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Master the Habit: Life Through Your Lens

beginners tips Feb 28, 2024

In the quest to improve your photography skills and capture life's transient moments, a simple principle holds true: always carry a camera.


This habit, seemingly basic, lays the foundation for not only honing your technical abilities but also for developing an artistic vision that finds images in everyday life. At the heart of photography is the act of observation – noticing how light and shadow create patterns and textures, the ethereal feel of a misty morning, the spontaneous antics of pets, or the architectural beauty found in the curves of an ornate ceiling. With your camera as a constant companion, you're more likely to seize opportunities to create memorable images.


The answer to the question, "What's the best camera?" is universally acknowledged as “the one you have with you”. This is where the convenience of a camera phone can be more beneficial for daily practice than a high-end DSLR or mirrorless camera, which may be cumbersome to carry. All the photographs in this article were captured with an iPhone, not because it was necessarily the best tool for the job, but because it was the most conveniently available device at the time. In addition, using a camera with perhaps more limited options than a top of the range DSLR or mirrorless model forces the photographer into being more creative with the camera that is available.


Seizing the Moment

Life doesn't pause, waiting for you to prepare your camera. Whether it's an unexpected burst of sunlight in a landscape, an urban fox on its travels, or an inquisitive group of cattle, these moments are fleeting. Keeping a camera within easy reach ensures you're always ready to document the world, turning mere snapshots into preserved memories and honing your photography skills at the same time.


Practice Makes Perfect

Photography, like any craft, is refined through consistent practice and patience. Frequent use familiarises you with your camera's functions, allowing for quick adjustments and a deeper understanding of composition and lighting. Over time, the operation of your camera becomes almost automatic as you instinctively know what each setting does. Making adjustments is done subconsciously, leaving you more time to spend fine-tuning your composition and waiting for the decisive moment. Every photography you take will move you closer to the goal of mastering your camera.


Learning Through Observation

Once you’ve reached a stage where you can operate your camera without having to stop and think about the technicalities, your ability to observe will be enhanced beyond all recognition. Your awareness of light's subtle shifts, the geometry within compositions, and the dynamic expressions of your subjects will all be more easily seen, and then captured.


The Art of Reflection

Reaching this level of prowess doesn’t happen overnight, which is why the best time to start is right now. As your photography output increases, take time to reflect on, and review, your images. Analyse what worked, and what didn’t work, and take time to learn from each shot.  Critical assessment of your work is essential for growth and helps to refine your artistic vision.


Embracing the Photographic Lifestyle

Incorporating photography into your daily life elevates it from a hobby to a lifestyle, and one way to do this is by setting yourself projects.  Document the same view throughout the seasons or changes in weather, or commit to taking at least one photograph every single day for a year.  Give yourself a reason to use your camera, and you’ll start to see the world in a different way.

The beauty of photography is that you never stop learning, and just when you think you’ve seen it all you’ll be presented with a new scene that inspires you to do something different. 

Not every shot you take will be a masterpiece, but the ratio of success to failure will shift in the right direction if you practice, practice and practice some more.

By keeping your camera close and seizing every chance to use it, you engage deeply with the world, transforming each moment into an opportunity for creativity. This not only improves your technical skills but fundamentally alters how you perceive your surroundings and ultimately makes you a better photographer.


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