10 things I learned from daily shooting

Here are a 10 things I have learned from daily shooting…enjoy!

#1 “Do or do not… there is no try.”

A lot of people shoot daily as they are lucky enough to have a career in photography.   Others embark on a 365 project while others just take photos all the time.   I decided after I started ShootTokyo that I wanted to shoot daily as a way rapidly improve my photography.  Shooting daily isn’t hard.   It does require dedication, creatively and planning.   It actually gets easier with time as well.   When I first started I would rack my brain for something interesting to photography but now you can put me just about anywhere for 10 minutes and I can find lots of ways to photograph it.  Daily shooting changed all of this for me…

#2 Bring your camera everywhere

To capture great images you need to have your camera with you.  People always ask me where I find the time to shoot.   Honestly I shoot whatever is in front of me where ever I am going.   Having a camera with me allowed me to capture the events of the March 11th Earthquake in Japan.   You can see a full slide show HERE.    Most of the great shots you take aren’t planned or set up.   Events or situations unfold and you capture them.   This principle goes for the rest of the photos you will see below.

Having a camera allowed me to capture this woman checking the news about the earthquakes while on a break.

#3 Take pictures of people

One of the most interesting pictures you can take is of people.   I’ll let you in on a secret.   Most people love having their photograph taken.   Many photographers are very shy about asking people if they can take their photo so they end up trying to sneak a shot.   This is just something you have to get over.  While most people like having their photo taken, they also like to know it is happening.   I have found that 9 out of 10 people will say sure and give you a big smile or pose of whatever you are looking for when asked.   The approach I have taken that seems to work is being genuine and I simple ask ‘Do you mind if I take your photo?’.   I also carry these business cards that I call ‘photography cards’ that I give people and let them know they can email me and I will happily send them a high resolution photo for their troubles.   Probably 10% actually email me but giving them a card makes the interaction more ‘legitimate’ and puts people at ease.

I have learnt to not be shy about asking if I can take someone’s photo and I am so pleased with the results I can get now….Check out this hip chick at Shibuya’s Hachiko…

Hip Chick at Shibuya Station

This beautiful girl passing through Shibuya Station…

Kimono Girl at Shibuya Station in Tokyo Japan

This young boy playing in the fountains at Clarke Key in Singapore.

A boy plays in the water at Clark Quay in Singapore

and this young girl on Kandahar Street in Singapore.

A young girl on Kandahar Street in Singapore

#4 The less gear you carry the more photos you take

This is a lesson I learnt the hard way after dragging excessive amounts of camera gear across Tokyo and when I was traveling.  Typically I would leave the house with my Canon 5DMKII.   I wanted to ensure I would catch any shot so I will make sure to bring a good assortment of lenses; 16-35mm, 24-70mm, 50mm, 135mm and maybe my 70-200mm.  I would also have an assortment of filters, a flash or two and other odds and ends.   At the end of the day, I spend all of my energy lugging gear around that I didn’t spend nearly as much time shooting.    The reality is you can make great photographs with whatever gear you have granted you know how to use it.

Now more often than not, I leave the house with a single prime (fixed focal length) lens.   This allows me to focus on taking pictures and bringing out my creativity to capture the shot I need with the only focal length I have.   I carry the most minimal of accessories; extra card, extra battery, an ND filter and a cloth to wipe the lens.    That’s it.

Do I miss some shots due to my limited gear?    Sure, but what I missed is easily made up by all of the other shots I get.   My average blog post has increased from 5-10 pictures on average back in January to what is now running on average about 30 shots per day.    I think the quality of the photos have also improved.

Leica M9 with Noctilux 50mm f/0.95

#5 Force yourself to shoot one lens for a week

A big part of making the last one work is knowing how to use your gear.  I realized I would often carry multiple lenses as I didn’t know how to get a shot or the shot I wanted with the tools I had.  I would feel like I was limited with a 50mm so I would want to make sure I had a 70-200mm if it was far away, and a 24-70mm in case I needed to zoom to capture what I needed, or maybe a 16-35mm in case I needed to capture it wide.   I now shoot almost exclusively prime lenses.    With my Leica I shoot a 21mm f/1.4 Summilux, a 35mm f/1.4 Summilux and a 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux.

