When asked if I include photography in my list of services as a freelancer, I usually sheepishly explain that although I will shoot photos to go with articles, I would never market myself as a photographer. I know a lot of real photographers; and I am but an amateur in comparison.
Even as a hobbyist, though, I have been trying to improve my skills since returning to photography nearly two years ago. This blog post has been on my mind for the past few months — ever since I watched an episode of The Grid about becoming a better photographer in 2013. Like most (if not all) journalism students, I had some formal photography and Photoshop training in college, but that’s only enough to graduate as a competent news photographer (with still a lot to learn).
That episode inspired me to start focusing this year and actually think about how I can improve my photography. The first thing Scott Kelby said is that everybody interested in improving has to decide what kind of photographer they want to be. You can’t be an expert in every photography style, and that’s the truth. The wedding photographer may make a piss-poor sports photographer, as an example.
So I’ve been thinking a lot about what I enjoy shooting and what I would like to improve on. In looking back over my photos on Facebook, for instance, I find I take a lot of pictures of animals and the outdoors. Those are things I really enjoy, and as photography goes, that’s where I would really like to focus — capturing the spirit of both pets and wildlife, as well as capturing the beauty of the natural world (from landscapes to aurora shots).
Volunteering at the Fort Smith Animal Shelter provides the opportunity to work with dogs and cats, and being so near to Wood Buffalo National Park helps me get access to a variety of wildlife.
This is only a first step, of course. There is a lot to do to improve my photography in these areas. I think I’ve already improved a little bit, though. Here’s one of my favourite recent shots from the FSAS. This is Moose:
I really wanted to capture him “behind bars,” so to speak. I think I succeeded.