUR WHY for taking photos. Remember to capture your moments so your memories are preserved. 


Make the most of the equipment you have.

photograph gear including cameras, lenses and more

We have all seen people walking around world famous landmarks in a national park carrying thousands of dollars’ worth of camera equipment shooting everything in sight. 

We look at them, look down at our 100-dollar point and shoot, and walk off to hide behind a rock until they’re gone. I’m exaggerating a bit, but I can definitely identify with the feeling. I’ve been on both sides of this scenario. 

I’ve shot amazing photos with a cheap camera and terrible photos with a very expensive camera.

Most of us can’t afford to spend 25 grand on high-end camera equipment. We have to gradually build up to that which can take years of hard work and patience. 

Is that high dollar equipment really necessary? Evaluate your needs. 

If you are only shooting family album shots do you really need a high dollar camera and lens? Do you really need a full frame camera or will a crop sensor accomplish all that you need?

Acquire camera gear that will accomplish what you want out of your photography and learn how to use it well.

 

Be discriminating in your shots.

Sunrise Photography: Tips to Get Beautiful Sunrise Photos - Grand Teton National Park mountains reflected in the snake river at sunrise

Be discriminating in what you choose to photograph. I used to just “fire at will” everywhere I went. 

There are a couple of problems with the “fire at will” method. First, all I did was shoot photos and I missed out on the joy of the experience to some degree. 

Second, when I got home I would have thousands of photos on my memory card and a post processing nightmare ahead of me. 

I have found that when I evaluate a scene, choose the shot, plan the shot, and then take the shot, I capture higher quality photos and don’t face a mountainous post processing job when I get home. 

There are times when “fire at will” is appropriate. I use this technique often when shooting birds, but still plan and evaluate my shots in advance.


Photograph what you love.

If something moves you, capture that moment in a photograph. 

Compose it. Check the lighting and look at different angles. 

Try different techniques and make the most of the incredible scene before you.

Most importantly, take the time to lower the camera and just enjoy the moment. Print that snap shot indelibly in your brain to be called forth when desired or needed.

I love landscape and wildlife photography. I’m passionate about it and find tremendous joy in a well accomplished landscape or animal image.

Thor's Hammer at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

I don’t find the same fulfillment in portrait photography. I do, however, enjoy memorializing the choice moments of life with my family. Sometimes I just enjoy perusing the photos of my children when they were little, or the many adventures with Jamie, etc. 

Make photography fun. Shoot what moves you and what you will enjoy looking at later.

If you’d like it hanging on your wall, photograph it!

 

Don’t compete with others.

I was born an intensely competitive person but I have learned to curb that drive over the years. I focus on competing with myself. 

My goal in life is to get better at everything I do. I find that it’s a much more challenging endeavor than trying to one up everyone around me.

In your photography just focus on what you want to accomplish. Don’t worry about the people standing around and what they might think.

Don’t get intimidated by the old guy with the expensive camera and lens. Use your equipment to its capability and get the shots you desire. 

Don’t be average. Make your photography enjoyable and satisfying. 

Your images should invoke pleasant memories of people you love, people you found interesting, places that inspired you and creatures that make you smile. 

I recently asked my daughter why she loves photography. She told me that she loves it because it preserves a moment forever and she can go back and enjoy it over and over.

Thirteen years old and she’s got it.

BONUS TIPS:

Finding useful, reliable information is key to learning how to get the most out of your camera.

There are many tutorials and courses you can take to improve your skills as a photographer.

There is a course called ‘Capture Your World: A Guide to Travel Photography’ by Laurence Norah. The course covers everything from camera settings to image composition to night photography to photo editing, and is great for beginners who want to take their photo game to the next level.

You can read about cameras and photography all day long, but until you put the information you have accumulated into motion, you aren’t going to learn a thing!

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The Most Important Photography Tools - Becoming confident in your photography abilities can be difficult, but it’s well worth the reward. We share our top photo tips for new photographers, including 5 things that every photographer needs to know BEFORE focusing on their camera, composition, lighting, and other photography techniques. These photography tips will help you gain confidence and get those amazing shots.    Photo Tips to Make Photography Fun - Becoming confident in your photography abilities can be difficult, but it’s well worth the reward. We share our top photo tips for new photographers, including 5 things that every photographer needs to know BEFORE focusing on their camera, composition, lighting, and other photography techniques. These photography tips will help you gain confidence and get those amazing shots.

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