My Leica M9 Family

The reality is you can capture a great shot with probably any lens you have with you provided you understand how to use the gear you have.    What I mean by this is what shots work for a given lens.   What angle or distance do you need to be at for this particular focal length to give you the perspective you want.      I was great at shooting my 50mm lens but I really struggle with my 35mm and had just purchased a 21mm and did not really understand how to get the most out of it.   I forced myself into a lens rotation where I shot a single lens for a week.   I’ll be honest, it was incredibly frustrating for me.   At times I wanted to just switch to a different lens as it was impossible to get the shot I wanted or needed but after a few days it became much easier to get the shots I was looking for and soon I was able to pre-visualize the shots before I even lifted the camera to my eye.    Now I can walk the streets at ease with any of my prime lens and come home with a card full of shots that I am happy with.

A week with my 21mm prime lens:

Wide Angle Diet

Wide Angle Tuesday

Wide Angle Wednesday

Wide Angle Thursday

Wide Angle Friday

Wide Angle Saturday

Wide Angle Sunday

After a week of shooting at a single focal length I was pretty comfortable with it and proud of the results I could get with it.  I took this shot of Shinjuku without neon that was accepted into the Leica Fotografie International M9 Masters Shot Gallery on Leica.com.

Shinjuku without neon

After posting this picture, the editor of a Russian Newspaper contacted me and asked for permission to reprint this photo.

Two beautiful Japanese girls in kimonos for graduation.Shinjuku’s LOVE art…

Love Art in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

As you can see you can capture a broad range of images with just a single prime lens.   After my 21mm I shifted to my 35mm for 6 days of shooting.   For those keeping score, I cut it short one day as I was leaving on a trip and wanted to change out lenses.

35mm Monday

35mm Tuesday

35mm Wednesday

35mm Thursday

35mm Friday

35mm Saturday

Here are a few of the shots I have captured with my 35mm.   The point of these examples is I probably won’t have had time to stop and change a lens and needed to take the shot with what was on my camera.    This loyal black lab couldn’t be bothered with me as he faithfully waited for his owner who was coming out of the store.

Black Lab in front of Precce in Nakameguro, Tokyo, Japan

These good people just finished packing up a shipment for Tohoku at Second Harvest Japan.

The volunteers of Second Harvest Japan

This woman waits at Shibuya’s Hachiko with only the light of her mobile phone lighting her up as Tower reduces power consumption in the week’s after the earthquake.

Waiting in the dark at Shibuya Station after the earthquakes

This man cooks outside a restaurant in Ebisu.

Ebisu, Tokyo, Japan

#6 Develop a personal style

There is no right or wrong with photography.   Some people love flashes.    Others just shooting with their iPhones.   Some love to photoshop their pictures for hours.   Do what you love doing.      One thing shooting daily has helped me to do is develop a personal style of shooting.   When I first started I was always watching people and trying to see if I could shoot like ‘them’.   This was helpful to get me to learn to use my gear but once you know how to use your camera, you need to develop a style that is yours.    I don’t have a name for my style but I like a lot of selective focus and clean, natural pictures.  I do next to no post processing on the photos.   The most I will do is clean up any dust spots, crop a little, or adjust exposure but photoshop on my Mac is to correct little imperfections but not for making pictures.

I like to use very narrow depth of fields to tell my stories.   There are no hard and fast rules to what you can and can’t do, should or shouldn’t do.   Learn the basics and then decide how you choose to apply them.

Phones at Shinjuku Station in Tokyo, Japan

I love to use a narrow depth of field and throw primary colors out of focus.

A girl texts while waiting for a friend at Shibuya Station

I’ve learnt to love photographing people once I got over the initial fear of asking people if I can take their photo.

A girl waiting for a friend at Shibuya Station

I love combining shallow depth of field with lots of contrast like in this picture of ‘Dark Shibuya’…

Shibuya Station, Tokyo, Japan

or at Narita Airport…

Narita Airport, Tokyo, Japan

#7 Shoot out of airplane windows

I have never been one of those people who shoot out of airplane windows.   I have flown probably close to 1,000,000 miles in my career and can’t believe all of the subjects I have missed; Alaska, Mt Fuji, the slums of Mumbai, Chicago skyline, arrivals in Boston.   This is something that I started doing this year and I have been so pleased with the results.

