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Photographer's Ten Commandments

DSLR camera hanging from a wooden post

1. Thou shalt not stop learning. Practice, practice, practice, as the more you learn, the less you realise you know.

2. Thou shalt learn the rules of composition, the exposure triangle, etc. Learn it inside out....then move on to the 3rd commandment!

3. Thou shalt break the rules. Just not all the time! The rule of thirds, correct exposure etc. Rules are meant to be broken. Break them!

4. Thou shalt know your equipment. Get comfortable with your camera, and it's settings. Get off those auto modes, and learn what everything does.

5. Thou shalt try new things. Not only try new things, but try them often! Break the rules (see the 2nd commandment). Try new techniques and different angles. Take the same photo in landscape and portrait orientation, and then again from different angles, above, below, breaking and following the composition rules. Who knows, one of those rule breaker shots may well turn out to be one of your best photographs.

DSLR camera on a jetty

6. Thou shalt mimic those who inspire you. Mimicking is great, but copying is a no-no. I regularly try to mimic photographers whose work I love. I never pass it off as my own. But I try to replicate as close as possible what they did. The day I achieve this and do well at it, will be the day I can abandon the 4th commandment! Those attempts either get deleted, or stay in my personal collection to compare to later attempts. In trying to replicate anothers style, you're learning new things, often out of your comfort zone!

7. Thou shalt get your priorities straight. You can buy the most expensive camera gear out there, but the most important thing is your knowledge in how to use it. Work on that first. Better gear can be bought in time - I should really take more heed of this one! This is a case of do as I say, and not as I do!

8. Thou shalt not try too hard. The difficult things will get easier. Have fun, and practice, practice, practice. The rest will come, I promise!

9. Thou shalt carry your camera everywhere. Well, ok, a mobile phone with decent camera at the minimum. If you can squeeze a compact into your already full handbag, pocket (not to mention budget), even better. Where possible, of course, take your main camera, and the lenses you're most likely to use. But don't forget, any camera is better than none!

10. Thou shalt have fun! Last, but not least!

Charlotte van Putten, Photographer
Kindly taken by my husband

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