3 Tips to Improve Your Everyday Photography Right Now

Tip #1: Have a Camera On You

This should go without saying; but I must say it. If you don’t have any type of camera on you, something amazing WILL happen. A beautiful vista will present itself; an extinct species will be revealed; and/or the moment of a lifetime will transpire. I’m not sure why this is the case but it’s the case.

Mackinac Island, Michigan
Camera: Canon 6D

Of course here, a phone is the easiest one to have. It really doesn’t matter what you have on you, but make sure you have something.

When I was attending college in hot pursuit of a degree in photojournalism, I remember the first lesson was to carry our camera on us at all times. At first it felt strange, embarrassing even. But, once you encounter a compelling image-making opportunity AND you have your image-making device on you, embarrassment be damned! The picture is yours.

Tip # 2: Take the Road/Path/Direction Less Traveled

This tip also can’t be emphasized enough. We’re all creatures of routine. It’s easy to travel the same way all the time. Fresh and new environments are crucial to opening up your mind and creativity so you must mix it up. Even if you have the opportunity to take a right instead of a left; if you can stay in one spot a couple minutes longer than normal; or even if you make pictures in light that you’d normally not make light in, it’ll help.

Grand Rapids, Michigan
Camera: iPhone 7

By stepping out of your comfort zone and forcing yourself to take on new areas and aesthetics, your brain will reward you creatively as you take in all the fresh stimuli you encounter.

From time to time, I take my vehicle in for a repair. when I do this, I take my bike with me so when I drop my vehicle off, I can just bike to work.

One of my favorite benefits to this is that I’m able to see new surroundings, or at least, surroundings I don’t witness much of. Instead of making the usual commute and seeing the exact same things, I’m introducing myself to a host of exciting scenes and photographic possibilities.

If I drive my normal route and leave at my normal time, I see the same 1970s Ford Bronco traveling the opposite direction as we make our way to our respective places of employment. It’s funny but sad too. I should be taking different paths and appreciating the world for its variety, instead of settling into the day-to-day routine.

Every time I take a different route than my normal one, I’m exposed to new things and it just feels good.

Tip # 3: Don’t Overthink the Photo

Here’s another tip I’ve mentioned before but that needs to be stated: we can be our own worst obstacle! If you think: “Should I or should I not make this image,” the moment will most likely be gone by the time you arrive at your answer. Make the image.

Star Township, Michigan
Camera: Mamiya 7

Photograph first and ask questions later is what I’ve always tried to abide to. It clears the fog in the brain and the blinders from the eyes once you let your instinctive shutter-button finger do the work instead of contemplating too much.

Also, it’s MUCH easier to edit amazing photos than to wish you’d capture an image that you let pass by.

After spending years making photos, these tips are the fundamental ones that you need to make great images. Notice—please notice—that not one of these tips include a suggestions for a specific type of brand-name camera gear. This is because it doesn’t matter.

Certain camera clubs and novices would have you believe that a specific brand, model, megapixel count, camera-body color, etc., would be your key to capturing good images but this would be false.

People have been capturing quality images for years on whatever they had and you can to.

Go forth, keep it simple and make images.

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