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Every photographer I’ve ever talked to wants to take better photos. We read blogs and books, attend seminars and trade shows, and seek constructive criticism of our work in the search for better photos. These are valuable pursuits to becoming better at our craft, but they tend to distract us from a simple way to get better at what we do: a little extra time with our cameras and subjects.

Try this: after every photo session, when you think you’ve gotten “the one,” take an extra two minutes to see if you can make it even better. Get a little closer or little farther away. Try a different angle or lens. Get below or above the subject. Put the light/sun behind the subject. Change exposure. Experiment!

Two minutes. One hundred and twenty seconds. With this little chunk of extra time as a regular habit in your photography, I’m pretty sure you’ll discover that your photos are getting better. 

Below is a two to three minute progression of photos I took at the 2015 Washington State Fair that I hope illustrates the benefits of investing an extra two minutes of time and leading to a better photo.


This is nice, but not a great photo. There’s lots of distractions (the pattern on the blanket, the second dog) and the golden isn’t looking at the camera.


Getting better – isolating more on the golden and getting a little lower to remove the fence from the photo. Still too many distractions here, though.



To isolate the golden even more, I thought to use the fence as a framing device and positioned the golden’s head in an opening between two posts. Getting there…



I got just a little lower to place the golden’s head and ears in the larger part of the opening between the two posts. I then cropped to make the posts the frame edge, and converted to black and white to complete the process. The extra two minutes behind the camera made for a much better photo, I think.