Things that Will Make You a Better Photographer
In this day and age, photography has become so accessible, people are making a living off of taking photos with their iPhone. However, there's still a distinct divide between experienced photographers and hobbyists, which boils down to the things you know about photography and your gear. Let's breakdown the need-to-knows to up your photography game!
Know Your Memory Cards
Most photographers assume that all memory cards are the same when in fact, they aren't! Memory cards, like cameras, have newer and faster models, and older and slower models. If you purchase one of those Amazon camera bundles, chances are they're throwing in one of the older and slower memory cards which won't give you the fastest results with your new camera. So pay attention to what memory cards you're buying!
One of our favorite brands, Promaster, sells several different kinds and speeds of memory cards, as do other brands. You have different kinds like Micro SD, SD, Compact Flash (CF) and XQD. Your camera will likely only take one kind of card. Don't ever attempt to force a memory card into the slot if it's not easily sliding in and clicking! Stop, check the card to see if it matches the slot size, and turn it around to see if maybe you're inserting it the wrong way.
The different speeds of memory cards rely on two things - the card's generation and it's read/write speed "class." You can check this by looking at the markings on the memory card and/or the packaging that the card comes in. There are 3 generations - the first generation SD, the second generation SDHC, and the third general SDXC (Compact flash cards are labeled slightly differently, however newer cameras are less likely to take a Compact Flash or CF card).
The memory card's speed class is a bit more complicated. There's class 10, UHS 3, UHS 3II, and so on. If you look at the packaging, it will explain what the read and write speeds are by megabits per second, or MB/s. The higher MB/s the faster and better the card is for people shooting sports, action, wildlife and 4k video.
Pay Attention to Your Composition
Way back when, the photography world gave us rules of composition. Our horizon lines were meant to be on that lower third line, and our images, if off center, were expected to be following rule of thirds. Sure, early photographers followed these rules of composition, but sometimes, rules were meant to be broken! Just make sure that when breaking rules of composition, you do it on purpose.
If you're composing a photograph, think about how your negative and positive space makes the image look balanced or imbalanced. Your negative space is the area around your subject, while your positive space is your subject. If you have too much negative space on one side of your subject, it can feel off. Sometimes cropping can save the image, but sometimes not. So pay attention to how your image is composed, because a poor composition can ruin a photo... And of course, make sure that what you want is in focus!
Invest in a Battery Grip
If you're out shooting for long periods of time, you likely go through a lot of batteries. Sometimes, the time it takes to change a battery could be a missed photo opportunity. Investing in a battery grip for your camera to extend your battery life is a no-brainer, especially if you're a wedding, event or sports photographer. A battery grip adds a bit more weight to your camera, but not much. Some battery grips have additional, customizable buttons that you can setup for easier shooting.
The internet is a valuable resource, especially for photographers looking to learn more about gear and shooting. Youtube, photography blogs and forums exist for those willing to do the research. However, the internet is also over-saturated with information coming from so many sources, some not so experienced or credible. Classes however, are a great, hands-on alternative. They not only provide vetted information from experienced, certified instructors, but you can ask all the questions you want and get an immediate answer, as well as actually shoot pictures during certain classes.
Join a Photography Club
At Art's Cameras Plus, we have our very own camera club that's free to join! It's called the FOCUS group and we go on monthly outings to places like the Baraboo Big Cats Reserve to shoot wild cats and Waukesha Floral for macro photography. Often times at these events, we have staff on hand who can answer any questions you may have, as well as loaner equipment you can use for the duration of the outing. Sign up for our newsletter to get updates on future events, workshops and outings for our FOCUS group!
With the help of these tips, you can improve your photography skills and feel like a more knowledgable, prepared and confident photographer!