Sunday, 2 January 2011

5 photo motivations tips

If one of your new years resolutions was to take more and better photos, you’re not alone. I say exactly the same thing every year and happily I can report that it’s one resolution I stick to. So what’s my secret?

As with any new years resolution the key in hitting your goal is planning and enjoyment, so here are five of my top tips for making 2011 your best ever photo year.

Make some folders
The more photos you take the more you’ll learn about your camera equipment and as your confidence grows your pictures will improve. That’s all well and good, but how do you keep the motivation going?

My trick is to make twelve new folders and name them Jan-2011, Feb-2011, Mar-2011... And so on.

Now stick them somewhere you’ll see them regularly to remind you that they need filling up!

Camera at the ready
When the moment strikes, how quickly could you be ready to take photos? Is you camera to hand and if so is it loaded with a blank memory card and charged battery?

Of course carrying a heavy SLR and a bunch of lenses around just in case a great photo opportunity comes your way isn’t really an option for most people, that’s why I have a small compact camera I leave in the car. I’ll even reach for my phone to take a snap if needs be, just as I did for the photo above.

Take a course
There’s not a photographer on this planet who doesn’t want to improve their skills, so it makes sense to take a training course every now and then.

But there’s more to training then just training. Group training can be a social occasion, a chance for you to meet up with other photographers, swap tips, try gear and make friends with people who share your passion for photography.

Out of your comfort zone
What do you shoot primarily? Is it landscapes, portraits, wildlife or sports? Whatever your speciality it’s very easy to get stuck in a rut and when that happens (and eventually it will) the fastest way to break out is by doing something different.

A great example was when I got the chance to shoot a motocross event last year. I'm not a sports photographer, nor do I plan to be one but I had a great day and learned a lot in the process.

So if you’ve never shot a portrait before, make 2011 the year you give it a whirl. Conversely if you spent the whole of 2010 locked in the studio, then get outside and do a wildlife shoot.

If you’re a social media type why not ask around to find someone who doesn’t do your type of photography and would be willing to take you out to share their knowledge for a few hours. In return you could invite them into your world and share your skills with them.

Borrow, hire, buy.
I love getting my hands on new lenses, but it’s an expensive business especially for exotic things like fish eye’s or super telephotos. A great alternative to buying is hiring. Not only does it give you the chance to experiment with something new and different, but you can really test the lens and decide if it’s a lenses you really need or not.

Having something on loan for a short period should also encourage you to use your camera and in reality it’s taking more photos that will improve your photography.

So there you have it, that’s just a few ideas to get you going. If you have any more suggestions feel free to add them to the comments below.


crannaford said...

All great Ideas Gavin, I love your photography tips, your video tutorials and just about everything else you do. I think it's your quirky sense of humor that makes them so enjoyable. My wife loves it when I start up another Hoey video because you sound just like the guy in Peep Show;) I started a 365 day photo challenge 140 days ago and my photography has improved out of sight, so you're right, it's all about practice. I do take my DSLR with me almost everywhere I go. It's in my shoulder bag ready for action and I have a compact (canon s90) as well for those occasions when I'm on my bike etc. Keep up the great work in 2011. cheers from The Colony (Australia) David Cann

FC said...

Would like to take a course. If not this year, maybe next. I also will try to get out and do an on-location shoot. Thanks for the motivation!

Anonymous said...

Gavin, you have the ultimate career!! Doing what you love, and doing it damn well I might add!! Thanks for all your tips and tuts, but most of all, thanks for putting the enjoyment in learning!!

I still think you are do for a tour of the States!! LOL!

PhotoVigor said...

Hello Gavin, I really appreciate your teaching especially those short video. It helps. And this is the only site so far I know provide all the very detail without any charges :D and hope you will continue this.
Would like to learn more on landscape shot especially those sunset/sunrise shot just over the horizon with freezing ocean water.
Thanks so much and happy new year.


ChezVies said...

Hi Gavin, I really enjoy your video tutorial..I wish I found it earlier:). Thanks a lot for sharing it..GBU & Happy New Year

Matt said...

Great Out of bounds tutorial - I quickly knocked up this from it [ very slap dash so there are plenty of errors on it as I was in a hurry. ]

Pk's Blog said...


I have learned a lot from your tutorials and tips. Like your style of using bare minimum simple accessories that even beginner photographers can afford. Have a question on Canon 60D. How to do video? Some very simple steps would really help.

Thank you very much.

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