Everyone knows that when you buy a camera you can’t just get it out of the box/bag/clumsily bundled third hand bubble wrap and start using it straight away.
No, don’t be silly, first you need a selection of essential cutting edge add ons, without which you will utterly fail as a photographer.
But don’t panic, here is my guide to the five essential accessories you need to start capturing fantastic pictures.
1. Keen, inquisitive eyes, prepared to look in every corner and from every angle to find the most rewarding compositions.
However amazing the camera, it’s still you that has to point it before you shoot, so ensure you’re ever curious, seeking out different perspectives that will make your work memorable. Sometimes it might be a straight ahead classic viewpoint because the scene is so beautiful anyway, but don’t be afraid to explore alternatives that might yield something even better.
2. The restraint to only press the shutter button when the composition is good enough.
Before you shoot, pause for a moment and ask “even if this image came out as good as it possibly could, with this equipment, with this scene and this lighting, would it still be worth taking?” If the answer is no, then either make the adjustments you need that will make it worthwhile, or lower your camera and look elsewhere. Being more disciplined out in the field will save you much time and disappointment when editing later. Which leads us to…
3. A ruthless editing streak.
By editing I simply mean deciding which photos you keep, and which you delete. You don’t need seven fractionally different versions of the same scene. Neither do you need to keep anything that might have looked incredible in the flesh but has ended up as a mediocre final image – the world (especially the internet) is overflowing with mediocre photographs already! Be ruthless and only keep your very best photos, even if sometimes that means a photo walk or shoot results in no keepers at all.
4. The realistic expectation that not every shot will be amazing and maybe not even one shot in ten, 100 or even 1000 will be worth keeping, let alone sharing.
Naturally hand in hand with being fiercely particular in your editing, is holding an expectation that most of your photos won’t make the grade. The most revered photographers in history only generally released a few books or had a handful of exhibitions, showing us only the very finest of their work. We only see the glorious, glistening tip of the iceberg, not the huge mass of photographs they left submerged for one simple reason – they weren’t good enough. Expect a high miss rate with your work as par for the course and you’ll avoid endless heartache, and be left with a personal portfolio to be truly proud of.
5. The discipline to use just that one camera.
One of the biggest obstacles to improving as a photographer is to keep running to a different camera every time you’re going out, never becoming comfortable and familiar enough with one tool so it becomes an almost invisible extension of your eyes, hands and mind. Even if you do this for just 30 days, you will notice a significant increase in the fluidity and enjoyment of your photography. This will also inevitably mean fewer missed shots, and less head scratching and unnecessary blind fumbling.
I hope you gain something from this article, and it’s helped you realise that the best accessories for your camera aren’t the latest bag, app or clip on gadget, and cost nothing but your own increased awareness, discipline and practice.
What “accessories” do you consider essential in your own photography?
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