Improve Your Photos with Practice

Stacy Croninger - Digital Managing Editor

Hi everyone,

As memory keepers we spend a great deal of time taking photos. Over the years I have moved from my adorable Brownie camera, through a variety of point and shoot cameras, to now – the proud owner of a DSLR. I’ve had my DSLR for a year and have tried a variety of photography from macro to landscape.

The thing is, I don’t feel like I’m getting much better, or at least not at the speed I want to improve at. So I’ve spent a fair amount of time reading books and articles online. The one thing that stands out to me from this study is the need to practice – take lots of photos.

Taking more photos seems easy enough, but after awhile I felt like I was taking pictures of the same things over and over. Back to my research. I found this article: 10 Photographic Assignments to Hone Your Skills. LOVE these ideas!

For Christmas I got a new 50mm lens, which prompted a photo shoot with the hounds. It was fun using this lens for macro and close up shots – it created lovely blurred backgrounds. But I also quickly learned that picking the correct focus point was important.

This one I focused on the nose, which means the most important part isn’t in focus – her eyes.

This one I focused on her eyes and what a difference it makes.

On this shot I got in very close so only her eyes are in focus and her nose, body. and the background are fuzzy. Love those eyes!

One more, this time of Hazel. The focal point captures her beautiful eyes.

So enough of my hound babies. With the recent snow and cold, I captured a few shots of the icicles. Again, loved how this lens allows me to focus on one point causing foreground and background to be fuzzy.

Focus is on the middle area of the first icicle.

On this photo I focused on the middle icicles so the front one and back one’s are fuzzy.

I’ve had a lot of fun playing and trying different approaches with this lens, but I think its time to move on to a new challenge. So I’m going to try Compositional Rules from the article’s list. Anyone want to join the fun? If so, post a link to your photos in the comments by next Monday or share them on our Facebook page.

Have fun creating and taking photos!



P.S. Today is Megan Hoeppner’s birthday! I’m sure she’d love a birthday shout out.

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10 Responses to Improve Your Photos with Practice

  1. Lynn Le5 says:

    Great tips! Now if only I can get my kids to stay still…

  2. Back in the day when I learned on an Manual film SLR with a std 50ml lens we did exercises with the focal point. We learned a lot. Light also plays a big part in the F stop and how blurry your background is. Makes me want to go back to basics and play again. Auto cameras have taken all the fun out…thanks for the tips and the inspiration.

  3. Dana Alexander says:

    Hopefully this comes out. I followed the rule of thirds and lead lines rules.

  4. Dana Alexander says:

    Okay, one more. This follows rule of thirds and subject moving into photo.

  5. Amy#8546(TheTigersHaven) says:

    Wow…Really great tips. I can use these. I dont have a professional camera or anything but these are really great tips. I also had to comment because of the basset hound pics. I love them. Just reminded my of my Toby. I miss him so much. Thanks for sharing everything today.

  6. jengd says:

    Great pix- love the variety of focuses on the fuzz child! Happy birthday Megan!

  7. StacyC says:

    Dana, love your photos using the rule of thirds and the movement in them. Thanks for sharing!

    Glad the rest of you are enjoying the tips and my photos – love my babies :)


  8. chark says:

    Happy Birthday, Megan! Thanks for your hard work and talent, hope you have a fabulous day!

  9. ScrapJAG says:

    Great shots! I am always taking pictures of my dogs. They make such great subjects! I, too, have a new camera. Went from a Powershot to a Rebel and am learning where everything is. LOVE the ability to shoot RAW format!
    Have fun with your new toy!

  10. Katie B. says:

    Great ideas, I can definitely tell the difference! Thanks for sharing.

    Katie B.

    Happy Birthday Megan!

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