6 Good Habits Practiced by Photographers

The more time you spend doing an activity, the more habits you incur. Such is the case with photography, whether it is your profession or a hobby. Here are three good practices which every photographer is advised to follow:

1. Back up your image files – one of the worst things that can happen to a photographer is for all his or her image files to be irretrievably lost because the computer suddenly conks out. Constantly backing up photo files can be a hassle especially if you have thousands stored in your hard drive. But can you imagine what will happen if all your precious photos suddenly vanish just because you didn’t take the effort to back them up? Make it a habit to back up your shots so that if your hard drive becomes corrupt or just breaks down without reason, at least you are secure in the knowledge that you have copies of your photos in another hard drive, memory cards, data discs or even online. 

2. Take care of your gear – protect your gear all the time, even when you are just at home. I admit to sometimes forgetting to clean the camera lens and regret it when I see dust particles in my photos that I then have to remove in post processing. But more than that, dirt and grime can actually harm the camera. DSLRs, for example, have removable parts and if a speck of sand happens to enter the spaces of the camera, it can scratch the sensitive parts and cause the camera to malfunction. Simple actions such as protecting your camera’s LCD with a screen protector, not holding the camera with wet hands, using the neck strap if you’re plan to hold the camera while shooting, and using a camera case can make your camera live longer. As much as it tempts you, don’t wipe your camera’s lens with the edge of your shirt. Invest in a camera cleaning kit or at the very least, use a lens cloth such as what you would use for eyeglasses or eye shades. Accessories such as batteries, memory cards, filters, extra lenses and flash units should be taken care of just as much since these can be expensive to repair or to replace.

3. Work in-camera – it is good practice to try to improve your in-camera skills rather than to rely on post-processing tactics. In the days of film, photography was often considered an expensive hobby because of the rolls of films one had to buy once the previous roll was used up. To save money, many (okay, me) would try to get the perfect shot in as few frames as possible. With digital photography, we now have the luxury of taking hundreds of pictures without having to worry about the cost of film. The downside to this is we become trigger-happy and may have the tendency to shoot without much thought about composition or lighting. Choosing quantity over quality will not help you hone your photography skills, and using photo editing programs to spice up your hurried shots may not make things better, either. Practice the discipline of getting the shots right in-camera even if you’re using a digital camera. You will grow much more as a photographer this way, plus you will spend less time editing photos. 

4. Be observant – remember when we were children and every object in the whole world seemed to be interesting? The toy box was just as fun to play with as the toy, we could spend hours playing with the dead leaves in the garden, and the whole world just seemed so shiny and exciting. As we mature, we get used to the everyday, ordinary things around us to the point of not even noticing them anymore. Photography (and all the other forms of visual art) reminds us to go back to that stage of constant wonder, to use all our senses (not just sight) to capture in a shot what we want to remember or express.

5. Know your camera – cameras differ in many ways; brand, model, buttons, features, quality, shape, size, and so on and so forth. To make the most out of your camera, you should be very familiar with it, both its capabilities and its limitations. 

6. Practice constantly – if you want to take fantastic shots, practice. This is probably the best good habit a photographer can have. Just like any skill, there is no shortcut to being an expert in this field.  A photographer’s skill evolves through constantly shooting, learning what works and what doesn’t, and applying in the latest shoot whatever has been learned so far. There is only so much that concepts and suggestions from photo books, workshops and other photographers can do. These are easily forgotten if you don’t practice. Since photography deals both with artistic expression and technical expertise, experience is the key to knowing how to balance these two aspects. 

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