young barred owl

I am going to keep this short and sweet (unlike my recent posts): Here are the things you must do when you are out taking pictures. No arguing, no excuses, no being lazy. Just sit there and listen and then go out and do it.

1. Check your histogram for every shot you take. This is why we use digital technology- we can see what the exposure is going to be. No more guessing. Look at your histogram and you will know what your exposure is going to be. Looking at your LCD on the back of y0ur camera is not good enough. Check your histogram. Every pro does it, shouldn’t you?

2. Use your depth of field preview for landscapes and close-ups. Yes it gets dark when you push the button. It’s okay. Take a breath, wait a moment and your eyes will accommodate to the dim light. Slow down and let your craftmanship come through. What’s the rush. Take a moment and do it right.

3. Think about your background. Bad background = bad picture. No ifs, and or ugly butts. Pick a subject with a background that is supportive of your image. Not distracting, not glaring, not butt ugly. Background is everything- give it the time and effort it deserves.

4. It’s the light, baby, only the light!!! Not the subject, not your ego, not your desires, not your camera. The light is really the only thing that matters in photography. Without good light you won’t get good photos. Without great light you won’t get great photos. Without spectacular light you won’t get spectacular photos. see the pattern? Wait for the light, there is no other way.

5. Do most of your processing in the field. Do all of it if you can. Remove sticks, fix your background, reconsider your framing, adjust your exposure, check your edges, figure out your depth of field all in the field before you push the shutter. If you do you won’t waste your time staring at your computer. Remember, you can’t focus what is blurry and you can’t alter what is way over exposed. And you can’t fix ugly. If you spend more time working on an image than taking it you’ve got things backward. Work on your field technique.

6. Get out and shoot and stop reading blogs! It’s spring! Get outside!!!