I hear this a lot: “I have a digital camera, but it’s a bit overwhelming. the camera just sits in the box. What can I do?”
1) Read the Manual. OK, you never read manuals; I don’t either. Well, you really should read the camera manual. Your digital camera likely has an amazing set of features – yes, perhaps way too many. But going through the manual and being aware of the features can help you when you later ask: “Can I do this with my camera?” I know my camera very well, but I carry the manual with me at all times and refer to it often.
2) Venture out of Auto Mode. You’re thinking this is easy, I’ll just set everything up on auto mode and won’t have to make any decisions. Your camera will likely take OK pictures, but just OK. Learn about shutter priority and aperture priority (it’s in the manual!) and try them out. It’s easy to do with a bit of effort, and your pictures will look MUCH better.
3) Get Closer. Pictures of people – and most other subjects – will benefit by getting in closer. Walk in or zoom in. It will simplify the image, add impact and engage the viewer more deeply. In this image, I started with a full body shot. As I kept shooting closer and closer, the picture got better.
4) Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! Take lots of pictures. They’re free. Take a shot, change a setting on the camera, and shoot again. Which image works better? Move around and shoot the subject from a different angle. You’ll gradually find out what works – and especially what works for you. Henri Cartier-Bresson, the famous French photographer said, “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”
5) Enjoy! Little kids can pick up drawing easily and have fun from the very beginning. Adults who take up drawing mostly struggle with a lot of anxiety and critical self-judgment. Photography is the same way. Act like a kid – just relax, let go and shoot. Shoot what you care about, shoot what inspires you. Keep shooting and I know your work will get better by leaps and bounds!