In Part I, we covered some practical things you can do to improve your photography. Here in Part II, we'll continue with that theme and cover 3 more practical things you can do to improve your photography.
USE CONTINUOUS SHOOTING MODE
One of the tricks I use to capture good images is to use the Continuous Shooting mode. There are various Continuous Shooting settings, but in particular, I use the High Speed Continuous Shooting mode because although it will take more shots, there is bound to be a number of great ones in there. Those final great ones are the ones I use to deliver to my clients.
In the process, I do capture a lot of half-closed eyes, odd facial expressions, and weird shots, but amongst all of those are the perfectly lit, composed, beautiful images that are pleasing to the eye. Now, the downside to this trick is that when it comes time to edit the images, I have that many more photos to sort through.
One thing to note is that in order to not get slowed down while capturing in Continuous Shooting mode, you'll need a memory card that writes/records fast. Otherwise, you may take 10 shots in 1 second, but you're stuck waiting 15 seconds for your camera to write the data onto the memory card.
Every camera model differs on how fast it can take an image. It's typically measured and described as FPS or Frames Per Second. There are cameras that can take 10 frames (or pictures) per second, others 6, others higher and lower. Check out your camera's specs to know how many frames it can capture.
KEEP YOUR CAMERA ON
One important element of photography is being prepared to take the shot. Unless you're shooting poses, you never know when the right moment you want to capture will strike. The light hits a subject a certain way, somebody gives the most genuine look - you want to be ready to capture that quickly.
One thing you can do to better prepare you to take that shot is to keep your camera on. Most modern DSLR cameras go into "sleep" mode within a short amount of time if unused. This allows the camera to return to life more quickly than having to run through the start-up process on the camera. Battery life should be minimally affected by this, as the digital components and displays are asleep during that time.
This tip is important because it's most often in those unexpected moments - natural and unposed - that I get my best shots.
USE NATURAL LIGHT
I don't particularly do a lot of work with flashes and artificial light. Therefore, natural light is really key in my work. One of the best skills you can learn as a photographer is to learn to work with natural light because it will allow you to work outdoors where you're not limited to a confined indoor space. If you happen to find yourself indoors (in a restaurant, event space, etc.) look for surrounding natural light by getting close to a window or a door - something that allows the sunlight from outdoors to enter your image. If you're outdoors, natural light can help you capture well-lit images of your subjects. Cloudy days are my favorite for photographing outdoors because the sun behind the clouds softens the harsh light. If you are outdoors and find yourself on a clear day with harsh light, the next best thing would be to find a shadowy area near your location to shoot in. The shadow of a tree or building, a balcony, or an overhang.