1 Stop using auto
Instead dial onto aperture priority or shutter priority and experiment.
2 Understand your lens
If you have more than one lens, choose one and go out for an hour or so, shoot 40 or more shots varying the way you use that lens. Go home, take a long hard look at the results on your computer screen and see what you can learn.
3 Photograph a willing subject
Ask a friend if they will model for you. Say you will need them for about 1 hour and then photograph them. Work out how you will pose before hand. If you are using natural light, make sure you chose somewhere that has interesting light, diffused if possible.
4 Clean your equipment
Keep your kit clean. Use a lint free cloth I like Pec*Pads. Keep your bag dust free and organised. Regularly download images from memory cards then format to erase them. Keep a cloth in your bag to wipe your camera if it gets wet. Always keep a lens hood on your camera.
5 Set up a still life
Place your subject close to a natural light source, frame and shoot. Experiment with different apertures and camera angles. Try fruit, musical instruments, bottles anything really.
6 Move (pan) the camera
While you are shooting a subject either sweep it up or to the side when you press the shutter. Alternatively, zoom the lens in when you shoot, you may need a tripod. Experiment its great fun.
7 Try light painting
In Winter, when there is more darkness than light try this. Set your camera up on a tripod. Set to bulb. Click the shutter and stand with a torch 10 feet in front of the lens. Make a picture with the torch, after say 60s. Depress the shutter again and look at the results. Keep trying adjusting the shutter speed till you get the right effect.
8 Use a tripod
Essential for longer exposures they are a bit cumbersome to begin with, but I wouldn't be without mine.
9 Use a neutral density filter
Useful to darken skies and balancing the light over a whole frame. It doesn't affect the colour.
10 Share your photos
...the list goes on and will probably get longer! Ask for feedback and give feedback to others. It is about sharing after all.
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