Alaska as seen outside of my airplane window

Japan as seen outside of my airplane window

#8 Try new things

Try different types of photography as you are trying to learn what it is you like.    I was surprised to find out how much I enjoyed photographing the moon, how easy it is and that I already had all of the things I needed.   If you want to learn how to photograph the moon, read THIS.


Panning is a great way to bring motion and movement to your photos to make them come alive.    If you don’t know how, read THIS.

A police bike in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan

#9 Shoot at night

I do the majority of my shooting at night.   I am surprised how many people stop shooting when the sun goes down.    What you need is a tripod, a low ISO and some practice.   There is so much to photograph when the sun goes down.

Like light trails…

Light Trails in Nakameguro, Tokyo, Japan

Evening construction sites…

Construction in Nakameguro, Tokyo, Japan

Food vendors….to name a few.

Hot dogs in Nakameguro, Tokyo, Japan

#10 Backup Everything

I can’t stress this point enough.  I had a serious run of bad luck with Macs last winter and this spring.  I actually had 5 complete hard drives failures on my Mac(s).  Each time I was able to get Apple to do a complete replacement of my machine but it kept happening.  They were never able to root cause the problem but I am running safe and sound on a Mac outfitted with Solid State Flash Drives.   I am very paranoid by nature so I was fortunate enough not to lose a single photograph throughout these issues.   This experience just reinforced what I already know; backup everything, often and to multiple locations.   I have friends and know fellow photographers that have lost their hard drives without backup.  I can’t imagine the feeling of losing all of my photos but I am do my best to ensure this never happens to me.

The Genius Bar at Apple Shibuya

Currently I backup using Apple’s Time Machine to Western Digital drives connected with FireWire.  I do this as I travel often and the backup drive comes with me.   A lot of people stop backups while traveling is when you can run into an issue such as losing a drive, downloading a virus, or having a laptop stolen.    When I pull the data off cards and onto my Mac it is backed up before I delete the data off of the cards.   I also have several additional drives that I rotate copying my entire ‘pictures’ folder to once a month as an additional backup.

If you are one of those people who find joy in others misery, please feel free to read about my hard drive challenges.

#1 Technology and Karma

#2 Another MAC bites the dust

#3 The Mac is back: third time is suppose to be a charm

#4 En route Hangzhou China via the Apple Store

#5 952 Yen + Tax

#6 Random Friday

If you are one of those people that enjoy happiness; check out MPB goes SSD.

I have many more lessons learnt and will try to make this a regular posting if this is received well.    Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.   If you have lessons you have learnt as well, please feel free to share.


  • Dave – a good list – much have experienced the same. Carry that thing and you will shoot a lot! Admire you also post most of it daily 🙂

  • Dave

    It’s a subtle blend of persistence and being obsessive…

  • A very interesting read. Although I am not a street photographer by trade, taking photos of people is something that interests me. I do need to get over the pre-convcieved notion that people will hate having their picture taken. Thanks for the tips!

  • Thanks for writing this, I really enjoyed it. Has given me some inspiration to focus on one lens at a time, rather than trying to carry a prime for every situation I might encounter…

  • Marie-Claire Oldham

    I really enjoyed reading this. I used to photograph all the time but since I had my son a year ago, there’s so much baby paraphernalia to carry about, the camera got bumped. Time for that to change.

  • Dave

    Hi Marie-Clarie – I am glad you enjoyed it. There are always time for photos…it’s very relaxing but I can understand all of the stuff in your mama bag can be too much…

  • chris

    Hi Dave, I’m just curious about you saying that you would often ask people before taking the photograph – how do you go about doing that? Do you hand over the card and then say ‘just carry on punching away at your keitai and I’ll be over here…’.

    I have no problem approaching people for photographs but I would hate to ruin the natural feeling of capturing someone uninterrupted doing what they normally do.

    I gather you tell the people who you want a straight up portrait shot of but others you hang back if you want to picture them un-interrupted?

