1. landscapes mostly look better kneeling, and sometimes lying down. unless you have a wide angle they rarely look good standing up.
2. unless your shooting close ups, stick to the rule of thirds until you know better. If you are shooting an extremely small subject matter against a very large background, you can make this into the rule of 5ths to potray distance (make sure your subject stands out though).
3. shooting in broad daylight is the easiest, with the least intresting colors. Bracketing is not neccary. Next comes morning/afternoon.
Don't put blind faith in your light meter at twilight or sunrise/set. make sure you bracket, and get separate readings for the ground and sky.
4. Shooting silhouettes against a setting sun is fairly easy, shooting a properly composed subject during a setting sun is hard.
5. Always bracket with time exposures and medium to low light.
6. Broad daylight will have boring colors. Night time, or dark shots, especially longer exposures will bring out the vibrant colors. That sweet spot occurs around 1/4-1/8 second, with ISOs 100-400, this is where you melt your colors into the visceral.(check your film/sensor type, mileage may vary)
6. Get to know your light meter and its limitations. I expect you kids with your fancy schmancy 90%/%10 new fangled 32 point light meters to have it easier. Still, at dawn/dusk your light meter is not to be trusted, and only used as a ball park. Bracket like a motherfucker, and let your intuition tell you what to do.
Learn how to best utilize the gear you already have, instead of thinking that a new piece of gear will fix everything. I've never seen people learn artistic, or photographic skills overnight, just because they got a shiny new piece of gear.
For me I find breaking down a big problem into smaller problems easier to work with. I'd recommend you try and learn just one part of the camrea at a time, trying to learn everything or a lot in one go could lead to dissapointment.
Do what you want. Don't ask others what you should do, ask you what you want to do. That includes improvements. Unless you don't know the basics. Once you know the basics though, just find your own way. Everyone here has their own opinions and styles so you probably won't get a solid answer other than keep trying.
1. keep interested in photography and never give up. 2. You'd better find out what you want to photograph most, like macro photography, event photography or else, and then focus on one photography type and try your best to learn knowledge in this aspect. If you focus on so many kinds of photography, I think for a beginner, it's hard to learn well, and could not make you be specialized in one type of photography. 3. buy good photography equipment according to your photography style or type. 4. keep trying and share with others in a photography community, like this forum. You'll get critiques and that's very important and useful to your future photography work. 5. when you have succeeded in a kind of photography, you may try another but keep the former one.
PS: to choose one kind of photography style does not mean saying no to other types of photography, just focus on.
FacingThePlasticLifeFeatured By OwnerNov 3, 2012Student General Artist
You just have to keep taking pictures, naturally you'll develop a more refined style after practicing for a while like with everything. As for useful advice that can be used right now, don't put your finger over the lens, not even if your a little tempted to.
You have to try, try and try. every pictures you make you become always better and if you hold your camera right you will see after a bit time you see that te pictures become better. The light is also something very imortant!
georgewjohnsonFeatured By OwnerNov 1, 2012Hobbyist Photographer
Always practice with a purpose. Don't ever go somewhere and expect something to happen, it very, very rarely will. Read books, magazines, websites for an understanding of composition and application of those camera knobs and dials. Then whenever you're out and about, with or without a camera practice composition, I do it all the time. Just walking to work I keep an eye out for interesting compositions, just to practice, got no camera most of the time and you don't need one. I know what the knobs and and dials do and understand how they affect the images, so I set pretend camera controls in my mind while I'm looking at stuff.
Nothing wrong with copying other people's stuff. How do kids learn? They play Mums and Dads. How do you learn to drive? They never give you car and say, "Of you go on your own, you'll find your own driving style sooner or later!". As skills improve you can more easily pull other peoples images apart and understand how they "work" and that's when you start realising you can do better and you start to understand why and how you can improve and take it in your own direction.
Cameras don't make images, photographers do. The camera is just dumb box with a bit of glass on the front, you have to feed it with good source material if you want it spit out interesting photos. The mechanics of a camera will take about 15 minutes to learn from the manual. Understanding how those controls affect the images, purely on a technical level, will take maybe couple of weeks to a couple of months, to get to a basic standard. Learning good use of composition, how to use the light and subject to the best advantage to produce compelling images will take you a lifetime, that's the really fun bit that keeps you going!