“Travel becomes a strategy for accumulating photographs.” – Susan Sontag
I am asked all the time, “how are you able to take such great photos?” I hear this a lot from my non-photographer friends. They are always amazed at the pictures I take. Many claim it is the camera I use. I do use a Nikon D7500. While it is no lightweight DSLR, it isn’t the top of the line. Some say it is because I studied photography in college or took a class. That is not the case because most of what I learned I either taught myself, watch a video on YouTube, or saw someone’s post on Instagram with several great ideas. While having a great camera, studying photography or learning online is helpful; the number one thing that improved my photography was just going out and doing. I tried to go out and take photos at least once a week where I live in Charlotte, North Carolina. I started this habit when the pandemic started. All of our travel plans that year got cancelled, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to photograph new places that year. One day I started riding my bicycle again because I hadn’t been to the gym in months. I started to ride around Charlotte, and I noticed there was a lot of cool things that I hadn’t photographed before that was right in my backyard. I began to take my camera with me on my bike rides, and photograph different places around town. This is how I started to become a better photographer. I just went out and started doing it. The more I did it, the better shots I took. As I was doing it more, I wanted to learn more. By practicing my skills it caused me to want to learn more skills to practice.
Here are the lessons I learned about photography by just going out and doing it.
🔆The importance of being aware of the current sunlight outside. Good lighting can be the difference between a good photo and bad photo. Good lighting doesn’t necessarily mean clear skies either. For some situations, a little overcast goes a long way.
⌚ Visiting the same location during different times of the day yields opportunities. From lighting to the number people at a location, timing is key.
💻 The post process is just as important as the shoot itself. Taking the time to look over the photos I have taken allows to see which ones at great and those that I need to move on from.
📆 Making time to take photographs is the best way to get better. Choose time once a week or month if possible to go out and practice.
I took these photos last spring break when my family and I visited Linville Falls in the North Carolina mountains. We had been there before, but it was several years ago since the last time we went. It is a beautiful set of waterfalls. There are upper and lower falls. I took these shots at the upper falls. What’s so amazing is that the falls are so loud it’s hard to hear people talking around you. The last time I visited Linville Falls, I had just purchased my first DSLR, a Nikon D3200 and I took photos in jpeg. I took some pretty pictures of the falls, but I had learned so much about photography since the last time I had visited there. From angles to lighting, I knew more now than I knew then. I also now have a Nikon D7500 which is an upgrade from before. I can tell by the quality alone these are better than I took before.
Here is how I make sure I practice my photography as often as possible.
⏲ I set aside time weekly to go out and shot photos.
🏞 I have locations that revisit often looking for new opportunities to capture.
🤹♂️ I practice new skills and techniques in my hometown before I try them while I am out of town. This way I have practiced somewhere I am familiar with before I go somewhere new.
I hope this tips help. Let me know in the comments, and if you have any photography tips you would like to share, please feel free to leave them in the comments as well.