Today I’m going to introduce the concept of “continuous improvement” for both parenting and photography, which is an idea that has kept me sane!
Long ago as a young parent, I tried to follow the books and do everything perfectly. I have since given up on perfection (after 4 children) and embraced the idea of “continuous improvement”. Are things a little better today than yesterday? Is some small facet of my life improved? Have I helped someone else’s life improve in some way? This concept has been especially helpful with parenting a child with special needs. Sometimes, you have to look hard to find the rays of sunlight on dark days, but they ARE there!
Here are 3 quick things that might help you to become a better photographer:
1) Add a lens hood to your Digital Camera! Lens hoods are designed to prevent stray light from hitting your lens and causing “lens flare”. They are ideal for very sunny days. Using a lens hood does not affect your settings (aperture, ISO or shutter speed).
2) Polarizing filter – remember the last time you hit the slopes to ski or snowboard, and you put on your polarized glasses or goggles? A polarizing filter screws onto the front of your lens and reduces reflections on water, glass, and other reflective surfaces. It also helps to normalize the level of light between the sky and ground.
I use lens hoods and polarizing filters on ALL my lenses. They also protect your expensive DSLR lens from getting scratched and may even save your lens from breaking if you drop it on the ground! The other day I was taking team photos for my son and his buddies with my 50mm lens. He threw a basketball full force right into my camera. The lens hood and filter prevented any damage to the lens itself, and I came away with just a small cut in my eyebrow and some bruising! ’nuff said!
3) post your work so you can see progress (there’s that idea of continuous improvement again!) and print out wallet sized copies of photos you love. On each photo, write down your aperture, shutter speed, ISO and anything else you were doing right. I promise, you’ll see progress, especially when you take the plunge to manual settings! I attach the photos to the wall with painter’s blue tape, so I can get them off without damaging the paint.
I was editing some photos one afternoon and my son brought this up and I put it on the wall next to mine! (of course, his is more COOL than mine!)
That’s all for now! Have a good week, and try to find joy in the small, continuous improvements in your life!