6) Shoot all kinds of different things
When most of us start out with our first DSLR, we don’t know what sort of photographer we are. I knew I was going to take photographs of my daughter, but I was slow in trying other things, which was a mistake.
Landscapes, sports, events, wildlife, still life and street photography all offer their own challenges and rewards. So try all of them (and anything else you can think of) and see what excites you. Even if you discover that you’re not that interested in that particular area, you’ll probably learn something along the way that will enhance your photography skills.
7) Shoot a lot
With film cameras there was a definite cost to you each time you pressed the shutter, but of course one of the joys of digital photography is that each shot is next to free. I’m not advocating ‘spray and pray’ – there should be a thought behind each image – but the more you experiment, the faster you’ll learn.
So have the camera easily available when you’re at home, and bring it along with you even on unpromising errands. And if you can, set aside some blocks of time just to go out and shoot.
8) Shoot RAW
Chances are your DSLR offers you the chance to save your images in RAW or JPG format. JPG images are ‘cooked’ in the camera – adjustments are made to saturation, contrast and other settings to give you a more nearly finished (and smaller) file. RAW files keep everything the sensor captured, and need processing in your computer to get the best out of them.
So it would seem that JPG files are easier to handle, but actually I think the opposite is true. RAW files give you much more leeway to correct mistakes later (especially with exposure and white balance), so even if you didn’t completely nail the image you were after in the camera, you can improve things after the fact. Programs such as Apple Aperture or Adobe Lightroom make it easy to organize and adjust your images (whether they’re RAW or JPG).