Can shooting like an ‘old school’ photographer improve your images?


Digital photography is a wonderful tool that’s made taking great images relatively easy for anyone who’s willing to invest a little time learning the basics. The low cost of memory cards and the fact that the photos we store on them are just ‘1s and 0s’ removes much of the anxiety old-school film photographers had about wasting their shots.


However, you may find yourself becoming ‘click happy’ instead of really thinking about how you shoot, so this week we’re going to explore some tips from the old school days that might make you a more thoughtful photographer.


Old School Photos

Cover your LCD screen


Try going for a photo walk with some masking tape stuck over the LCD screen on the back of your camera. Of course, this only works if your camera has a viewfinder, but by doing this you’ll find yourself engaging in the moment rather than obsessively checking the screen all the time. It’s a great training tool for portrait photographers to prevent them from spending more time looking (and fretting over) the images on the back of the camera than they do engaging with the sitter.


Limit your shots


Amateur photographers in the film days would be very careful to conserve this precious commodity when shooting. After all, film and development costs were the biggest expense they had, so it made sense to develop a more circumspect approach to photography. You can mimic this mindset by either setting a limit to the number of images you shoot in a session, or digging out some older and smaller memory cards that do this naturally. Try to limit yourself to the equivalent of a couple of rolls of film – about 72 shots – and see if it makes you more thoughtful before you pull the trigger.

Old school camera

Shoot in manual


You’ll hear all sorts of opinions on the merits of shooting in manual over one of the more assisted modes, but, in our opinion, they’re all equally valid and have their place. The advantage manual mode has is that it forces you to understand and experiment with the exposure triangle – how ISO, shutter speed and aperture work together to create the exposure you’re looking for. Spending some time solely in manual mode will teach you loads about how to control your images – especially in extreme light conditions. Do not fear manual mode!


We hope that you try out these simple tips to make you a more thoughtful photographer, and don’t forget to send your best shots to us to print onto canvas for you. There’s nothing better for encouraging you to shoot than seeing your great photos on the wall!