Go Out and Shoot!


flickr stream. We’ve included some of his images below also. Here’s his tip.

My one and only tip to improve as a photographer would be to GO OUT and SHOOT!

For the earlier part of my venture into the photography hobby, I spent most of my time developing myself indoors. Reading articles, magazines, forums, RRS feeds and blogs. That’s not BAD and I strongly suggest continuing to read and grow in your knowledge of the craft, but the only TRUE way to improve is to put everything we learn and read into PRACTICE. Go out and shoot!

Disregard all fear of what people will think of you as you snap away on the street or at your favorite venue or park. “Oh what a tourist!”, “That camera’s not even that great”, “That looks like a cheap kit lens”, etc. Don’t let others or the price/quality of your gear set limitations on you! We all have to start somewhere.

I’ve read it numerous times here on the DPS forums and elsewhere. It’s not the quality or price of the camera, but the photographer BEHIND the camera that makes or breaks an image. The only way we can improve our photography is to practice and shoot a lot, not by breaking the bank and buying the latest and greatest.

I’m an introvert by nature, so going out and shooting random people, street life, and the like is NOT my forte. I get pretty intimidated when people start staring at me while I take pictures, and self-conscious. On a recent drive, I decided that I need to just break out of my comfort zone. I need to GO OUT and SHOOT. I stopped my car and had the experience of my lifetime. I ended up chatting it up with a few homeless men and bought them a meal in exchange for some pictures and conversation.

All of the research I did online definitely helped in me choosing to put my 50 f/1.8 on and shooting at the correct aperture without chimping, but only by putting it all into practice can I see what all that research and reading was about.




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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

  • oddoutlet

    This was a cool and encouraging article!! You are so right and just getting out there cos you just never know what you’ll miss out on if you don’t. Practise makes almost perfect after all!

  • BRAVO!!!!!

    Truer words have never been spoken. So often people ask how to become a photographer, and this is exactly the advice I give them. As you shoot critique your photos and figure out how to do it better next time. As you do your GOPR (Good Ones Per Roll) will increast.

  • It is very correct.Just like learning to swim.You can’t learn to swim till you get in to water.

  • Matt

    These are fantastic photos. Thanks. This will give me courage even though I am an extrovert and start conversations in elevators. I have a 50/1.8 also and will start using it more. Thanks again.

  • Very true.
    Keep besides your embarrassment, go out get shooting.
    I follow this already & think it’s really good to get practical knowledge. Read something online & practise it in the real world. You will get better & better with time.

  • Mei-Ling

    Thanks for the inspiration! I guess we all feel basically the same when starting out! I just needed to read this today! :o)

  • Just Keep Shooting. More shooting also helps you understand the workings of your camera better unless you shoot on auto.
    Good Luck

  • Good article and useful

Some Older Comments

  • lowepro camera backpack pro runner 200 aw August 16, 2011 01:18 am

    Good article and useful

  • photojoe May 23, 2009 04:14 am

    Just Keep Shooting. More shooting also helps you understand the workings of your camera better unless you shoot on auto.
    Good Luck

  • Mei-Ling May 23, 2009 01:33 am

    Thanks for the inspiration! I guess we all feel basically the same when starting out! I just needed to read this today! :o)

  • Gaurav Prabhu May 23, 2009 01:12 am

    Very true.
    Keep besides your embarrassment, go out get shooting.
    I follow this already & think it's really good to get practical knowledge. Read something online & practise it in the real world. You will get better & better with time.

  • Matt May 22, 2009 02:15 am

    These are fantastic photos. Thanks. This will give me courage even though I am an extrovert and start conversations in elevators. I have a 50/1.8 also and will start using it more. Thanks again.

  • Terence Jayatilleke May 2, 2009 07:04 pm

    It is very correct.Just like learning to swim.You can't learn to swim till you get in to water.

  • Shane May 1, 2009 03:32 am


    Truer words have never been spoken. So often people ask how to become a photographer, and this is exactly the advice I give them. As you shoot critique your photos and figure out how to do it better next time. As you do your GOPR (Good Ones Per Roll) will increast.

