• Carolyn Mickulas

100 Things I Learned About Photography

As part of an assignment for a photography course, I had to complete a list of 100 things I learned about photography. Here's my list.

Written By: Carolyn Mickulas, Published By: Twenty20 - Spring 2014

1- It takes time to be a good photographer.

2- Do - Look for inspiration from other Photographers.

3- Don’t - Copy other Photographer’s style, be original.

4- Believe in yourself.

5- You will discover a lot about yourself through your photographs.

6- Always think outside the box.

7- This is a big one… PAY ATTENTION TO LIGHT!!

8- Criticize and critique honestly and respectfully.

9- It’s always better to underexpose than overexpose.

10- Learn the rules of photography, then learn how to break them.

11- Enjoy beautiful moments when you don’t have a camera with you. This one is especially hard for me.

12- Always check your background before hitting the shutter release.

13- Natural light is the best light.

14- My camera is a part of my wardrobe. Leaving home without it is like not wearing any shoes.

15- Practice, practice, practice and then practice some more.

16- Utilize your flash. Adding just a little bit of light makes it possible to fill in shadows, resulting in a more natural-looking photo.

17- ISO: The camera’s sensitivity to light.

18- Invest in business cards. Future clients do not want to see your name and number scratched on the back of a grocery receipt.

19- The softer light you get on an overcast day is perfect for shooting plants, flowers and foliage.

20- Be prepared. Okay… this strategy isn't rocket science.

21- Histograms ARE rocket science.

22- Centering can be boring. Practice the Rule of Thirds.

23- The wider the aperture, the more light is let in – brightening your shots.

24- The narrower the aperture, the less light is let in – darkening your shots.

25- Blown out: Bright areas in a photo that are overexposed.

26- Hide your initials somewhere on your photos to prove they’re yours.

27- Shoot with whatever kind of camera you are comfortable with.

28- The concept of “less is more” lends itself effectively to just about everything, photography is no exception.

29- There is always more to learn!

30- Familiarize yourself with Photography lingo.

31- If you’re seeing what appears to be ghost doubles on your images, you can be sure your problem is camera shake.

32- Slow down and take the time to frame your shot.

33- DSLR: Digital single lens reflex.

34- Post your photos online to get exposure.

35- The most fundamental element any photographer should understand is aperture.

36- If you only buy one filter, make it a circular polarizer.

37- Golden Hour: The hour or so before sunset, and after sunrise.

38- Don’t get into the Nikon vs. Canon debate.

39- Enter photo contests and challenges.

40- Frame your best photos and give them as gifts.

41- Shooting in black & white can help develop your photographer’s eye by letting you concentrate on the relationship between light and shadow without the distraction of color.

42- Balance: Arrangement of shapes, colors and areas that complement each other.

43- Performing some very BASIC editing on a photo can help improve its quality drastically.

44- Read your camera’s instruction manual… trust me… read it!!

45- The heart of a photograph is the position of different elements in a frame, a.k.a. Composition.

46- Memory cards wear out, replace them every couple of years.

47- In the process of learning and using your camera, you will develop a better eye from a creative perspective.

48- Join a photography Club.

49- Placing an object or person in the foreground of your photo helps give a sense of scale and emphasizes how far away the distance is.

50- Okay, I admit it… I've taken a few selfies!!

51- Histograms are helpful in sunlight when it's hard to see an LCD screen.

52- Invest in a tripod.

53- Backlighting: Lighting that comes from behind the subject, causing the light meter to be underexposed.

54- You have to ‘work’ for a good shot. Holding up your camera and snapping what’s in front of you is not photography.

55- Be subtle when using HDR, it’s really easy to overdo this effect.

56- Silhouettes are an excellent way to add drama to a photo.

57- An expensive camera won’t make you a professional photographer no matter what that guy at the camera store tells you.

58- Manual mode- Where you can specify everything.

59- Automatic mode- Where the camera will make a best guess.

60- Programmed mode- Where certain characteristics are pre-determined.

61- If you get one great shot out of 100, it’s a successful day.

62- Try using a black background to make a subject stand out. Black velvet material works great because it absorbs any light hitting it. As a result, no shadows or reflections appear in the picture.

63- Get that last shot… Don’t worry; your friends won’t really leave without you.

64- The more equipment you bring, the more you have to carry.

65- When shooting flowers, carry a small spray bottle filled with water to add the extra effect of rain drops.

66- Take several photos of the same scene at different exposures, angles, or apertures.

67- F-Stop: Number used to indicate the relative size of the aperture.

68- Don’t be afraid of getting dirty.

69- Reformat your memory card when using it in a different camera.

70- Don’t be so quick to delete the images you don’t like. Look at them again in a month, you may see them differently.

71- When shooting wildlife, bring a compass, we wouldn't want you to get lost in the woods.

72- Learn from your mistakes. That’s how you will become a better photographer.

73- The camera phone is the most widely used camera in the world.

74- Anticipate shutter lag. Get used to your camera’s timing so you’ll have a good feel for the point when you need to press the shutter release.

75- Try tilting your camera, transforming the scene from the expected to something surprising.

76- Get in the habit of using a lens hood, not only to reduce lens flare; it also helps protect the lens from damage.

77- It may not be a good idea to yell STOP to a person who’s driving 55mph down the road so you can get a shot.

78- Step outside your comfort zone.

79- If you notice spots appearing in your photos, try using a dust blower.

80- Take charge of your photo shoots.

81- Learn how to accept criticism.

82- Straighten out your photos by using the basic editing tool found right on your camera.

83- These days, shaking a Polaroid picture can actually damage the image.

84- A picture is worth a thousand words.

85- Photograph the effects of the rain. Look for puddles and reflections.

86- Photoshop – it’s so powerful it’s actually become a verb.

87- Play around with the brightness, contrast, and temperature of a photo to really make colors pop off the screen.

88- Get inspired by studying the work of Photographers you love.

89- When photographing your pets, get down to their level.

90- Make new friends, join FAA and Instagram.

91- Dust off your old 35mm camera and take it out for a spin.

92- Not everyone is going to like your style, and that’s okay.

93- It’s not about what you see, but how you see it.

94- Explore the wonderful world of Macro.

95- The best photo opportunities are right in your own backyard.

96- Try new techniques.

97- Photography is an art and an adventure.

98- Take on a “Photo of the Day" project.

99- Shoot your family... with your camera... of course!

100- Have a sense of humor and write your own list :)