Getting Better With Photography
I love taking pictures. And I love competing in online horse shows. But my skills as a photographer need to improve, and maybe you have this challenge too. So I wanted to share with you some of the things I’m doing for getting better with photography.
Taking pictures is easy. You point the camera at the subject, hit the button and bam, picture captured. But in order to capture a good picture, you need to practice, and practice a lot.
Perfect Practice Makes Perfect
I am getting into the habit of taking my camera outside more often. Every time I go out to feed my horses, or groom, or ride, I have my camera with me. Or even if I turn my horses out in the pasture for a bit, I have my camera with me. You never know when you might capture a memory that you will cherish forever. But if you don’t have your camera, you are missing out on an opportunity.
And if you don’t take your camera out with you, you are missing opportunities to practice. Because the more you practice, the better your photos will become. If you make an effort to take your camera out every day when you are with your horses, in a week you will have a lot of photos to practice with. And this is how we get better, by practicing.
Know Your Camera
When you first get your camera, it is easiest to stay in auto mode. This means your camera is doing all of the choosing for you. But don’t stay in that mode. Yes, it is easier to just stay in auto and snap away. But if you have a DSLR like a Canon T6, or Nikon D3200 (both very affordable DSLR camera’s) there are many different settings you can work with to improve the photos you are producing. Learn the settings of your camera. DO you know what it means to shoot in aperture priority, or in manual mode? If you don’t, you need to learn.
One of my favorite websites to visit to learn all things photography is Digital Photography School. If you want to learn to be a better photographer, this is the one site you should be visiting often. I have found it has been the most helpful for me to learn how to use my camera better.
Look For Opportunities
And after you have learned a little bit more about your camera, start putting these lessons to use. Follow your horse around in his pasture. Capture a close up of his nose, or ears.
I captured this photo while following Ethan around and he was rubbing his face on his leg. I like it, and have placed in a photo class with it. This is one of my most favorite photos I have captured, and I would have missed it if I didn’t have my camera with me. This is why I am trying to keep my camera with me when I am with my horses. I can always put the camera somewhere safe while I am feeding, or riding.
And by taking just a few minutes to be deliberate with the photos I am taking, I am giving myself more opportunities to improve.
Editing The Photos
And after I have filled a memory card full of photos, I like to work with editing software to really make the most of the photo. I have a laptop computer, so I don’t know Apple programs, but these are the software programs I use to make the most of my photos.
You can find Paint.Net online for free, and this is a really useful tool. There are a lot of things you can do with this program to make your photos better. You can change the size, play with the colors and even do some photo manipulation. It just takes a little bit of time to learn the program, and learn what you can do with it.
I love lightroom. There is SO much you can do with photos in lightroom. You can even find presets which will add different elements to your photo to make it look a certain way. It is very user friendly and easy to use. The downside to this program is, it isn’t free. I originally bought the program, but since purchasing it, we have been using Adobe creative cloud suite, and lightroom is included in the suite. A less expensive version is to buy Adobe Elements. For around $60.00 you can find a great program that is really easy to use.
This is an incredible program with so many uses. However, it is challenging to learn. There are thousands of tutorials on YouTube, which I use regularly. And this program is not free either. But if you subscribe to the creative cloud through Adobe, it is an affordable option. I would recommend you go directly through Adobe to see all of the options they have.
If you are going to be doing a lot with photography, and video production the investment is worth it in my opinion because there is just so much you can do to improve every aspect of your creativity with these programs.
Just Do It
If you are always wishing for better photos, do something about it. Take your camera with you and practice. Capture the memories. Just do it. Make time to take pictures. Once you have done this for a while, your photography will get better. You will have some fantastic memories of the time you spend with your horses, and probably even your family. Look for opportunities in your every day horsey life to capture those memories and turn them into art.
Just as an example of practicing what I preach, all of these photos, with the exception of the black and white one were taken one evening in about 10 minutes when I went out to feed my horses. It doesn’t take a lot of time, and you can get some great pictures simply by doing it.
If you want to learn more about basic photography with your horse, check out this article, Easy Photography Tips for Horse Lovers.
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