  • oddoutlet April 27, 2009 10:33 am

    This was a cool and encouraging article!! You are so right and just getting out there cos you just never know what you'll miss out on if you don't. Practise makes almost perfect after all!

  • Photojoe April 26, 2009 08:43 pm

    Not only should you shoot, shoot, shoot. You should remember to to bring everything you need to get the correct picture. Yesterday I found a bald eagle sitting in a tree at least 1/4 of a mile away. I did have my 70-300 tele but, it fell a little short. The pictures would have been much better if I had remembered my 2X converter. Plan for the unexpected.

  • julia April 25, 2009 10:17 pm

    I thought I was the only who was self conscious about taking pictures (or embarrassed). I am not a shy person in general, but I am when it comes to taking pictures. It helps a great deal to know others go through the same anxieties.... perhaps it is natural for some of us to experiences these feelings.

  • Paul April 25, 2009 09:59 pm

    Tim said "I don’t think it matters what mode you shoot in as long as you are purposeful in what you do."

    Best line on the thread.

  • Dawnwithacamera April 25, 2009 08:53 am

    Since I have a 30 mile commute to work, I have tried leaving a little early and taking my camera (Canon XSi) along for the ride. I have stopped a few times and taken pictures of the sunrises, but alway feel funny pulling off along side the road. I usually only will do it, if there is no one around when I want to stop. I also have issues with having to lug a briefcase, purse and camera case into work, and back home again. But I am telling myself, now that the weather is better, I have to get out and go on a camera hike.

  • joel April 25, 2009 06:03 am

    Thanks Paul - good expression. Chimping is a bad habit...

    You do have to just shoot regardless of what gear you have. I once pulled over because I saw an interesting landscape, snapped it with a canon elf. A few years later i read up on HDR techniques and manually created two separate exposures (i know, i know not real hdr) and ended up with a nice result:


    All because I thought what the hell...

  • Tim April 25, 2009 06:03 am

    @ tony & Eric Mesa

    I don't think it matters what mode you shoot in as long as you are purposeful in what you do.
    Personally, I shoot in M because I like to see consistency among my images.
    When shooting in Aperture or Shutter priority, your meter is prone to change and under/over expose if your scene changes even a bit. (i.e. a little more sky showing than the ground will make the meter underexpose maybe 1/3 stop) - I know it depends on metering mode, etc.

    That's the point of the article....you need to practice, shoot, and learn your camera. Know which metering & shooting modes to use, what works, what doesn't, what'll be consistent, what'll give you the best results.

    If while shooting you realize that your camera ALWAYS underexposes, set a +.3/.7 exposure compensation and you're good to go next time you go out and shoot.

    You can only learn these things by shooting, not by reading so get out there! =)

  • Man In Black AZ April 25, 2009 03:31 am

    The camera is only a tool to make a permeant record of your vision. Like Eric Mesa I say use every mode setting you have and learn what you like about the results. For sports with fast action use JPEG and Shutter priority, Raw takes to long to process you miss good action. The best way to learn your camera is take the USER GUIDE and use every shooting mode. For pure learning somedays I will only use one; priority, shutter or aperture even the "P" program setting. Auto is different then program. Also play with the light balance setting try them all. The G-10 has 22 presets plus 3 creative you set. Next try different metering mode or setting. Like all research only use ONE mode change at a time to see the effect. Then try pairs or more after you know the base changes. If you are not on a paid assignment try to be creative. I have the ISO set to 200 when the camera in in my Lowepro belt hip case. I use the D-Pods 50 Camera Pouch with velcro everyday and sometimes even in quite place but open very slow as is does have a loud sound level that everyone turns in a church, this one has space for extra battery and cards. I use the zipper D-RES 10 AW this one for quite places, With to ISO set if I happen on a fast moving event [ Like a Fire or vehicle crash] I can set camera to AUTO or "P" and record some images without thinking, then as I calm down and see the event unfolding I can change mode to what I want to create. Do not play safe go create and enjoy but most important have fun.

