At the beginning of this year, I made the conscious effort to catch up on some of the podcasts that I have accumulated. Most of these are by the Kelby media group; the only trouble is that they make so much stuff (and a lot of this is free too) that it is impossible to watch all of it. So some of them I only download on watch if the topic interests me or if they are joined by one of my favourite photographers (Joe McNally, Moose Peterson, Zack Arias, etc). One of them stopped me in my tracks and made me think long and hard about my photography, this was part of their weekly “The Grid” show titled – How to become a better photographer in 2013. You can watch this below:
The show went through a number of steps to become a better photographer, these are as follows:
- You need to figure out what kind of photographer you want to be. What do you enjoy shooting, do you have a knack for a certain type of photographer. Do other people compliment you on certain types of pictures?
- Look at (study) photographs in your chosen genre(s), whose work do you like, is there some types of work you don’t like. Get books, subscribe to blogs – see what a great photograph looks like.
- Get some training; look at the various web-based stuff. Are there any live-training sessions you can go to?
- Do what you have to do to get the photographs from you chosen genre.
- Create a Portfolio – this should contain around 24 photos per genre and it needs to represent you best work. Ensure that when you take better pictures, these replace the weaker pictures in the portfolio – do not allow the portfolio to gradual increase in size.
- Make sure that you have the right gear for the job. Consider second hand gear, look at renting.
- Sharpen your photos: Use good technique in taking the photos as sharp as possible and then use your favourite sharpening technique in your post processing software. I use Lightroom for my photos and if they venture into Photoshop I will use the PixelGenius Photokit Sharpener 2.0 software which I still think is the best plugin out there.
- Put these steps into action.
Going through the questions one by one revealed something to me that I’ve known for some time but was denying due to of the gear choices I’ve made over the last 12 months. To illustrate this I’ll go through the questions with my answers:
1) I love Nature and Wildlife Photography. I also like what is called event photography which is almost always linked to family, friends and any “events” I go to.
2) I have always admired Moose Peterson, Andy Rouse and Andy Biggs. I have many books by each and I subscribe to their blogs and or newsletters, whilst answering the question “What makes a good Nature/Wildlife Photograph” is something that I am still learning I have taken a number of photographs that I am proud of. This is and always will be an “in progress” task.
3) Training. I have a Kelby training account and I have gone through some of the lessons/classes in their – Moose had a new(ish) one for someone starting out in Wildlife Photography and I am in the middle of this lesson. As sated earlier I have a lot of books on Nature and Wildlife photography so I’ll revisit these too. I need to investigate going on a course or two with Andy Rouse (as he is based in the UK).
4) I am quite lucky living in Lincolnshire that is a lot of local wildlife that I lake to take pictures of. That said I need to visit places further afield (still in the UK) to get more varied species, I also don’t mind going to zoos and wildlife parks so I’ll look at creating a planner for 2013 of places to visit. The current weather will mean that I won’t be going too far afield initially.
5) I need to go through my Lightroom library and pick out my best images and start with a portfolio page on this blog. I also need to start using Flickr and Pinterest more too.
6) This is the White Elephant in the room. The gear that I have is all based on Mirror-less technology and whilst this will be OK for static subjects, it is never ever going to allow me to tack and photo anything moving erratically or in a predictable path. I have looked at doing street photography but I suck at this and feel too self-conscious to snap people as they go about their business. This is compounded by the fact that I don’t really enjoy it. Whilst I really like the Fuji X-Pro1 and the Lumix G5 they aren’t the right tools for the job 😦 I will post a separate entry about what I doing to overcome this.
7) I have already mentioned how to approach this.
8) So once I sought out 6) I will go to my favourite place – Hartsholme Park – and see how much I have forgotten. Learn how to use the correct tools and then plan some visits to other areas.
So I recommend that any photographer who reads this blog go through the steps and see what answers they get.