How a walk in the forest can improve your photography skills for any Canon camera.

October 19, 2016 Photography Tips 0 Comments

Even the pros need to improve their photography skills.  It’s an ongoing battle for any form of art, and yes photography is an art.  The other weekend we had a rare warm fall day and I wanted to head out and improve my photography skills and techniques.  I headed to a local nature reserve thinking there would be a lot of wildlife action to practice on.  Well was I surprised.  Apparently the wind was to strong for many of the birds remaining to be active in.  So now i’m out with all my gear and nothing to shoot. How was I going to improve my skills taking photos with all this Canon gear?

How to easily improve your photography skills even if you’re a beginner.

I ended up leaving the nature reserve I was at and headed to a new location.  When I arrived the area was packed with people taking in the unusually hot fall day.  It took me a few minutes to find a place to park and when I did it all hit me.  Don’t try too hard let the environment lead you. So I walked alone the dirt road a bit and saw an opening into the forest beside me, I jumped in.  Ok I agree this sounds odd while I’m typing it but you have to remember I had packed all my gear and was eager to take some sort of meaningful photo.  So I just went with it and found myself aimlessly walking around.  I stopped and almost gave up when I saw this unusual stand of trees.  I took one last stab at it and walked in (really it was under the branches) the forest.  WOW it was like a whole new world and all of a sudden I could see a ton of ways to improve my photography composition skills.  So that’s exactly what I did. I started taking photos.

First thing take a random picture then focus on your camera skills

I often find that if I take my first picture of the day when I really want to something that the outcome is anything but what I wanted.  Either the exposure is off or the focus isn’t right but undoubtedly the picture just doesn’t turn out right.  So a simple photo tip is just snap a picture.  I’ve gotten in the habit of doing this as soon as I pull the camera out.  Take a picture of your car or the road just snap something.  What I found was that my camera settings were still set to my last assignment or worse that I forgot to check the battery and I’m running out of juice.  So the first few pictures you snap when you head out are simply meant to get you back in the swing of things.

While I was standing in the forest in a somewhat surreal setting I asked myself. So what now, what are you going to practice on to improve your photo skills.  So I thought about it for a second and I said, let’s do some basic photo skill work.  I had both a Canon and Sony body with me and for very different reasons I practiced the same simple photos skills.  Now the Sony A7 had the Lensbaby Velvet 56 (read my Lensbaby review here) on it so practicing was a little bit more involved than the Canon.  Either way I stuck to these simple skills and made each shot resonant with at least one of them.

Quick list of  photography skills

  • Exposure
  • Composition
  • Story telling

I find myself switching hats when I’m out working on my skills and on this adventure found myself thinking as a product photographer.  When taking pictures of products being sold on EBay or your website you find yourself looking for new creative ways to shoot.  So while I was looking around I found a mushroom hiding on the forest floor.  Now you could shoot this as a nature photographer or see it as a product and change your whole perspective.  So I shot both ways.  You can see the outcome of this adventure on Instagram.

Some things to remember when you’re trying to improve your photography skills is that you need to get your head in the game (just take a photo of something), think outside the box and pick a few skills to practice on.

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