  • Eric Mesa April 24, 2009 09:53 pm

    @tony - don't be a snob about manual. I used to shoot in all manual and then I realized that in certain situations that will cause you to miss tons of shots as you keep adjusting to have the right exposure. Sometimes, say photography of children it's better to put the camera into an auto mode. It doesn't have to be full-on auto like M, but shutter speed or aperture priority can be very helpful. I used to think like you that the best photographers only use manual, but then I read a bunch of magazine articles where they interviewed famous photograhers and a lot of them use auto modes to make sure they can get the shot.

  • RJ April 24, 2009 03:06 pm

    I totally agree. I read a lot of articles from newbies having concerns about the right lens. Yes, we should all go out and shoot and shoot and learn by being in the places and moments that need to be phtotgraphed. Appreciate the camera we have.

  • Potojoe April 24, 2009 10:23 am

    I totally agree to just go out and shoot, all the time, however, something that I read a while ago about just shooting is that 1. Use your highest resolution setting and shoot as "many" pictures as you can. You can always delete the pictures you do not want, however, if you take several photos of each subject you will have a choice of "your" best photo. Digital photography is basically cheap as you can delete as many pictures as you want and you are only shootng what evr your card can hold so get as large a card as you can. I have been doing this for three years now and enjoy seeing all of my opportunities. On my average one week vacation depending on the destination I could shoot 1000 to 1500 photos. Good shooting...

  • Paul April 24, 2009 08:05 am

    Chimping = Check every shot you take on the LCD. Often used in a derogatory manner - aimed at amatuer snappers.

  • joel April 24, 2009 07:17 am

    What does "chimping" mean? I am sensitive about apes btw (kidding)... great article.

    I did a drive of by of a relatively new, yet very large and impressive Hindu Temple here in Toronto. After circling the building a few times nervously I just starting shooting. Eventually someone came out, and I thought I was finished. Turns out it was the public relations manager for the Temple. HE was nervous because I looked professional (I am getting there but a tripod helps with the 'look') but asked me questions, then gave me a free tour of the premises, even through closed areas inside, and I am now on the regular rotation of special events photographers. Assuming of course that they like the photos from today!!!

    So yeah, good advice. Thanks.

    But seriously, what does chimping mean?

  • Kenneth Hyam April 24, 2009 07:16 am

    Terrific post Darren. I like the photos and the advice. Thought provoking and inspiring.

  • Barb April 24, 2009 07:05 am

    I agree with shoot, shoot, and shoot some more. I always have a camera with me. I have been know to pull off the road while driving just because I saw a cool tree or whatever that I wanted to photograph. It drives my husband crazy but he puts up with it. I find that almost all people don't care if you photograph them and what they are doing. In fact a lot of them love it. It costs nothing to shoot digital and you learn your camera so well it's like part of your arm. Some of my best work has been while I was out doing something else and saw something I thought would be cool to photograph.

  • Tony April 24, 2009 06:34 am

    I love this post! I am brand new to photography, well both me and my finace are, I bought her a Nikon D60 for Christmas and now I have a D80. We started a photography class about a month ago, and to date the best learning experince has been just going out and taking pics. We love being able to take pictures now in Manual mode, as a matter of fact, we attended a concert the other night and we shot in M all night, but a lady behind us, with an even bigger NIKON camera, shot the whole night in Auto, before taking classes this would have not been noticed, but it drove us both nuts the whole evening. I tell people all the time, the great thing about digital photograpy, you can take all the pics you want, download them and start over and learn each time you do. Being able to download my work and see a differance when I change settings is amazing, like going to a higher F stop and changing my DOF. So I agee, Go Out and Shoot!

    Take care


  • Paul April 24, 2009 04:40 am


    Three very excellent images there. Love them.

    Good post too.

    All the best.

  • ruy gatto April 24, 2009 04:24 am

    Just my first newsletter received and the topic fits with my profile. I know I must be a more frequent shooter and this article has inspired me. Thanks and greetings from São Paulo, Brazil.

  • rob April 24, 2009 03:24 am

    Thanks for the tip and pep talk. I am going to shoot more and experiment more. I to are one of those many that read a subject to death and do little with the knowledge, what a waste IT ENDS TO DAY. Best tip I have read on dps and there are brillant tips. But this one is the best.

