I am by no means an expert photographer, but what I post is what I am learning as I venture into the wonderful world of digital photography. If anyone reading this can explain the topic I focus on little better, or has some links on the subject, or can even add their own thoughts on the topic, feel free to leave a comment. Just remember to be nice; I am learning and don't claim to know everything.
Get To Know Your Camera
This is probably one of the biggest tips I've read about recently. Not every camera is the same, nor does it have the same setup. It's wise to learn how to operate your camera correctly, otherwise your photos won't be as good or as creative as they could be.
It seems that most people, upon purchase of a new camera, are excited to take photos immediately. They go out to a location where there is plenty of opportunity for stunning photos, or they prop up a common household item on the table, or use their friends and family as subjects, and begin clicking the shutter. Once the photos are uploaded, the new photographer doesn't see the photos he/she thought had been taken (colours aren't accurate, someone has a tree growing out of his/her head, the dog started scratching his ear and there is a big blurry spot from that). Granted, some shots might turn out great, but they could have been much better shots if the photographer knew how to change or use the features (or even know what the features are) on their camera.
I am guilty of this very thing. I got my Pentax K200D a little over a year ago and was in love. I looked briefly at the manual, but I wanted to get out shooting photos. I have gone over to a photographer friend's home to get her help in taking photos (like practicing lighting or depth of field), and we've gone out to a park to take some photos. However, at one point, I needed to set the white balance to a specific setting. I didn't know how to do this. On this particular day I was at my friend's home, and she was able to get on the internet and find an online copy of the manual for my camera. By using the manual, she was able to discover how to set/change the white balance, so I was able to make the necessary adjustment.
Sadly, I quickly forgot how to change/use this feature and never adjusted it again for some time. Trust me when I say that I have now gone through the manual to see how to make this particular adjustment again, and I use it all the time (though I do admit that sometimes I forget to change it until AFTER I get home and realize I didn't make the changes while taking the photos). But, I am still learning and I now make the changes a lot more than I used to.
While I am still new to photography, and will also admit that I need to go through my manual more and actualy take some photos using the particular features on my camera (this helps me learn and remember what to do for those specific features, and when to use them), I think learning about your own camera and how to operate it is one of the most important things a photographer can do.
If you have any thoughts on this topic (or links) and would care to contribute, please leave a comment. Remember, be nice. I want this series to be all about learning and helping photographers to grow in their learning and photography.