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Practice, Practice, Practice

Thursday, May 31st, 2012
My Take: Practice is important! As I found out recently, even an experienced photographer can feel awkward after a period of inactivity.

What Does Practice Mean When It Comes to Photography?

In sports or almost anything else one learns there is a period of practice or apprenticeship, a time of learning. I’ve said before that one needs to take lots of pictures as part of the learning process. But like anything else try and do the ‘practice’ part correctly.

If someone were to drill scales on the piano but started off and kept going while doing them incorrectly they would have drilled an incorrect procedure into their muscle memory. The same could be said for a sport like ballet or martial arts. Hundreds, even thousands of hours are spent repeating certain motions in these arts until they become natural, fluid and if not effortless and least they look effortless.

Elite athletes continue to do basic drills. You can watch professional hockey players drill puck handling and skating. Professional musicians will practice their scales and new songs over and over and over. An Olympic level gymnast makes it look so easy. But the hours of practice that go into the routine to make it look so effortless, most of us could not even imagine.

But there are gradients to everything. And one should learn while one does. I see many people taking reasonably good photographs that with a few minor tweaks could be improved considerably. Part of this is working with one of your main tools, your camera. A lot of photos that I see posted are slightly washed out. Most cameras have a setting whereby you can adjust the contrast and brightness. If you have a camera with this option (check the menu), then try a couple of hundred pictures with these functions adjusted. See if you like them better.

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