7 daily exercises that will make you a better photographer

7 daily exercises that will make you a better photographer

The saying ‘practice makes perfect’ is as valid for photography as any other activity, so in their latest guest blog post the photo management experts at Photoventure put together a collection of exercises that will help you become a better photographer.

7 daily exercises that will make you a better photographer

1. Spot meter

Modern metering systems have great general-purpose modes, often called Evaluative, Matrix or Multi-area, which do a great job of accessing a scene and setting good ‘average’ exposure settings in many situations.

However, they’re not 100% foolproof and very dark or very light scenes, or backlighting can trick them into over or under exposure.

They’re also not psychic and don’t know what you’re seeing in your head when you take a shot.

Switching to spot metering puts you in control of where the camera meters from and helps you develop a much better understanding of the tonal range in a scene.

SEE MORE: When to use spot-metering – a simple, jargon-free guide

7 daily exercises that will make you a better photographer:  Spot meter

A standard spotmetering system allows you to meter from a very small part of the scene and it suggests exposure settings that will render your target a mid-tone.

Consequently, you need to take care with the positioning of this spot, study the scene carefully and decide which is the best area to take a reading from.

It’s often helpful to combine spot metering with AE Lock as this will fix the exposure settings (after metering) while you compose the image.

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7 daily exercises that will make you a better photographer: Check the histogram

2. Check the histogram

Just like the Levels display in image editing software packages such as Adobe Photoshop, a camera’s histogram display is a graph that represents the brightness of the pixels that make up an image.

The scale runs from black, with a brightness reading of 0, on the left to white, with a brightness reading of 255, on the right.

The peaks in the histogram indicate the number of pixels with that brightness and a large peak means lots of pixels have that brightness.

This means that a vary dark image will have peaks over to the left of the graph, while a bright one has peaks on the right.

Meanwhile, a correctly exposed ‘ideal’ scene has a histogram with a so-called ‘normal’ distribution with a peak in the middle and just a few very bright and very dark pixels.

Checking the histogram after every shot will increase your understanding of the brightness distribution of an image.

It will also enable you to determine whether an image is under- or over-exposed with the majority of pixels being grouped to the left or right of the graph respectively.

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7 daily exercises that will make you a better photographer: Use a single prime lens

3. Use a single prime lens

Using a prime, or fixed focal length, lens enables you to forget about the distraction of zooming in and out.

Instead you walk towards a subject, assess it through the viewfinder and then either shoot or move again to find a new or alternative vantage point.

It forces you to explore the subject more fully you’ll soon get a better understanding of the angle of view of the lens.

As well as letting you travel light, if you take just one lens with you on a shoot, or day out with your camera, you’ll really get to know that focal length and in the future you’ll be able to decide which lens to mount on your camera just by looking at the scene and framing an image in your mind.


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  • Ursog

    Where are the other 6 tips?

  • Álvaro Alcaide

    It took me a while to figure it out.
    Go to the address line, and write the number 2 at the end. That will take you to the second tip. For the third, write number 3, and so on.

  • digitalcameraworld

    Yes, you’re right. We migrated to a new site this week and something has happened to the page navigation buttons! We’re working on it and should hopefully get them back up soon. Thanks!

  • Luis Sergio Moura Junior

    It’s below all that advertising… One line above “Tagged with: …”

  • Amy

    I have gmail and it was under the Promotions tab but it took about 20 mins or so before it was there. But I was finally able to download both free books.

  • Joe Nguyen

    Love all of them, especially number 2 DCW! Tks a lot :))

  • Luis

    I like number 7, however, not all of us can take a whole day to shoot one photograph daily, not yet tho 😉

  • Russell Rusty Smith

    You may think I’m looney, but, I prefer using manual Prime lenses to AF & AA . I like to set the aperture, then focus. This gives me total control and I don’t have to fiddle with exposure modes, focus modes and metering modes. When I am using a zoom lens, it’s easier for me to focus with the zoom after I set the aperture and guestimate on the focal lenght. Then I zoom in or out until I’m focused , if i like the composition, I shoot the image. If I don’t like the composition, I reposition then focus again….using my zoom ring.

    It maybe odd, the way that I shoot, but it’s comfortable for me.

  • rpats

    You are not alone in preferring mf. You get better control and if you use zone focussing it is quicker than af. Works best with old, mf only, lenses which have dof markings, better feel, and won’t go beyond infinity. And a range of quality lenses is much more affordable!

    Google manual focus lenses, you’ll be amazed what you find.

    That bit about focussing with the zoom is just weird though.

  • Russell Rusty Smith

    I do a lot of macro shots. Using the zoom to fine tune focus saves me time and bother of moving the camera and re composing. Of course, when I am using a prime along with extension tubes, I have to adjust my focus rail, which is basically the same as using the zoom on a zoom lens.

  • rpats

    Ok that makes sense now

  • Yevgeniy Boreesov

    Of all the tips here only No. 7 is actually useful, because it tells you to stop wasting your time on reading websites and whatnot, and begin making photos. After all, you cannot become better at some activity by just reading about it.
    Tips No. 4 and 5, on the other hand, are counter-productive. No modern digital camera is THAT bad at auto-setting the WB, that you have to specifically train yourself on a daily basis to counter it. Also, twiddling with the WB settings for no apparent reason in itself is weird. If your camera allows to switch or change some parameters doesn’t automatically mean that you HAVE to do it.

  • Gail Reed

    I have a 700D Canon and i would like to have the histogram showing on the live view screen but cannot find anywhere in the manual that tells me how to get it there. Any advice or instructions on how would be appeciated. I miss having the histogram up there.

  • Nenad Ninolo

    Try the INFO Button (second from the left) by pressing multiple times , it should appear automatically. If not , go to menu and find the option “enable histogram” or so . Then the info button should do it’s work!

  • Exactly. 1-6 are good information, but none of them are “daily exercises”.

  • Alan Tellum

    Hi I have a canon 700d my problem is when I take a shot and view it afterwards it looks spot on but when I get home and upload it to my computer it turns out to be to dark can you help me with this. Thanks Alan

  • Merv

    very useful tips.. I like this site.

  • beachgirl25

    I really like the last one. it is good to help expand yourself. I also like the white balance. I have been doing kids and bunny pics and have been having an issue with this due to the odd lighting I am using and the various skin tones of the kids.

  • Matt Brighton

    I like how the majority of the images are missing in this article.

  • Tom Rose


  • Oziel Perez

    with all due respect, I think you guys should have tested your site locally first to watch out for broken links and other tid bits going on in the background.