Monday, January 3, 2011
Ten New Year’s Resolutions for Photographers—01/03/11
Break bad habits and take better pictures in 2011
7. Become a backup guru. Flying by the seat of your pants may have worked so far, but eventually the computer crash gods are going to get even. It’s not a question of “if,” but “when.” So instead of risking your favorite photos on a single hard drive, develop a backup plan and put it in motion. An affordable external hard drive is a great place to start. Failing that, use the web or inexpensive DVDs to create duplicates of the best of the best from your archive.
8. Learn to light. That doesn’t mean you have to become a master of studio strobes. As usual, it just means you’ve got to break out of your comfort zone. If you always use flash, learn how to take advantage of ambient lighting. If you always rely on nice ambient lighting, go the extra mile and learn how to light with a flash. Good photography is often about control, and being able to control lighting (rather than having it control you) can be a huge picture-taking advantage.
9. Speaking of simple lighting fixes, this one’s big: Get your flash off the camera. It’s unbelievably easy to settle for the convenience of a hot-shoe-mounted external flash providing flattening frontal fill. But nobody ever exclaimed, “What an acceptably illuminated photograph!” To make great pictures, you need great light. And the simple move from on-camera to off—via a flash at arm’s length—will truly do wonders for your photos.
10. If you resolve to do nothing else this year, make this one simple change: take more pictures. Set a personal goal, and stick to it. Maybe it’s 10 shots a week or one new shoot per month. Whatever it is, the goal will help you. Every extra exposure will create a teachable moment. Really want to push yourself? Take a picture every day. In fact, take tens or 100s of pictures every day. Prodigy photographer Blair Bunting taught himself how to be a professional advertising photographer simply by making sure he made 100 pictures every day even if it kept him up all night. You’ll learn, then you’ll improve. It’s just that simple.
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