Feature Photography

5 Tips to Start Using Your Camera More

If you own a digital camera there is one thing that you should be doing with it and that is taking photos. Whether you have bought a cheap point or shoot or a high-end Digital SLR, it does nothing sitting at home in the cupboard. You want to be getting out there and using it to capture the images that you bought it for. A camera is only a good investment if you take the time and make the effort to use it.

When I look back at the different periods that I have owned and used my camera there are some big differences. If I look at the last four months of 2016 I took a total of zero photos. It was not because of a lack of opportunity to take photos, far from it. But it was more a lack of consciously making an effort to get the camera out of the bag.

In contrast, the past four months to date when I am posting this have seen me take over 1500 photos. Yes, there was a day with over 740 images alone, taken for an event. But no I have not used the camera every single day either. I do not expect to capture award-winning photos every day or even all that often. But I do want to continually be applying myself and using my camera as often as the opportunity arises.

1. Set The Intention

If you want to find yourself taking photos on a daily basis you need to set the intention to take photos each day. You need to commit to doing what it takes to ensure that you give yourself the best possible chance of success. To me, there are four parts to this commitment.

  1. You need to carry your camera with you on a daily basis.
  2. Be aware of your surroundings and be looking for inspiration and photo opportunities.
  3. You need to take the opportunity and get your camera out to take the photo when you see it.
  4. Finally, make use of the photos that you capture. Share them on social media, print them out or create a blog with your images.

2. Carry Your Camera

There is one sure way to never capture any photos and that is to leave your camera at home. But of course, if you are reading this post there is a good chance that is not what you want to do. If you want to take photos on a regular basis you need to take steps to have your camera with you.

There are two considerations when thinking about taking your camera with you. Both could possibly be answered with one questions. Why do you not carry your camera now?

The Camera

Is the reason that you don’t carry your camera now, the camera itself? For some people, the practicality of carrying the camera they have is the greatest concern. Either it is too cumbersome or just plain too heavy. If this is what is holding you back, it might be time to consider selling your camera and buying something a little more practical.

How You Carry Your Camera

The bag that you carry your camera in can be an important consideration. Maybe you have left the camera at home because you don’t have something suitable to carry it in. The only way to overcome this is to find a solution. Do you need to buy a camera case for the camera? Maybe you need to buy a new bag that fits everything you need each day.

I used to have concerns with this needing to have a specific bag for my camera. However, I have more found myself just putting my camera in my backpack. While it is far from ideal, I do own a rather rugged camera and it has not had any problems doing this.

3. Inspiration In Your Surroundings

When you are looking to capture images every day, finding the inspiration for what to photograph can be difficult.

Inspiration can come in many different forms, both externally and internally. However, it may not always be driven in the way that you might expect. While you need to be prepared for inspiration to strike. You also need to help give it a push in the right direction as well.

Coffee - Banter Coffee House, Manly

I have personally taken steps to try and give myself extra reason or motivation to use my camera. For example, the photo that I share my coffee every day. While the photo is not always taken on the day that I share it, I do find that I use my camera a lot more often. Also being open to doing this has led me to other opportunities to use my camera more. Days such as when I took a walk around Manly Harbour Village or my visits to Cleveland Point and Victoria Point Reserve.

4. Take The Photo

No matter if you have your camera with you or what inspiration you find, it is all for nothing if you don’t take the photo. There can be many different reasons you might use not to take the photo, but you need to throw them all away.

A common reason I used to use was that the lighting was not great or the angle I wanted I could not achieve. The end result was days if not weeks without taking a photo. Often not even thinking of the excuse but just deciding it was to difficult to get the camera out.

The truth is that more often than not, these things are all but irrelevant. So much can truly be fixed up in post-processing, especially lighting. But you cannot fix up anything without having the photo to start with.

The ultimate result is that you just have to take the photo. Get the camera out and take the picture. It does not matter if the photo that you take looks good or bad. Take the photos to give yourself practice, no one ever mastered anything without first practising. Remember that you don’t need to create a masterpiece with every push of the shutter. But not pushing the shutter will not create anything.

5. Get Accountable

One of the absolute keys to doing something on a regular basis is finding accountability. Being accountable to yourself is something that very few people can successfully achieve. There is often a need to find some form of external accountability to if not ensure success at least help it along.

I hinted at one form of external accountability in the pervious section. You can share the photos that you capture on either social media or a blog. Initially, not many people might be paying attention but over time people will come to expect to see your posts. Over time this will give you a need to continue sharing images so you don’t disappoint your visitors.

Another form of accountability can come from not wanting to break a streak. If you work on taking photos each day for 30 days. You then post a photo each day for 30 days to social media. On the 31st day, you are going to be less inclined to forget or want to skip posting.

Go Take Photos

Bulimba - Brisbane River

While I do hope what I have shared above does help you, at the end of the day it comes back to you. No one is forcing you to take photos, but if you want to make it part of your day it is easy to do.

Set the intention, carry your camera, look for inspiration and take the photo. If you want to make it a regular thing then add in some external accountability.

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