  • Dave

    Hi Chris – it’s a mixed approach. The portraits I obviously stop someone and ask to take their photo. Others I either snap a photo and show them or ask to take their photo direct or by simply nodding to indicate that I want to take their photo. If it is going to ruin the shot I’ll snap it first. With the girl texting, I asked her and she said OK and I asked her to continue with what she was doing.

  • I saw this post shared on Facebook by Amanda Padgett at Everyday Elements. It is excellent; so much great advice in one place! Please do continue posting along these lines; I’m bookmarking your site so I can find you again!

  • Great post, Dave! I am noob hobbyist who embarked on a 365 project this year and have really enjoyed it so far. It’s taught me to look at things in a different way and given me a lot of opportunity to practice. My late father was a professional photographer and I’m sorry that (1) I took so long to start this type of project, and (2) that he’s not here to give me his tips and opinions.

    Keep up these posts, it’s really helpful and interesting!

  • Dave

    Hi Pam. Glad you found it and like it. Look forward to seeing you around.

  • Dave

    Hi Joanne – Welcome to the blog….glad you like what you are finding. This is my 365 project of sorts…Feel free to post questions if you come up with any.

  • Thank you so much for sharing. This is pure motivation to keep the camera at my side at all times.
    Please continue posting. I will be back to check in for sure!

  • Great post. I really like your suggestion to shoot with one prime lens for a week. I tend to overthink which lens I should use and sometimes miss the shot. I also like the suggestion to find your own style. I’m trying to do that. Thank you for the great tips. I’m going to be a new follower!

  • Dave

    Thanks Ellen. The one lens exercise will really frustrate and teach you so much at the same time… Highly recommend it.

  • Judy

    Thank you. I have bookmarked this page and plan to read all of the links in it.

  • I’ve been there with making myself learn how to use the lens I have and just ‘do it’. your photos are wonderful and when you talk about ‘just get over’ asking to shoot people. It still makes me to nervous and I don’t focus right. I hurry thru. I really like your ideas about doing it everyday and everywhere, which in the long run will make it all so much easier. Thanks for all the info and I shared on lots of your buttons.
    peace n abundance,

  • Thank you so much. You have great style! I so appreciate your willingness to share your vision. Plan on reading all the links! Thanks again! Stacey

  • Thank you! Great points. Some years ago I started a photoblog to encourage/force me to shoot more. It worked.

  • Nikkinix

    Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge. I hadn’t thought about just shooting with one lens and tend to overthink it a lot which results in me being paralysed and not taking any shot at all! This has helped to motivate me into experimenting a little more.
    Will definitely come back to this for a kick up the butt if I get too paralysed again 😉

  • I’m only now thinking of trying to take photos on something other than my phone and this is a great encouragement. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Dave

    Hi Nikkinix – It will initially have that paralyzing effect but once you get over it and learn to shoot that lens it will be liberating.

  • gord

    excelent pics, great contrast

  • Everaldo

    Your website is fantastic. I’m just an amateur photographer and my equipment is very simple (Canon Powershot 10IS), but I’ll try to improve my photos follow his teachings and studying your photos in Google +.
    Greetings from Brazil.

  • Dave

    Hi Everaldo… Glad you like what you are finding here. Look forward to seeing you around.

  • Dave

    I think it is so important Will if you don’t want to drown in your own data…

  • Greetings from Nepal,

    i like your website and i am learning new things from your articles. Thank you !

    Visit ‘Nepal’ to capture natural beauty !

  • Mary Elizabeth Murphy

    Hi Dave, just starting out with EOS 600D for a hobby and loving it, but was having trouble finding confidence to shoot people. Thanks for the advice and inspiration. This was great!

  • MD

    Very interesting and insightful for me. I am still learning and these are great tips. Glad I came across this entry thanks!

  • Dave

    HI MD – Glad you found this useful. I am always looking for additional things to write so if there are other topics you would like me to cover, please let me know…

  • Dave

    Mary – People are always the best subject. Try shooting one person every time you are out. It is a great way to build confidence.

  • Noah

    Do you shoot jpg or raw?

    great stuff

  • Dave

    I always shoot raw… check out my how I shoot post for more details. http://shoottokyo.com/shoot/

  • Very inspiring……and your pictures are fantastic. I’m looking forward to more blog posts and pictures.

