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Shoot every day Like any skill, the more you do it, the better you can achieve. The best camera you have is in your hand, so if you're not with your full DSLR kit, don't be afraid to take great photos with your cell phone camera or point-and-shoot. Photography is photography, draw pictures with the camera. Any camera.

Always keep your camera nearby Pull a chair and I can describe two amazing scenes that are indelibly embedded in my mind. Unfortunately, for the first, my camera was broken (I was at sea, far away from a camera store). For another, it was out of reach (I was flying). I have considered learning to draw or paint so that I can "picture" these two moments. The moral of these stories: there is a camera within reach. You never know what will happen or what you will see.

Read your manuals Camera manuals are not attractive to read, but they tell you a lot about how to use your camera. Spend a night or two with your manual and get intimate with your camera. It will help you every time you get photographed. Most manuals are now available electronically, so know where to find it, or save it to your mobile device for reference in the field.

Check Your Settings / Know Your Gear I'm often tempted to put the following note on a sticker and stick it on your LCD screen: "Check your ISO, dummy." If I had a nickel every time, I would go out in the sun with my ISO at 800 or more, after shooting in a dark restaurant the previous evening, I would have a new camera. Learn what your settings are and how to change them quickly.

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Change the viewpoint / angle We see the world from eye level, and most people usually have eyes at approximately the same height. Do your pictures continuously record the world from the same height as your eyes? You will be amazed at how shooting from your knees or high ground will change your image. Watch a documentary film about a documentary photographer and see how they walk and quietly wonder how many pair of pants they wear by constantly kneeling to shoot from low angles.

Know Your Meter Know the metering mode of your camera and use them to your advantage. When you frame an image, look at the light and then the meter to see how you want to illuminate your scene. Is the light flat? Is a ray of light illuminating your subject? Do you want the background to melt in the dark? Your camera will help you achieve your goal; You just have to tell me how to do it. Practice setting metering and exposure.

Know your shooting / exposure mode. Like the previous tip, your camera is smart, but it needs your help from time to time. Some will always ask you to shoot a manual. I disagree. Know how to shoot manuals, but also know when other shooting / exposure modes will be beneficial for your particular photographic target.

Know your focus mode. If you use autofocus, and you probably do, the camera's autofocus is either making a picture or ruining it. Learn what autofocus modes do and how to adjust focus if the camera suddenly decides it thinks it knows better than you in which frame you want to focus.

Study the pictures — but not too much — study the pictures of others. What do you like? What do you dislike What will you improve? Is that correct? Why, then, is it perfect? Look. Enjoy it. remember. Soak in it But, don't forget to go out and make your own images!

Read Photo Books Books and websites have useful tips (I hope this matters). But, not all are created equal. Find authors you connect with through their writing and find authors who give good advice. I am a big fan of "basic photography" books and to this day, with a masters degree in the subject, I fill my bookshelf with inspirational books written for early photographers.

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Learn / The only option to learn through reading workshops (or watching videos) is to make self-portraits. take a class. Take part in a workshop. Like books and websites, these are not all created equal, but, they should do one thing that immerses you in photography for a night or a weekend, or more. Being immersed in arts and crafts is as important as anything else.

Use Your Histogram In digital photography, a histogram is the best way to evaluate your exposure for accuracy. LCD screens can be confusing. Knowing how to read your histogram can mean the difference between thinking that you have a good picture and a really good picture.