Learning how to take better photos

I realised that my camera, a Canon Powershot SX100 IS which I bought in Japan in July/August 2008, has a lot more functionality that I realised. I’ve started learning how to use it better and that largely includes playing around with many of the manual or semi-automated settings which I have pretty much skipped over since I first got the camera. Granted the camera isn’t exactly a digital SLR camera but I have seen a lot of really great photos taken with this camera and compared to what I have been taking lately, I have a lot of room for improvement with this camera alone.

Filing with some colour play-1

Aside from re-introducing myself to f-stops, shutter speeds, ISOs and other technical aspects of photography, I’ve also been thinking quite a bit about the software I use to process my photos. I’ve been using iPhoto ’09 as my primary photo management and editing software for a while now and recently started playing around with Picasa 3 which is pretty good at a lot of things iPhoto still struggles with (including face recognition, aspects of photo editing and how it presents images and their metadata). I have seriously considered ditching iPhoto in favour of Picasa (I still am) but I’ve decided on iPhoto as my primary application and Picasa for ancillary stuff for now mainly because I have a tendency to act on software choices impulsively and regret it later.

I thought I’d also try out some of the more specialised applications available so I’ve just downloaded trial versions of both Lightroom 2 and Aperture 2 to test out. I haven’t a clue which one is best and I am sure it will be a pretty spirited debate to boot.

I’d love to have a digital SLR but I reckon that until I am using my compact camera about as well as it can be used, a DSLR will largely be wasted on me. I am pretty excited to be getting back into photography. I was really passionate about it when I was a teenager and I’ve always enjoyed taking photos. I just haven’t paid much attention to the technical aspects for over a decade and I’d like to change that. A couple people have started their own Project 365 which involves taking a photo a day for a year (one photographer doing this is Jeanette Verster who apparently really worked on her technique the first time she did this and she takes awesome photos).

I am not even going to compare myself to photographers like Jeanette but I do want to learn to take even better photos with what I have. I do love taking photos, even if that gets me into a bit of trouble at times, and maybe doing my own version of Project 365, together with learning more of the technical stuff, will help me get better.

I just think about how envious I feel when someone whips out a DSLR at an event or social function … that inspires me to take better photos and maybe even get myself a DSLR when I am all grown up.

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