  • Inspiring and true: people don’t mind having their picture taken, although they sometimes do want a copy! Good idea to give your e-mail address. I started shooting more for my blog and set the camera at low res jpg. Starting to think I should shoot in higher res and save a lower resolution shot for the blog. Have been shooting mostly inanimate objects for my blog. Rethinking that, too. Beautiful photos are a dime a dozen on the web. Beautiful photos with advice and inspiration? Not so much! Thanks.

  • Ru

    Some great tips, thanks.
    The only problem with this website is how the black background shows up how dusty my monitor is… gosh it’s dusty.

  • That photo of the girl in the sub station going to her graduation shortly after the tsunami is one of my favorites. It’s just such a great story. I guess I need to get my guts gathered and start asking.

  • William

    Great site and photos. Love your use of shadows. Just starting to learn an M3, and realizing how little I know about exposure.

  • Dave

    Thanks William… I love how Leica interprets shadows…

  • Dave

    Thanks Trysha… It is so worth stopping people and taking their photos. I always get the best photos this way…

  • Some very helpful tips. I need to get back into the groove of taking photos.

  • Steve Martin

    I really like your photos and advice. I find myself falling into some of the problems you mention like “being shy about asking if I can can someones’s photo”. I let too many good ones go by.


  • These are great tips! I bought a small, decent camera (Nikon Coolpix L110 or something, has a bigger lens) in hopes that its more compact size will assist in my taking pictures everywhere. Throw it in my purse and away I go!

    These tips are completely useful.

  • Roxana Rivera

    I am a beginner and your tips are great! Thank you to share your knowledge 🙂
    Regards from Peru!

  • Phillip

    I love your website! Me and a friend of mine learn quite a bit, back in April I took a trip to Shin Osaka Japan for my birthday. I’ve love it so much, planing on a another trip for Tokyo down the road. But I’ve made it my mission to take photos out of the airplane, caught some nice shots being up 41k feet and the Rocky Mountains.

  • Dave

    Thanks Phillip! Let me know when you make it to Tokyo next…

  • Ed

    You mean… You just ask them? Gulp.

    My New Years Resolution, starting three months early, is to Just Ask. And to get some cards made up.

    I read a tip on Nikon’s site that said you should have your subject write their email on a piece of paper and then take a picture of it so you have their email right with the photo. However, this way you are obligated to send them a pic, your way weeds out those who don’t want the pic enough to email you. You said 90%. That would save work, but you might also want some people’s email yourself.

    By the way, I am up in Sapporo. I just got a new Nikon D7000 that I am really pleased with.


  • Dave

    Ed – People might not want to give you their email as well so I found the card approach works best…

  • This is amazing Dave.

    What a lovely experience. This is the kind of guidance all the starters required.

    I’m not sure about others but you are a great inspiration for me. You are a regular human photographer when you talk to your audience and yet an expert in photography.

    Will follow you and read more.

    Thanks and regards,

  • Mildred Lopez

    DAVE: what a great and interesting read !! I don’t have a profesional camera I only have a digital camera and after read this have for sure that I will have it with me all the time !! thank you so much for the tips and will take classes next year so I can know the basic. Have a great evening!!!

  • AnaT

    Thank you!!!!!!!!!!

  • thank you so much for all those nice lessons who will certenly profitr me a lot, Diane

  • Ivanna

    Increible. Me gustaron mucho tus fotos y tus consejos, los pondré en practica.

  • Million thanks for the tips. I’m a newbie in this photography things. and I’m glad that I found out this helpful and inspiring article. I also do love Japan, and just have a lot of Japanese friends. I hope I can meet you in person one day.

  • thanks for the tips, very usefull

  • Kolter Gunn

    This is a brilliantly done photo blog. I am quite impressed by the quality AND the quantity of your work. I will quite certainly be paying more attention to you.

  • Irene

    Hi Dave I have just spent a very enjoyable few hours looking at your website. Thank you for your excellent advice and for sharing it so enthusiastically. Today you have given me my first introduction on how to use a camera! I feel totally inspired thanks to you. I can’t wait to buy my first SLR camera this week and start shooting every day! Keep up the good work. I am looking forward to joining you on your journey, via your website, throughout 2012. Happy New Year to you and your family.