  • Man In Black AZ April 24, 2009 02:45 am

    The camera is only a tool to make a permeant record of your vision. Your vision functions 24/7 now by getting the camera in front of your eye you focus vision from 180 degrees to as narrow as one degree. You are all lucky to have digital as you recording media not hard film with the limit of one sheet of 4x5 or 36 images per roll of 35 mm. I started over 60 years ago with a pin-hole camera and one 2x3 inch sheet of film it took time to see the result of my image. Today I shoot RAW using the Canon G-10 on my right hip even in the house or office and record one to 500 or more images per day. Yesterday I walked into a upper class shopping center with a waterfall took 12 images using shutter speed of 2 seconds up to 500th of a second got one keeper but learned what each speed did with moving water and saw the image now. Also now in the back country I have a base for vision of moving water. After Apple One to One class walking back to vehicle the light was just right to record stone wall texture used micro or flower setting got fine details of the stone face now have background for title of slideshow or movie. One important note is develop a routine of getting you images on to hard drive same day or next and clear camera memory so you have max storage for images next day. In Arizona when it is over 105 degrees I work on my images and only record early morning or sunset hours great light and cooler You can work with images on the hard drive anytime even a year or so later. The key for beginners is just look through the camera at the world around you and record what you think is worth having a permeant record. If it an outside object go back and record at various times of year or lighting. Just shoot. Do not care about others around you. Sometimes I use a $10 camera and just listen to the negative remarks till they see the image I recorded. It can be fun. Every image does not have to be perfect the goof sometimes is better than the planned. I use slow shutter speeds all the time, sometimes I forget to reset to my normal range so have movement streaks that result with an art motion painting effect. Best of luck to you all and just keep shooting and enjoy.

  • Calvin April 24, 2009 02:03 am

    One thing I struggle with is the fear of what people are thinking of me. And you are definitely right about just going out to shoot. I don't know, however, if I would have the guts to do what you did when you exchanged a meal for pictures. I will work on it though, thanks for the tips! :)

  • Antoine Lovell April 23, 2009 04:06 am

    Couldn't have said it better myself. I too suffer from that self-conscious state of what others may think about me and what I'm doing. I often have to talk myself into the "Go out and Shoot" mode. Once I'm out with camera in hand, it becomes, are they going to freak out because they see a camera? It is a real dilemma sometimes and I end up missing out or losing a lot of good shots.
    Sometimes people just walk up to me and go on about how a camera captures the soul and they share their myths about that. Others just walk by grumbling nastiness and such and then I just pack up and move on. Sometimes I just can't take it. I definitely don't get it. Being an introvert just gets in the way. Then I'm back into convincing myself to just "Go Out and Shoot!"
    Consciousness aside, I would not suffice it to say that you are correct. I would put a stamp of approval on it! We have to learn to get over that self-conscious state and get out there and shoot!
    P.S. Love those pictures, man. They are fantastic!

  • MeiTeng April 22, 2009 12:32 pm

    Tim I have a question with regards to photo #2. Where do you focus when you have two subjects on either side to ensure both look sharp and crisp in the photo? Sometimes, I have a problem with this kind of composition where only one appears to be in focus.

  • Evan April 22, 2009 07:57 am

    "The challenge of being a photographer is making every photo spectacular, and while that’s difficult it’s just practice."

    um what



  • Dawn @ My Home Sweet Home April 22, 2009 05:15 am

    I needed this. I have a tendency to become a self-conscious photographer, afraid I don't know what I'm doing and will look like it, too. Thanks!

  • MachineDog April 22, 2009 12:29 am

    Anyone can take good pictures some of the time, that's the stage I'm at. Out of around 20 pictures I might find one and say woah that's pretty cool. The challenge of being a photographer is making every photo spectacular, and while that's difficult it's just practice.

  • Regina April 22, 2009 12:05 am

    I needed this article! So many times I look at blogs and see what others are doing and how they are just fabulous photographers and tell myself , "your alright". I need to be reminded that I am more than that and go out and explore and practice more and enjoy what I love to do photograph things and people.

  • Eric Mesa April 21, 2009 11:33 pm

    Ilan - that's why I'm getting the G10 soon! I love RAW and didn't want to give it up, but the SLR is impractical at times.

    timkoo - awesome article

    Everyone else - one great way to get yourself to go out and shoot is to join one of the 365 groups on flickr and post a picture every day. I had started doing that on my own before discovering the 365 group based on a writer friend of mine who made a point of writing every single day to improve his writing. Another thing you could do is to give yourself a project - green things, my house, macro - and work towards that every day.

