Shocking right? It gets better. Of the red-headed, left-handed photographers, those that were breastfed for the first six months of their lives and have never tasted Nutella make up 80% of the world’s greatest snappers.
By now you’ve probably started to see the holes in my story right? There’s no such thing as a photographer that’s never tasted Nutella. Pffttt, everybody knows that!
But seriously, arguing that the colour of someone’s hair, or whether they are left or right-handed will influence the quality of their work is just like insisting that a certain lens or brand of camera is going to make someone a better photographer.
If you’re not convinced, try doing a Google image search of “world’s greatest photographs”. You won’t get the answer “did you mean images taken on the 1DX11, Sony A77 II, Leica, Nikon or Hasselblad?” Instead your search will bring up thousands of incredible images that were all taken on a camera, but it’s impossible to distinguish which camera took those images.
When we look at great images, our first thought isn’t “I bet that was taken using a Nikon D5 or Canon 1DX11”. Nope, our first thought is usually “wow great subject” or “OMG, the light is incredible” or “what an amazing location”.
Great images are taken by great photographers. The best camera in the world can still take poor images if the person using it doesn’t know how to use it properly.
So, if you want to improve your photography, the best investment you can make is time – not gear.
Spending hours researching the best lens and camera for portraits is not going to make you a better photographer. Nor will owning every lens and gadget ever invented. Spending time honing your skills will improve your photography.
Don’t get me wrong here, I lust after great glass and great cameras just as much as any enthusiast does, but I also know that every time I upgrade my gear, my skill level doesn’t necessarily upgrade with it.
Here are my top three tips for improving your photography without upgrading your gear. Oh, and if you’re a left-handed redhead, chances are you already know this, so just keep being awesome.
1. Learn how to shoot in manual mode.
Cameras today are awesome. The technology is genius. Even the most basic entry level cameras can be set to auto mode and record incredible images, but if you really want to take your images to the next level and take creative control of your photography, you need to shoot in manual mode.
When you shoot in auto, the camera decides on the best exposure, contrast, ISO and metering mode for your image. When you shoot in manual mode, you control how you want your images to look. Need help making the switch? Check out this podcast episode on How to master manual mode in 30 minutes.
2. Master your camera’s autofocus system.
One of the greatest frustrations for newbies and pro photographers alike is missing focus on shots. Many settle with a hit and miss approach of getting 50% or less of the images in focus.
Autofocus these days is getting better and better, but if you don’t know how to use it properly, your images will always be lacking.
Dig out your camera’s manual or download it for free from this site and get to know how your camera’s autofocus modes work. You’ll be amazed at how much your images will improve when you master your camera’s autofocus system.
If you want to discover more about how your camera’s autofocus works and the best ways to nail focus every time, listen to this podcast episode on How to master autofocus.
3. Learn basic post production
Once you’ve mastered the basics of manual mode, lighting and composition, learning basic post production will dramatically impact the look and feel of your images. This, like learning any new skill, can be overwhelming at the start – but stick with it. I promise you the hard work and extra time is totally worth it.