15 ways to improve your photography without buying new gear

11 photo lesson every pro learned the hard way: buy a good tripod

1. Concentrate on what you can photograph rather than what you can’t

It’s easy to walk away from a photo opportunity because you don’t feel your lens is long enough or wide enough, or you believe your camera’s continuous shooting speed is slow or its autofocus sluggish.

But learning to think around any potential barriers is how original photos are made. Instead of wishing for a 600mm lens for wildlife photography, see how you can frame an impactful shot with a wide-angle.

Rather than cursing your lack of an ultra-wide lens when photographing a sweeping coastal shot, take a series of frames and stitch them together later.

No fast f/1.2 portrait lens in your line-up?

Find a location where the foreground and background will be so far from your portrait-sitter that it’s easy to make them stand out, even at f/5.6.

2. Read the camera manual

Reading your DSLR’s manual won’t help you improve your photography per se, but a bit of technical camera knowledge will make a difference to the aesthetic quality of your pictures in the long term.

You’ll learn how to customise the controls of your camera so that you can react to situations faster.

You’ll understand which of the many autofocus options and AF point set-ups will suit different subjects. You’ll know how the camera will handle flash exposures in different shooting modes.

3. Use your gear every day

You don’t have to head out in pursuit of an award-winning shot seven days a week, but the more you use your camera, the more instinctively you’ll be able to use it.

Being able to press the correct button to adjust the aperture or ISO without taking your eye from the viewfinder, or to know which direction to rotate the camera’s dial to make the next shot brighter or darker can increase your chances of capturing spontaneous photographs.

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