  • Robert April 21, 2009 05:56 pm

    This is probably the best advice that any photographer should give/use everyday! I'm guilty of not always having my camera around all the time, missing several chances for great shots all the time! Granted, my camera isn't a high-end DSLR like many have ( I use a Kodak Z812 IS), but it does well enough for me.

    I know I've had several people snigger at me behind my back as I walk around and take photos (when I get the chance to!), mainly because my camera isn't high-end, but I remember what a friend of mine said: the camera captures the pictures, but the photographers' eyes and heart make the pictures!

  • Tim April 21, 2009 05:13 pm

    Thanks for all the support and comments!
    So thankful to DPS for selecting me as the runner-up for the competition. Glad I could share just a little insight.

    @machinedog - a 50/1.8 was used for these images.

    Just go and do it. Don't be concerned about lenses, technique, gear, how you look. It's how we practice. It's how we improve. It's how we learn everything. It's how I've come to develop myself. :)

    Thanks for all the questions as well. Feel free to PM me on the forums or e-mail me if you have any other questions.

  • MachineDog April 21, 2009 03:42 pm

    Those look to be some incredibly shallow DOF lenses, what lenses did you use in those photos?

  • MeiTeng April 21, 2009 11:29 am

    Great writeup by Tim. It's so true that we all have to start somewhere and it has been said so often that it's not about the camera but the person behind the camera that makes or breaks an image.

  • Vilmis April 21, 2009 09:35 am

    Even if you can't bring your DSLR with you everyday, then so many cell phones have good enough photo functions for taking snapshots, there is no excuse not to use it. May be you won't be able to make large prints from these pictures, but it is perfect for practise as there are so many great moments around you everyday which you would love to snap.

  • Lenslicker April 21, 2009 08:22 am

    Every once in a while, I need to be reminded or remind myself of this. Tutorials are great, but nothing teaches you faster than the real world!

  • Emil Avasilichioaiei April 21, 2009 07:50 am

    I completely agree!! Shooting a lot is the only thing that really matters in photography.
    Amazing feeling in the last photo. Not only you took some cool photos, also you made some people happy. And that's the best thing you can do in life.

  • Teewinot April 21, 2009 07:05 am

    Indeed, I'm often afraid to lug my camera with me everywhere but I've certainly been convinced by this post! Thanks for the encouragement.

  • Abby April 21, 2009 05:36 am

    Definitely the best advice I've ever read on DPS. Thank you!

  • dan April 21, 2009 05:23 am

    Ilan: I used to think lugging my kit around was too much of a hassle but then when I managed to trash my backpack I started using my Lowepro camera/laptop rucksack as my main day-bag. There are numerous models out but my day-to-day bag is the compudaypack which has room for a laptop, SLR with normal lens attached, 4 extra lenses or flashes, + 2-3 inches of filters or cables or whatever, and then the normal day-bag bit which you access separately. If I'm not carrying around my macbook pro with me then it really isn't that heavy and it means you can fit as much gear as you might need day-to-day. For instance whenever I go out I have my 40D without the grip, 50/1.4, 100/2.8 and 430ex flash and sigma 10-20 and it means I can shoot whenever I like.

  • Larry April 21, 2009 05:17 am

    Actually this is step one of a closed feedback loop. Shoot, process, evaluate, repeat.

    I've been forcing myself to do some serious hands-on photography at least twice a week. It allows you to exercise all those blogs you've been reading, it develops your eye, and improves your technique. When things go wrong (more than I would care to admit, you learn the cause & how to avoid it in the future.) Not to mention, the harder I work, the luckier I become.

  • Macro Photography April 21, 2009 05:04 am

    I also would love some camera care tips.

  • ricardo lumpas April 21, 2009 02:48 am

    Thanks for this article. I always hesitate to bring my camera with me every time I go out and really spend more time reading Internet articles about photography because I am new to digital photography. Next time, I will go out and shoot.

