I’m sure you all want to step up your photography skills in 2016, but where to start? With a plethora of advice and technology out there you can be forgiven for being bewildered. So let’s start with some tips based upon a workflow that many of us will use:
- Slow down! It’s not about coming back from a photo shoot with hundreds of images, it’s better to have a select few ‘keepers’. Shooting at break-neck speed only harms your creativity. If you slow down and let your mind’s eye get in the groove, you may be surprised about how you see the world around you.
- Pick a processing technique that you either don’t know, or are not very good with, and work on it. The more “tools” you have in your toolbox the better and more confident your editing will become!
- Do you need new equipment? Probably not. It would be more beneficial to make the most of what you have. I’ve shot a number of my favourite images on small or old cameras.
- Scout for new locations. Fortunately, a lot of research can be done online these days. With Google images, inspiration from others and a handful of apps, it’s never been easier to plan a landscape shoot. If you have iOS, a good app to have is PhotoPills. It has a whole suite of tools and map data to help you work out sun and moon angles and locations, shadow lengths, where to find the milky way, sunrise and sunset time, and much much more.
- Don’t settle for second best. If you shoot a certain location and are fairly happy with it, then critique your own shot and work out what could make it better. You may have to return and shoot again in different light
- Digital bliss - What would make your editing computer better? When I teach Lightroom and Photoshop courses I see how messy file management can get and it’s so frustrating when you can’t find the file you want. How about half an hour a week dedicated to making all of your files or Lightroom library a beautiful and calm place to be.
- Finally - never stop learning! Life is about learning, improving skills and furthering your creative journey. You can always get better at photography, no matter who you are.
Andy Habin, January 2016