A comprehensive guide to becoming a disciplined photographer

Because we all know you love snapping away willy nilly.

Geneva, Switzerland

I. Full control

It is likely that at one point you were used to having all of the camera settings pre-determined for you. Perhaps you’re only used to the convenience of using your phone camera. At this stage the ease of pointing and shooting is all that really matters. Who cares about turning down the shutter speed to capture a moving object, or using a large aperture to take a portrait shot?

II. Should I shoot my shot?

In short, yes. The more you photograph, the better a photographer you will become, and sometimes if there’s something that you should have photographed that you didn’t, you may end up regretting it later on.

You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.

Although it’s very true, that doesn’t necessarily mean that quantity is always the way forward. If you get into the habit of using a bad shooting practice, then this will reflect in more and more of the photographs that you take.

  • You will have much less of an idea as to what the photograph will actually look like once it has been taken,
  • It’s a lot more fun to experiment in manual mode, and it’ll set you up for different styles of photography, some of which I’ll discuss later.

III. Back to the roots

When I was learning to become an enthusiast photographer, there was a point in my hobby where I decided to take a break from the digital world of cameras, and have a go at using a manual camera. Luckily I was able to get ahold of an old Nikon FM2, which was spring loaded, and had no digital parts, except for the battery-powered light meter.

  • Before taking each photograph, ask yourself if it’s worth taking, since you only have a limited number of shots.
  • Make a reminder of the sensitivity of the loaded film so that you can plan your shots accordingly.
  • Try to imagine what your image will look like before taking it – your light sensor will only tell you the intensity of the light on the crosshair, and not on the rest of the frame.

IV. Specialising

This is the fun part. Once you have gained enough experience behind the camera, you may want to start looking into different styles of photography that fit your interests. Before wrapping up, I would like to discuss a couple of my favourite styles that I have developed an interest for in the past.

Infrared Photography

A time consuming discipline which is both high risk yet high reward, Infrared photography combines the beauty of capturing motion in a single frame, as well as extracting imagery from a scene that isn’t necessarily visible to the naked eye. If nature and landscapes are for you, then you should definitely look into this particular discipline.

The Lake District — Lancashire, UK
Dartmoor — Devon, UK

Public Event Photography

For years I have been fascinated with aircraft, particularly military and stunt aircraft that you see at annual Airshows. It’s just something about the fast pace and the stunts that they perform that amazes me. But when it comes to photographing them, you need to have a particularly sharp eye!

Eurofighter Typhoon — Southport, UK
Cemetery Circuit — Whanganui, NZ
The Red Arrows — Southport, UK

I am a Mathematics and Statistics Undergraduate in the UK who is particularly interested in data science and programming in general.

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