10 skills that every photographer should develop from my point of view.
Have you ever wondered what is the difference between a great photo and a great photographer?
All of us, on occasion, have taken a great photo. You may not be sure how you did it, but everything fell into place masterfully and you crafted an image that makes you feel like you are the best photographer in the world.
But the good thing is to be able to repeat that genius … continuously, that’s what great photographers can do. I call it consistency.
A great photographer can take a great picture with any camera. A mediocre photographer can take a bad picture with the most expensive camera in the world. Today photography is an art form based on technology, but technology does not make art, that is done by the human behind the camera.
You won’t find solutions to improve your photography on something that runs on batteries or that comes in a box.
So what is the secret recipe? Photography is a very different activity than it was fifteen years ago. Good photographers today need to be able to do much more than compose and frame a shot. These are the 10 skills that I believe are key to improve in photography:
Master your team and shoot manuals.
I’m not going to repeat what we all know about reading your camera manual.
What I am going to tell you is that it is necessary to understand the essential characteristics of the camera and the lens, ignoring that negatively affects the result of your images.
You need to know how the appearance of a photo changes when you move the aperture.
You need to understand how to set your shutter speed to get the results you want.
You have to be able to make ISO decisions that are tailored to the situation you are in at the time.
And then, depending on the functions that your camera has, you will need to know the working modes, the white balance, the focus, the form of stabilization, etc.
It seems like a basic concept, but learning how to use the camera in all situations is an essential first step in creating incredible images .
Modern cameras can do a lot of things, but do you know what happens when you press each of the buttons? What treasure is buried in that menu system? Can you create sharp photos in a variety of situations? Do you understand how the photometer works? Can you shoot manually and effectively use the exposure triangle? The camera is a tool the better you use it, the better your images will be.
Control the light.
It is another tool that you have to work with, so you have to know and master it, especially if you work with natural light that evolves throughout the day.
Learn all you can about light. You have to understand many facets and differentiate the small subtleties that it offers us. Know how to work with it in any circumstance, to be able to create what you want, to find what you want. This is one of the things that the photographer must handle throughout life.
The more you know, the better photos you will get.
How to do it: Watch the light as the day progresses, see how shadows can fall on a subject and how the camera can capture them. Understand how natural or artificial light influences colors.
Practice in different lighting situations and then discuss the images, the settings, and how you can change them to create the images you want.
Understand the exposure.
Once you have a solid understanding of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO separately and how they affect the look of your images, you need to put them together and learn to balance them to create a good exposure.
One of the hardest things is first figuring out what someone means by a “good exposure.” There are those who believe that there is a correct exposure and a wrong exposure, but this is not the case, at least from my point of view.
My definition of good exposure is simple: the amount of light you want to have in the photograph. If it is brighter than you want it is overexposed, if it is darker than you want it is underexposed.
In the end, it is your own creative decision. But you need to know how to adjust all the parameters to get the exposure you are looking for and for this you must use the camera to help you solve it.
Know how to read the histogram.
It is one of the best things that digital photography has brought us, I do not understand how there can be photographers who do not use it to improve their captures (I will make an entry on this subject later).
Learn to read the histogram to make sure you don’t lose details in the highlights or shadows of your images.
Did you know that the image you see on your LCD screen may not be a true representation of the histogram? The screen gives you a general idea of how the photo will look but remember that it is an interpretation of the RAW that your camera makes, the histogram is a much more precise tool.
Personally I always left it on the histogram, even when it was fashionable to right. Although you have to know how far you can do it so as not to have excess noise in the shadows.
Work the photographic eye.
You should always be on the lookout for cool images happening around you. If you are not a photographer working in a studio context, with everything under control … you must always be alert. Whether it’s news photography, sports photography, street photography, nature or travel photography, you need to be able to see a great image when it is in front of you even if it only lasts a fraction of a second.
You should also be able to search for unique photos when they are not obvious from the first moment.
This is something very important, all great photographers know how to do it. It is a skill that you should try very hard to perfect and develop.
You don’t always carry your camera, but your eye and mind do. Look at the world around you and search for photos, even if they are impossible to capture with the mobile you carry. Search for photographs, search for photographs.