February photos and tips on how to make yourself use your camera more often. One thing that has been bringing me a lot of happiness lately is using my big camera again. I was relying on my phone for almost all of the pictures that I took, and while I do love them, the quality is just not the same. I like to print my photos. I like to hold them in my hands and have photos all over my house. (I’m always surprised how often my kids need pictures for school and projects too.) It can be easier to use my phone, and more convenient. When I hold those iPhone photos and really look at them, they just don’t hold the same magic that my big camera photos do.
I’ve made a point to not just use my camera for work and point my lens at things other than food. (Which I find funny since I lead this post with a picture of a pavlova. I couldn’t find a good vertical to use.) If I’m being honest, it is like I’m learning how to photograph my life all over again. I’ve spent so much time working on my skills as a food photographer that it was easy to ignore the fact that I started as a portrait photographer. People. In all stages of life. They are very different. Sure, using a camera is the same no matter what the subject is, but being able to connect with a person and capture life as I see it is a lot different than shooting something that doesn’t move or talk back to you. Deciding how to tell a story as I see it is a lot different than creating the story that will be the final outcome.
If you are in the same boat, and want to use your camera more, here are a few tips:
1. Keep your camera in a place where you spend most of your time. I keep mine in the kitchen because it is a central location and where we spend most of our time.It also has the best light. If I see something happening, I can grab it quickly and capture it.
2. Make sure you have charged batteries and clean cards. I always have at least 2 (more if you shoot a lot of video, they drain a battery in no time) charged batteries at all times, and empty memory cards. There is nothing more frustrating than grabbing your camera to find a dead battery or a full card.
3. Set yourself up for success. If I know that there is going to be a photo-worthy opportunity, I try to get set up before it is going to happen. The photo above was a few seconds before everyone came to the table for Valentine’s Day brunch. I got my settings right and anticipated that there was going to be some action to photograph.
4. Shoot a lot. I try to shoot every day. I take a lot of crappy photos, but it is practice – not perfection. The beauty of digital is that if it’s terrible, get rid of it – no harm, no foul.
5. Get it right in camera as much as you can. This saves a ton of time after the fact when editing. When your exposures are good, then all you have to do (or not) is enhance, not fix. It makes a world of difference when it comes to editing.
How are you making yourself happy these days?