Top Ten Tips – by Adrian Pym

In the run up to the closing date of our competition on Friday 8th March, I’ve put together my top ten tips..

One of my favourite photographer quotes is by Henri Cartier-Bresson

It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera….they are made with the eye, heart and head

I am not a technical photographer and I don’t understand all the different things that my Nikon DSLR is capable of doing.  So what!  I am a photographer because like it, and I don’t have to make a living from it, it’s a hobby.

However, in an attempt to improve my photographic output, I have read various blogs, books and “top tips” and last year put my images out there for all to critique on my photoblog.  The latter has been by far the best way of learning!

My top ten tips would be:-

  1.  Always shoot in RAW. Always.
  2. Worry less about technical aspects and focus more on compositional aspects of photography.
  3. The more photos you take, the better you get.
  4. Don’t be afraid to take several photos of the same scene at different exposures, angles, or apertures.
  5. A good photo shouldn’t require explanation (although background information often adds to an image).
  6. You will find the best photo opportunities in the least likely situations.
  7. You can’t “Photoshop” bad images into good ones.
  8. Learn how to read a histogram.
  9. A noisy photo is better than a blurry one.
  10. Making your photos black and white doesn’t automatically make them “Fine Art”

And finally an image that has nothing to do with the current Spring theme, it was taken in mid August in the heat of summer.  It is also my favourite (so far) attempt at street photography.

The Shade Tree

Adrian Pym

Remeber, we have a couple of great prizes on offer in The Digital Lightroom Photo Competition – A copy of Topaz Black and White Effects for the winner and a copy of Topaz Adjust  for the runner up so

Send your entries to on the theme of Spring by Friday 8th March and include ‘Photo Submission’ in the subject field.  It would be useful if you titled your photo, and included your name along with the title.



Filed under Photography, Tips & Tricks, Uncategorized

19 responses to “Top Ten Tips – by Adrian Pym

  1. victoriaaphotography

    Hmmmm…..don’t know about the tip in always shooting in Raw. When you take hundreds of images in the one afternoon like I often do, one doesn’t have the time or energy to review and/or edit RAW, unless you’re a professional photographer who makes money from photography or an amateur who likes editing.

  2. Thanks, Adrian – excellent tips. They remind me to focus my head as well as my lens before I snap.
    and what a great photo – feels like I’m listening in 🙂

  3. Wonderful photo, Adrian. Your tips are very interesting, even though I’m not a serious photographer, and have no idea what what RAW is. or a noisy photo 🙂 I agree that that some of the best photo opportunities can be found in very unlikely places. Thanks for sharing your tips.

  4. This is such a great list, Adrian. For most amateurs, like myself, if we were to take these ideas of yours and run with them, we would make far better images and enjoy the ourselves more in the process.
    I use all of these, but numbers 6, 7, and 10 are the ones that I’ve most recently learned.

  5. Una Vez Más Una Gran Fotografía, Buen Trabajo En B&N… Un Saludo.

  6. Rule #10 and your choice of photo…… a bit of irony there? I would honestly like to see the color of the leaves and the bark and what the men were wearing. I just don’t get this trend to push to black and white.

  7. Hi Adrian – looks like you’ve generated a bit of healthy debate with tips 1 and 10, judging by a couple of the comments above….

  8. Great post – and I would add to #2, worry less about technique and think more about why THIS shot, what do YOU love here, and how do you feel about it? There are too many photographs out there of the same thing, done the same way that are technically correct but emotionally empty. With the rapid development of equipment, people want to next thing that will make their photo look like one they saw in a magazine, but without the heart, it’s hard to get there. (And I’m a far way off myself!)

  9. Good tips, Adrian – some for the more ‘serious’ photographers out there and some for those of us just getting our feet wet.

  10. Ian

    great post, Tip 9 is an absolute gem

  11. I agree with you on all counts. Raw, Raw, Raw, and Practice, Practice, Practice!!!!

  12. I’m gonna disagree with #1 and the always shoot RAW thing. Not at all necessary in many if not most cases in my view. Plus it seems to conflict with tip #7 as I hear so many people with the “I can always fix it later in Photoshop” attitude, “especially if you shoot in RAW”.
    Better I think to get it as right as you can in the camera. Shoot as if you were shooting film, might be my tip.
    But then again I consider myself a photographer and not so much a computer technician.

  13. Great discussion and a great list of tips, Adrian. Some very interesting replies as well; would like to know, as Gunta replied, why you chose b&w for this shot and how the original looks?
    Also I think I´m with Phil on this one; nowadays people seem to ´solve´ everything on the computer but it´s all about getting it right at that moment and you cannot make a great photo out of a mediocre one by postprocessing (like you said in 7);like bluebrightly said, get into the situation, feel, lose yourself and although it´s helpful to know your camera it´s about the feeling it provokes for you and the viewer!
    Ofcourse I shoot in RAW too, but I mostly don´t take more than one or two shots of a scene, cuz continuous shooting in the digital age makes you lazy and think there must be one in there that´s good enough!

    Thanks again, Adrian for the great post for discussion and get your photos in everybody, would like to see what´s out there.

    Good luck, Ron.

  14. I totally agree wit you, particularly on this tip: “Making your photos black and white doesn’t automatically make them “Fine Art”

  15. Good tips, Adrian, I go along with those. Adrian

  16. Does Tri-x count as ‘raw’ ? 🙂


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