PART II. 15 TIPS FOR THE DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHER
This is my second article in the creativity and photographic process series from 2012:
Many of these tips I credit to other photographers and authors, especially Ernst Haas, Sam Abell, and Deanne Delbridge.
1. Work with the minimum amount of equipment and be totally familiar with it. Consider exercising with your gear before a shoot.
2. Check all cameras, lenses and flash units before any shoot – remove smudges from lens elements/filters, dust from sensors, and charge all batteries.
3. Take more batteries and digital media storage than you think you will need.
4. Know before you go: Research your subject and location for favorable concepts and backgrounds. Weather is a factor, but remember bad can be good.
5. Rest completely and eat little before shooting.
6. Check your histogram for exposure, then forget about the review monitor as much as possible.
7. Never say to yourself, “I’ll get it later.”
8. Listen to your intuition. Turn around. Look up. Place the camera on the ground or over your head.
9. Look for unusual lighting, perspectives, backdrops, foregrounds, framing elements, details, symbols, reflections, and colors that accentuates the subject’s character.
10. Work slowly, remain open and flexible, pursue your own vision, go beyond expectations. Have fun and photograph what appeals to you.
11. Practice using your position and the viewfinder to eliminate distracting elements at the edges of the frame and near your main subject. Remember, the eye of the viewer will always go first to the brightest, most colorful area.
12. Be descriptive without showing everything. Eliminate any contradictions in the image. Place the horizon line thoughtfully. The above are most important when you are excited.
13. Compose formally, and use a tripod when you can, but allow informality to take the image to another place – to a picture you can’t memorize.
14. Try to weave two or three photos together into one with layers of information.
15. Attitude is everything.
Also, periodically answer these questions in writing:
“What is the most important thing in my life?”
“At what times do I feel most alive?”
“What is my personal definition of photography?”
“Where would I like to be as a photographer?”
“What’s keeping me from getting there?”
“What are my greatest strengths and weaknesses?”
“What am I trying to say?”
“What does my dream job look like?”
“If I could make just one set of photographs what would it be?”