The shortcut to becoming a better photographer

“The shortcut to becoming a better photographer”

An opinion essay by Dave Blinder

Bird Photo

A gull is silhouetted by golden sunlight in late afternoon in this #nature #photograph

The shortcut to becoming a better photographer


I’ve been asked many times by friends, acquaintances, and strangers what lens and camera they should purchase to take better photographs.  Often times I will recommend they purchase nothing at all, except for a few books or even pay to attend a photography seminar.  Unfortunately this is rarely the answer anyone cares to hear, and it could be interpreted as a facetious statement.

There certainly are times when aspiring photographers should upgrade their equipment when they can afford to do so. However, no equipment can compensate for photographing in harsh mid-day light or taking all photographs handheld with your camera at eye-level. The shortcut to becoming a better photographer is… realizing that there are no shortcuts. The shortcut is waking up at weekends at 4AM to arrive on-location before sunrise. The shortcut is having the discipline to always put your camera on a tripod and investigating all possible angles of view.

The shortcut is taking advantage of all photography learning sources available and attending every major seminar you can. Seek experienced constructive critiques and have the strength to let go of your weakest images. Take a few of your straight out of camera images, skip the digital darkroom, and put them right on the internet. Don’t shoot subjects in the shade and expect to boost the shadows. Study the qualities of natural and artificial light and learn how to capture and mold the light.

Purchase a rain cover for your camera and be willing and even enthusiastic to photograph in cold and wet weather. Figure out what all of your peers are taking photos of and then figure out what they are not taking photos of. Stop making excuses not to shoot, make excuses to shoot. The shortcut to becoming a better photographer is to avoid shortcuts, get started today.

– Dave Blinder, 12/2014

Words and image by Dave Blinder, Denville, New Jersey.  Feel free to circulate or share but please leave text and photo untouched.  Thank you.

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