Are you interested in taking better photographs? Or more specifically climbing photography?  The best way is to simply practice shooting that in which you love or enjoy. The labor of your love is more easily focused if you do it this way. For most of you your photos will only be used on social media and for personal use. Many of your images will never be printed but simply shared with friends and the world on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat.  It is safe to say that they will live on your phones or computers indefinitely.  However, some will have a desire to capture a moment and memorialize it in print of some sort.  Either way it is worth the time and effort to refine a few techniques to create amazing pictures.

I am going to present this information in a bullet list format and then open it up for discussion later through the comments section below. I believe that practice, constructive criticism, and a desire to learn are important in becoming a better photographer in general. I will try to separate personal preference from time tested fundamentals so that you can honestly develop your own style independent of peoples ideas or opinions. I think that a good photograph is one in which you have given your special touch to it as well as honored some basic principles that most photographers apply routinely to their craft.

  1. Understand your camera whether it be a phone, point and shoot, or DSLR. Read the manual, Youtube tutorials, workshops, etc
  2. If using a DSLR I recommend only using Manual mode for a few months until you can effectively adjust shutter speed, aperature, and ISO accordingly to give you the picture that you are looking for. A properly exposed, sharp, interesting photo is dependent on you understanding those settings well.
  3. Google your genre of photography and review images and make note of why you like them or why you don’t like them.  Apply the answers to you shooting style.
  4. Use # searches on Facebook and Instagram for images as well. Many enthusiasts use these social media tags to organize their photos in the big internet library so to speak so you might as well use all the resources available to you.
  5. Join a community based photography class or contact your local resources for private classes. Sign up for workshops.
  6. Ask a friend who is a photographer for advice and suggestions on technique and gear. Most are open to sharing this knowledge
  7. Make a commitment to take pictures every day. Follow your inspiration and trust your gut feeling. If you have an inclination to take a picture of something that caught your eye stop what your doing and TAKE it….your artistic side caught a glimpse of something that you may not be able to explain yet but you will later, so TAKE it:-)
  8. After you get proficient, invest in a photo editing software program. Many great photographs go through some form of editing before they hit a magazine or Facebook. Sometimes just a basic phone app can do wonders with a photo
  9. Support your local photography stores from time to time. Your patronage helps and they may be willing to give you advice and suggestions as well
  10. You get what you put into it……

I will put together another article with more technical aspects of shooting climbing in the next series. Many of you might already be there but this list helps layout a foundation that may be helpful as you start the process. The concept of composition, lighting, and story telling are 3 major parts of photograph. They might even be the most important. I will discuss them in more detail NEXT..