    I need help on camera care tips. Maybe you can post another article on this topic. I am new to this forum maybe you can post some links to threads on the topic. Thanks.

  • Scott Weimer April 21, 2009 02:06 am

    Yep...it really is that simple!

  • Teresa April 21, 2009 01:58 am

    I'm really glad I found this site - thank you for such wonderfully informative posts! I only recently stumbled across it because I haven't had too much time for web surfing.

    I picked up photography as a hobby less than a year ago. I am a huge reader - I read all the time, but I only learn something if I do it. This applies to anything I read from computers, to cameras, to exercise, to... you name it. So I am in complete agreement with the "just do it" prodding.

    One thing I tend to forget - and often kick myself for it - is the camera on my phone. It may not take the best or sharpest pictures, but it does take pictures. If you have a camera phone (not everyone does because some work places don't allow it), use it to work on composition and possibly shots where the very fact that the camera is less sharp adds to the picture itself.

    Also, I've just picked up our old Minolta Dimage S404 - which is far more tricky to work with than my Nikon D80! (they have improved interfaces tremendously over the years) I am having some fun trying to learn the idiosyncrasies as it was my husband's first digital camera and I never used it. For a more modern p&s I'm looking at the Canon G10 for a purse camera.

    Now if only I could get someone else to fiddle with the post processing I'd be very happy. Since that won't happen, it does cut into how much I shoot. I guess it's always something.

  • Carlos April 21, 2009 01:41 am

    I empathize a lot with your article. From your feelings while shooting people to the central idea, go out and shoot. Lately, because I am a teacher, as well an amateur photographer, I am shooting any time one special act take place in my school. I try to lost my... embarrassment and, this is the best, I enjoy a lot and people thanks me for pictures.

  • T.O. April 21, 2009 01:26 am

    Thanks for the tip! This article fits my current situation perfectly. I am new to photography and have been reading/learning all I can. However, I have not gotten out and actually tested the stuff I've learned (or think I have learned). Not being a "people person" can make it a bit intimidating to go out with the camera and have confidence and comfort. I agree, it's just a matter of getting out of the car and doing it. Once your out there you wonder why you were apprehensive in the first place.

  • Ilan April 21, 2009 01:08 am

    Forgot to add an example - Taken on my way to the train station, 100% snap shot using GX200 - http://www.ilanbresler.com/2009/03/night-shift.html

  • ChrisBatDell April 21, 2009 01:08 am

    Agreed.. I'm guilty as well.

    And my other fail is that I don't consistently pull my photos from my camera for review or sharing. So when I do take shots.. I tend to leave them on the camera for days at a time, before looking at them in high quality. =(

  • Ilan April 21, 2009 01:06 am

    My tip that might help you GO OUT and SHOOT! - I work in an office. I use the train to go to work and come back home. I sit in a cubicle. I have about 30-60 minutes when I go out for lunch.
    All this introduction is to explain why it's not logical for me to take my bulky (D80) DSLR everyday to work. It's just too much hassle.

    My tip - Get one of those "high end" pocket cameras. Canon G10, Ricoh GX200, Panasonic LX3 etc.
    They are small. They are "hidden". They are compact and you can't excuse yourself for not taking them when you go out to work.
    My photography drastically changed since I bought one (GX200 - Raw support and 24mm wide angle - perfect for street photography) - I shoot everyday now, on the train, while eating, while waiting for the green light and all that is in my pocket the moment I enter the office.

    Good luck and GO OUT and SHOOT!

  • LisaNewton April 21, 2009 01:05 am

    Great tip, Timkoo. It's amazing what just getting out and shooting will do for a growing photographer. I recently had an opportunity talk to an individual who was just doing his job of helping prevent LA gridlock. What a thankless job, but he loved it.


  • Lee Milthorpe April 21, 2009 12:57 am

    A really obvious tip, but one that amazingly seems to get overlooked all the time. People spend so much time reading tips and tutorials but never get out and actually put what they have learned into practice. I'm guilty of this far too much too!

  • Guillaume Lemoine April 21, 2009 12:49 am

    Very true!
    I could not agree more and I feel like you on the conciousness about what others may think.
    Very well put in a few but perfectly chosen words.



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