Lots of people I've spoken to recently have said to me,
" If i had a better camera I'd take better photos",
I don't take offence - I do always laugh at them though - it shows such a lack of understanding of photography, if you put a great camera in the hands of somebody who does not know how to use it - they will not turn into a great photographer anymore than putting somebody into an engineering workshop with lots of machines and expecting them to be able to manufacture precision items for industry.
Having an expensive camera does not make you a great photographer - knowing how to light, compose and use the settings on a camera to get the result you want ,makes you a great photographer. Seeing the image and being able to capture it exactly as you want others to see it, that makes you a great photographer.
I've taken some great photos on my iphone - which cost a lot less than my professional camera kit.... My point is, if you bother to learn how to achieve the results you want with your camera - and of course you need to know what you are trying to achieve - that is the key.
Before you take the photo, think about what you are looking at and what you are trying to capture to show people, spend a moment looking to see if you need to slightly change your angle to make it more interesting - or maybe make it look a bit different to that view that everybody else has taken 1000 times before. If you're photographing an animal - your horse or dog, don't look down at the dogs head, try lying on the floor and looking up at your dog maybe??? If your in the field with your horse get down in the long grass and have a few pieces of grass in the foreground of the photo out of focus with the horse in focus behind ??
Think about the lighting - is the sun out? or is it a dull day - dull days offer soft light, sunny days offer harsh light and sharp, black shadows. Is it dusk or early morning? Think about where the light is coming from and where your subject is standing. If your subject is a building, there is not a huge amount you can do, but you can think about the angle of the photo, can you move even a few feet to get a better angle or perspective that will then put the sun in a better position if need be ? Some people like to get some sun glare in the frame it's a bit retro and can be nice if done well.
Once you have the question of available light sorted and where you need to be to get what you require from the available light, look at your framing - is there anything in the frame that you would rather wasn't there ? - If you're outside somewhere check to make sure that there's no bins in the photo or other unsightly objects that if you just reframe slightly can be lost from the image ? If you're on the beach and lying in the sand for a low down shot - does the sand in the foreground have any big sticks or cigarette buts or rubbish that needs removing ? If you get it right when you take the photograph then when you get home you wont wish you'd paid more attention.
Learn how to use light and get the exposure right, learn how to be happy with your composition and framing, look for interesting angles and these few things can change your photography dramatically. If you want to practice, don't look outside and think " it's a dull day there's nothing I can do today", use the dull days with the flat white sky to have a go at some macro work outside - or go to the woods and shoot textures and think about framing and composition with all of those tree trunks and straight lines to play with.
There is always something to photograph and some fun to be had, just have fun and use your imagination.
If you would like some one to one help learning how to get more from your camera please get in touch, I do short two hour sessions for 1 person for £80. You can call 07885472010 to book in.
Alex Sharp Photography. Full Time Professional Photographer based in Worcestershire, England.