Keep a Photography Journal

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Sometimes when Lisa and I are out, I would get this great idea for a photograph that I would like to try out but more often than not, I’d forget it before we even get home. Fed up, I decided to start a photography journal.

Lisa wanted to join me and got a Moleskine for it since she prefers writing on those. I got a local one that’s similarly made but bound in real leather. The construction is not as sturdy but it’s cheaper so it works for me. But enough about notebooks and back to the topic at hand.

It’s only been a few days but I’ve written a quite a few things in it already. Here are some of things I’ve written in mine:

1. Ways to Improve

I selected some of my shots that I think could be improved in some way. I then shrunk them down in Photoshop so I could cram as many photos as I can in a 4R print. I’d print them out and cut them up, and then stick them on the notebook. (Lisa likes to say I’m scrapbooking, so I hum the theme to The Godfather while doing this to feel more manly.) Beside the images, I write down what could have made the photo better.

2. Things to Try Out

Whenever I’m going through the different blogs and websites, I always get inspired to try out other photographers’ techniques to see if I can somehow learn from them and modify them to make them my own. I sketch the photo that I liked and jot down the EXIF data and lighting information for future reference.

3. Things to Remember

Ever been to place that’s so beautiful that you wish you had your camera with you? We don’t always lug our cameras around so this happens to me more often than I’d like. I write down the best spot and time to take photos there.

When I take a shot that I particularly like, I also write down the details like light placement and intensity, time of day, location, and other things that I can’t see in the EXIF file.

4. Reference

You could also write down some basic information on it so you can have it handy when you’re out on a shoot. In my notebook, I’ve written down a chart that has the color temperature of different light sources such as tungsten, fluorescent, shade, etc. You can write down full, one half and one third stops for both aperture and shutter speed if you’re just starting to shoot in manual mode.

Having a handy resource like this will help you avoid past mistakes you’ve made and remind you of the new things that you can try. Before you know it, everything will start to become second nature and you’re well on your way to improving your photography.

Somewhat Related Reading: How Tough is Your Digital SLR?

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