  • Dave

    Hi Irene. Thanks for your kind comments. I am glad you enjoyed ShootTokyo. Let me know if you have any questions after you pick up your camera.

  • I love the images you have on your site.

    I second your strategy of using 1 lens at a time. A few years ago, I sold all my Canon zoom lens and was left with a 50mm for my 1Ds MKII. For 1 year, I shoot everything with it. I shoot daily and learnt how to shoot with it,then I added a 35mm to my lens collection. I had to relearnt again, though the quality of the 35mm was much much better from the first shot compared to the 50mm. My work may not be art but I realise you can compose beautiful images regardless of lens. You need to work the angle, perspective and composition for each one differently.

    Now I use an X100 exclusively. I do miss wider perspective at times so I’m thinking of adding a X-pro 1 or just get another canon body for my existing lenses.

  • Dave

    Thanks Effendi. The lens a day really worked for me, especially when I was only shooting primes. It is really easy to get comfortable with one lens and then become lazy and not shoot others.

  • Yong Kang


    You mentioned you do most of your shots at night. Do you bring your tripod out with you everyday? What sort of tripod did you use.

    Imho, tripods are bulky stuffs and I would almost never bring them out on my everyday commute.


  • Dave

    Hi Yong – I use very fast lens so I don’t often use a tripod. I do keep a small table top Leica Tripod in my bag if I need a tripod. It’s collapsable and very lite.

  • Always love reading your posts & always pick up new tips.


  • Robin

    A small digression but one to re-enforce your recommendation on using one prime lens for a week. I once had a video camera that only had the one fixed focal length lens. Now I know that zoom lenses on still cameras aren’t used in the same way but one thing that fixed lens taught me was to be very careful with composition, because I was not going to be able to zoom in or out to fill the frame as I would have done with a zoom lens. The other thing I came to notice though was how much better the whole video ran with no to and fro zooming motion. Anyone into audio visual photography will appreciate how more effective an A/V show can be if ALL the shots are either landscape or portrait and generally shot within a small focal length range. So as Dave suggests – try it, I know I will.

  • I really like your method of work. Especially the issue of giving cards to people photographs. It’s a great idea and I sure do not have any problems with anyone. I agree most of your points. Perhaps the most difficult is that of creating a unique style to go (at least for a novice photographer like me …). With contributions from your blog how are you, the truth is that they help. Greetings from Castellar del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain.

  • Thanks Ernest – The cards really work and put people at ease.

  • Dave, I really enjoyed reading this post man. Great to see how you started, as it is very inspiring to me. A few days ago I challenged myself to only use my latest purchase, 50mm f/1.8 to shoot. Nice to read that you where doimg the same thing;)
    Also great ebook dude.

  • Great tips! Thanks for posting!

  • Very nice list. It’s true that people like their photograph taken and I’ve been actually asked by people to take their photographs. Nothing beats to know that person, what he does and take his photograph.

    I have a 18-55 & a 50mm 1.8, for street & portraits I always use a 50mm. It’s works more like a 85mm on a crop sensor 550D.

    Great work there. Inspiring. I did take a break, (why I don’t know) from street photography, but recently started it again.

  • Mr.Suryono,Uung (Yono)

    Greeting from Java-Indonesia.Thanks for sharing to the world.You have make it so easy and kind.If you come to Bali.I will keep you company.I will show you around and if you come to cenral java,i will take you to the vulcano mountain and BOROBUDUR budhish tample and other places.

    I have bought all at once,lenses….21mm.F3,4 ,and the 35mm/f.14 and the new apo 90mm f/2(love it) but I have not decided.Which one to buy for the 50mm.Either the 50mm/F2 or the summilux 50mm/f1.4 or the new apo 50mm/f2 or the noctilux.I know you have bought the noctilux…you like to take photos after dawn.What make you decide to buy the noctilux?.And,are you happy about it?.Have you tried the new apo summicron or the summicron f2?.i am a beginner.Thanks.

  • Pim

    Excellent piece, greetings and a happy new year from the Netherlands

  • Thanks. