The question I get asked most often is, “how can I improve my photography?” Answering this question will vary for everyone depending on skill level, however, there are a few key components that will apply to every photographer.
1. Invest in a sturdy tripod: If you are a landscape photographer like myself, a sturdy tripod is an essential piece of equipment. You want to make sure you have one that allows you to get low/high enough for unique compositions and sturdy enough to not be at risk of blowing over with your camera mounted on it. There are also times when you will want to slow down your shutter speed. Whether it be photographing in low light conditions, capturing light trails or smoothing outflowing water, a tripod is required to achieve the desired effect and still have a sharp image… If you are interested in long exposure photography, you can find my post here.
2. Scouting/Research: Before I go to a new location I do a lot of research on the area. I look at things such as satellite images, sunset and sunrise times, live cams (if available), weather forecasts, and tide tables. This helps give me an idea of optimal times to shoot and what the environment will be like. I also search the internet for other images of that location. The reason for this is not to have the same photograph as others, but another way to learn what the landscape will be like. Once I get to the location I like to spend time exploring the area before I decide where I am going to start photographing.
3. Composition: When composing your shot, think about what it is you want to convey. Take some time to access what catches your eye. It may be a specific object, contrasting colors, the way the water is flowing or a cloud moving. Whatever it is, always shoot with intent. This is what separates a photograph from a snapshot. Make sure you look at your photos to determine what you like and don’t like about them. Recompose your shot to get only what you like in the frame.
4. Editing: A general rule of thumb if you are new, to photography is to edit your image and then scale it back around 20%. The most common mistake new photographers make is over processing their images. Ideally, your image should only need a few adjustments to enhance your photo.
This is the second part of another article I wrote a while back, you can check part one here.