Photographers have habits — good and bad. There are bad ones that make you seem like a weirdo (like talking about lenses at the dinner table!). And then there are good ones that help improve your photography!
Today we’ll talk about 9 good habits. Get into these ones, and stop the dinner time photo-nerd chat.
1. See Without The Camera
Just because you don’t have a camera on hand doesn’t mean you stop being a photographer. In fact, you have two cameras built right into your head (hint: your eyes!)
You can always be looking for interesting compositions and beautiful light. The more you notice these things without a camera in front of your face, the faster you’ll be able to do it when you’re shooting.
2. Review Your Images
After a shoot take some time to go through your images. It’s fun to see the work you’ve produced, but you’ll also be able to see areas that might need improvement. Doing this soon after shooting is ideal, as everything will still be fresh in your mind, and you’ll get the most benefit out of the habit.
3. Know And Use Names
Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.— Dale Carnegie, How To Win Friends and Influence People
This is especially important for wedding and portrait photographers. Addressing someone by their name when giving directions is much better than saying “Hey you!”. Using their name shows that you care about them, and they’re far more likely to be happy to have their photo taken!
When you meet someone new make sure you get their name and repeat it a few times in your head. If you have the opportunity to get a subject’s name before you actually meet them, then work hard to memorize it.
Your subjects will respond to your emotions. The more that you can show that you’re excited and happy to be photographing them, the more you’ll see those emotions reflected in the photos. You’ll find that you also enjoy the process more if you’re smiling yourself!
5. Shoot Every Day
For one thing, shooting every day is great practice and the fastest way to improve your photography. Another reason to shoot every day is to capture your own life!
You witness something interesting, beautiful, or downright spectacular everyday—if you don’t think so you need to look harder!
Learning new things changes the way you view the world. And that changes how you photograph the world. Photographers should never stop learning! Ever!
7. Expect Great Photos
Confession time. Even as a pro, there are many times that I find myself in a situation where I think there is nothing interesting to shoot. This can even happen when travelling in a new country, believe it or not!
Maybe you’ve done this yourself: you get back from a vacation and you’re looking through your photos. You say to yourself “Gee whiz, this place was amazing, I should have taken more photos!”. When you’re actually on vacation you quickly get used to your surroundings and you might forget how incredible it truly is.
OR! Maybe you say “Shucks, [insert where you live] is so boring, there’s absolutely nothing to shoot here.” But, if a photographer from across the world came and checked it out, you can bet that they would be snapping like crazy.
The key is to expect that there is ALWAYS a great photo to be had, no matter the situation.
When you expect great photos you’ll start to become aware of the photographic potential all around you. Keep shooting! When you’re going through the photos later on you’ll thank yourself.
This is also true (perhaps more true!) when taking photos of people. People are constantly changing their expressions and reacting to their environment and others around them. A fantastic portrait is always waiting to be had—look for it.
8. Show Up Early, Stay Late
Being late is a bad habit. Being late to your own photoshoot is a super bad habit.
But you can do even better than being on time. If you show up early, you may actually find yourself with better photos!
See, interesting things tend to happen at the edges. You might find yourself able to capture unscripted, unplanned, and unexpected things by arriving a bit before you’re expected.
And, if you stay a bit late, after everything is “over”, you’ll again to be treated to some uncommon scenes when folks aren’t acting for the camera anymore.
9. Challenge Yourself
When you get too comfortable you stop looking for ways to improve. That’s a bad habit. You can always be improving as a photographer. You’re capable of things you haven’t even imagined yet!
Experiment with new ideas and scare yourself! Repeat doing that scary thing until it doesn’t scare you anymore and then move onto the next thing that scares you.
Now, there are a ton of great habits there that can really up your photographic game! But making new habits can be difficult.
So write down the habits you want to form on an index card, and read through them every day. Start with a short list, and try doing those things every day for a month. You’ll be surprised how soon you’ll be able to make them habits!
Do you have any good habits for photographers? Share them in the comments below!