For most of us up here in the Northern hemisphere the summer is over and we're back to work, school, and the regular routine. Once the first day of school pics are taken it's easy to put down the camera and forget about photography only to remember it's existence when Halloween rolls around. But wait! Don't do that! Practice makes perfect (or at least slightly improved) and that's as true for photography as anything else. So keep the camera out and use these tips to keep your eyes in shape over the coming months. That way there'll be no dust to shake off when the festive season rolls around.
1. Get down on your knees or up on a chair or really anywhere that gives you a different perspective of something you've seen a million times. I have a friend who gets up on the roof of her house once each season and photographs her family standing in the garden looking up at her. It gives a different perspective of the garden and makes a great portrait.
2. Get in close and practice getting some beautiful bokeh. Click here for our easy to follow guide to bokeh. Mastering skills like this now means you'll be ready to take gorgeous shots when that time of year we know is coming but don't want to mention just yet arrives!
3. Become a nature photographer...just for a while! Autumn often provides spectacular opportunities to capture beautiful nature scenes without much effort. It's a time of gorgeous colours and the days are shorter and light less bright so you don't have to be up at 4am to photograph a sunrise. Even the light in the middle of the day can be soft and gentle at this time of year and as we all know light is key to good photography!
4. Take your camera with you, to work, to school, to the grocery store. There are some fantastic shots to be had in the places you visit everyday but you won't get them if the camera isn't with you! Once you're armed with the right equipment look around you and see what catches your eye. Then photograph it. That's it. It's that simple. Remember every shot doesn't have to be a masterpiece, sometimes just documenting the everyday is worth it, and it's all good practice!
5. Join a local camera club or an online photography group. Your family and friends may profess enormous interest in your photography when your pictures are of them on holiday or their beloved granddaughter's first day of school but the interest will likely dwindle when they or someone they love isn't centre stage. Get your encouragement elsewhere! Local camera clubs are a great way to show off your shots and mix with other photographers who are of a similar skill level. Many clubs also get pros to come in and run workshops or give talks on improving your photography.
6. Re-edit. As the colder weather starts to hit you may be less inclined to get out and shoot (though really you shouldn't let that stop you!), try some editing instead. Go back and edit photos you took 6 months or a year ago. You may well be surprised by how much your style's changed or even how much you've improved since then. Pick one new editing technique you want to learn and take the time to master it properly.