Photography Skills To Learn and Improve In 2018

Two weeks ago I shared that I am going to be continuing my journey of growing my wedding photography business! Over the next year I want to challenge myself to learn and improve on a few things that I know will be beneficial when I go back to photographing weddings. While I have a lot of knowledge about photographing weddings, it's never too late to learn something else, no matter how advanced you are. So here are a few things I want to learn in 2018. 

  • How to use Kelvin - Kelvin is a manual white balance option on your camera that allows you to manually adjust the temperature of your photos while you're shooting. This is great for weddings because you are constantly shooting in different lighting situations in a matter of minutes. Using this will allow me to have more control during the day and will help minimize editing time because I won't have to do such drastic color changes to the images. 
  • OCF for receptions - I've used my off camera flash for weddings in the past but never loved the way the images turned out. I want to be able to not only be confident enough to take fun dancing photos during the reception, but also specialty shots of the bride and groom. I use Yongnuo flashes for Nikon and the triggers have worked much better than pocket wizards but I still have had quite a few misfires. I may not have been giving them enough time to refresh but when you're photographing a wedding you can miss a moment in NO TIME. I need my flashes to be intense and FAST. The only affordable flashes that I've read about and are impressed with are the Canon 600 speedlights. I currently own one Nikon body and one Nikon lens so changing to Canon is definitely a possibility. Both have great camera bodies and even though I bought a Nikon, I have always been drawn more to Canon equipment.
  • Photographing during golden hour - Who doesn't love photographing during golden hour?! It's the best time of day to shoot besides the early morning. The light is beautiful and makes your images look airy and full of life. I've had trouble in the past with backlighting my subjects. Rather than having a nice glow around them, they come out dark and shadowy. My goal is to find the sweet spot of golden hour. If the sun is too low, this is an effect that happens and if the sun is too high you can end up with a lot of unwanted lens flare. 
  • How to look for the best light in any situation - Overcast days are some of the best days to take photograph because no matter how you pose your client, you will have even light. This is especially useful when photographing in open fields. In the next year I'd like to learn how to find the best light on ANY day and INSIDE any building. 
  • Posing + giving better direction behind the camera - Posing has always made me nervous and I've blanked on couples in the past. It's the WORST feeling ever. I plan on making this one of my top learning priorities because it's KEY when getting your client's to trust you. Their engagement session is their "test run" with you and if you can't pose them in that session, it's going to be MUCH harder to pose them on the wedding day. Giving direction goes hand in hand with this. If I want my couples to get into a chest to chest pose and smile at me I need to communicate and be able to demonstrate that clearly.
  • Various lenses + framing subjects - This is where creativity comes into play. I love shooting wide open with a 50mm and really tight with an 85mm. There's almost no in between. I want to work on that middle ground as well as creatively being able to frame my subjects. Creating a variety in of focal lengths, composition, portrait, and landscape images throughout the day will give my clients a huge gallery. It'll also be super helpful when designing spreads for their albums! 

If you're a photographer and have any suggestions for education please let me know in the comments below!