my flickr photostream

Friday, June 12, 2009

Practice with your camera!

sun on a stick
© 2009 Simon Hucko

After yesterday's advice to practice without a camera, today's tip is to practice with your camera! This seems obvious, but the real trick here is to get to know your camera in non-critical situations so that you don't have to think about it when you're shooting "for real." Learn where all of your buttons and dials are, and what they do - this can be critical if you're shooting in a darker environment and can't see them. Learn what kind of shutter delay your camera has - if you try to release the shutter right when the moment you want is happening, you're going to miss it. Learn how your meter behaves, and in what situations it's likely to be fooled - if you know this ahead of time you can make adjustments before you start shooting and it will cut down on the amount of tweaking necessary while you're trying to get the shot.

David Hobby (Strobist) wrote once about how he used to sit in front of his TV with his camera and shoot a football game to work on his timing. Simple things like this can really make a difference down the road, and operating your camera can become almost instinctive. It's the difference between a musician learning to play scales and improvising a solo - without the fundamentals, true creativity and spontaneity isn't really possible.

Pick up your camera this weekend and shoot 100 frames. Even if you don't produce any great photographs, you will be that much more prepared the next time.


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