Happy New Year! The start of a new year is always a good time to reflect on the previous year and set some goals. I would like to challenge the Aladdin Shrine Photography Club members to think back on their photography of 2013 and to set one or more clear goals for improving their photography skills and knowledge in 2014. The goal(s) you set could take many possible forms. Here are a few possibilities.
Maybe you feel that you just need to take more photographs, more often, in order to increase your knowledge of and experience with your camera equipment. If this is the case, then it might be good idea for you to take on a photography project that spans the whole year and requires you to photograph something quite frequently. Searching on “photography projects to improve skills” or something similar via Google (or Bing or whatever search engine you like) will net you many articles that can give you ideas for a useful photography project.
Perhaps you want to learn how to take better photographs of a particular type. The type could involve a particular category of subject matter (people, landscapes, wildlife, etc.) or could involve manipulation of some aspect of photography, e.g., depth of field (aperture), shutter speed, or flash. If so, you might want to take on a project that will force you to experiment with that type of photography.
If you want to improve your knowledge and experience in a variety of areas, you could assign a topic to each month. Here are 12 possible topics in case you want to do that.
- shutter speed – fast
- shutter speed – slow (you’ll need a tripod)
- aperture – both deep and shallow depth of field
- white balance
- flash (including fill flash)
- wildlife – large (pets, squirrels, birds, deer, etc.)
- wildlife – small (spiders and insects)
- plants and flowers
- architecture – buildings, bridges, and other large man-made structures
Finally, if you are not doing any post-processing of your pictures, learning to do some image manipulation (cropping, straightening, white balance, exposure, etc.) in an easy to use tool would be a great goal. For this I highly recommend Picasa (http://picasa.google.com), a free, very capable, easy to learn image processing tool from Google. To learn post-processing, you’ll need to have lots of pictures to work with, so you might want to include this post-processing goal along with another project that has you taking lots of photographs.
So you might be wondering what photography goal(s) I have set for myself in 2014. First, I’m going to stop depending on program mode to pick the camera settings for my photographs. Instead, I’m going to try to ascertain what I want from a given shot and set the aperture or shutter speed, and possibly the white balance or ISO, to what I think they need to be. Secondly, I’m learning Lightroom in an effort to improve my image management and post-processing abilities.
I’d love to see some comments on this post about the photography goal(s) you are setting for 2014.