ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

7 Habits of Highly Effective Photographers.

Updated on September 2, 2014
Female Widow Skimmer Photo by Bron Praslicka
Female Widow Skimmer Photo by Bron Praslicka

The 7 Habits

If you aren't familiar with the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People it is a business and self-help book first published in 1989, written by Stephen Covey. Since I am playing off the title of that book in this blog I though I should at least give credit where it is due. I also mention Mr. Covey's book because it is one of the few books that actually changed my perspective on life - in a very positive way. I still apply many of Mr. Covey's teachings in my life today.

As I was thinking through the various things I have learned or discovered over the last 40 years or so of taking photos, I found that there are several habits or techniques that are fundamental to all great photographers and their photos.

In this blog I thought I would provide an overview of those Habits, and then address each of the Habits in more detail in subsequent blogs. So here we go with;

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Photographers.

1. Always have your camera.
2. Change your perspective.
3. Edit your photo for added effect.
4. Take A LOT of photos.
5. Plan your background.
6. Fill the frame.
7. Take the road less travelled.

1. Always Have Your Camera.

Okay I know at first glance this seems like a no brainer - right? I can tell you from first hand experience I have lost count of all the amazing photographs I have missed because I didn't have my camera handy. Now that smartphones are common I know it may seem that you are always toting a camera, but as I have mentioned before, a smartphone camera will never be able to replace the quality of an SLR camera.

So why is it so important to always have my SLR handy? Because great photo opportunities don't come along every day. That's not to say you can't walk out your door right now and take some really great photos. But really memorable photos only come along once in a while. Be ready and you will reap the reward.

The photo below was one of those great moments that doesn't come along very often, and I was really glad I had my camera. I was running some errands one fall day, when I noticed an unusually large flock of cattle egrets (the white birds in the photo) hanging out a pond on a nearby horse ranch. Just about the time I pulled over and pulled out my camera the horses decided to slash about in the pond, which caused the egrets to take flight. I was in the right place at the right time to catch the photo. No amount of planning on my part could have created this image.

The following link will take you to my full article on Habit 1.

2. Change Your Perspective.

The great American photographer Ansel Adams once said, "You don't take a photograph, you make a photograph". What Mr. Adams meant by that has a lot to do with this second habit of great photographers. Changing your perspective has to do with the photographer physically moving around their subject in order to capture the best photograph possible.

That may mean laying on your stomach in the middle of a road, or climbing to the top of a 6 story parking garage so that you can get a better view of the building next door, it may even mean wading out into a stream or river so that you are able to capture the best angle for a photo. This doesn't mean you should be careless, but it does mean you should be willing to go to great lengths to capture the best image.

3. Edit Your Photo For Added Effect.

Capturing a great photo with your camera is the first step in creating a great photograph. The second step is cropping and editing the photo to bring out the best color and quality possible. I know that Ansel Adams was proud of the fact that most of his photos were never edited. He prided himself on getting the perfect composition, lighting and exposure with his camera so that the image that came out of the camera was perfect.

Although I am impressed that Mr. Adams had developed that skill, I would also mention that Mr. Adams was primarily known for taking black and white images of landscapes. I think if Mr. Adams had been trying to catch a hummingbird in flight he may not have been so concerned with making each shot perfect.

One thing I do want to note is that when I say photo editor I do not mean Photoshop. I am talking about a basic photo editor that allows you to crop your photo, enhance the lighting and colors, and alter the contrast setting. I am not talking about adding content or changing the actual colors within my photo, I am simply talking about enhancing the colors and image that we captured with our camera.

The two images of the solitary dandelion puff seed are the exact same photo. The first image is the original photo right out of the camera. The second image is the same photo after being edited.

4. Take A Lot Of Photos.

Even before the digital age of photography, most professional photographers would still recommend that you take a lot of photos. Now that it costs no more to take 1,000 photos than it does to take 10 photos - you should take 1,000.

Because I love photography I love looking at other photographers photos. When I read their comments about a given photo I consistently hear that the reason they were able to capture a stunning photo is because they took 100 or 200 photos of the same subject that weren't stunning. You never know how the slightest movement of the subject, or the change in sunlight, or the movement of your camera is going to effect the final photo - so take a lot of photos of the same subject to guarantee that at least one of them will be perfect.

5. Plan Your Background.

I mentioned this in my first blog in this series, but one thing that most people don't consider when taking a photo is the background behind their subject. Great photographers not only think about what is in the background, many times they actually arrange a particular background in order to enhance the shot.

In some situations you want the background to be visible to help tell the story within the photo. At other times you might want the background to be blurred out in order to enhance your main subject. These things are not done by mistake but rather they should be planned.

In the following photo I used a row of shrubs as a dark backdrop to highlight the sun on the yellow leaves. I also used the sunlight bouncing off of the shrubs to provide the sparkling bokeh for added effect.

6. Fill The Frame.

This concept takes a little practice but it pays off quickly. The idea of fill the frame means that you should try to get as close as possible to your subject for the photo. Not so close that you can't capture your entire subject in the photo, but closer than you would normally get.

We will look at some specific examples of this when we discuss it in full detail, but in the mean time try getting in a little closer on your next few photos and see if you don't notice a change.

7. Take The Road Less Traveled.

In the same way that Robert Frost stated at the end of his famous poem The Road Not Taken,

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."

I cannot emphasize this point enough - if you will take the time to explore the areas around where you live - even by simply taking a road that you have not driven before - I believe it will make a huge difference in the things you will discover and the subjects that you photograph.

And I do believe it will make all the difference.

Until next time. Enjoy.

© 2014 Bron Praslicka


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • BronPraslicka profile imageAUTHOR

      Bron Praslicka 

      4 years ago from Dallas / Fort Worth area of Texas

      Wonderful. It makes it all worthwhile if someone benefits.

    • J Henderson 91 profile image

      J Henderson 91 

      4 years ago

      I have really enjoyed the full series. Very helpful. Thank you.

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 

      4 years ago from Norfolk

      Some great information. I am looking forward to reading many more of you hubs. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)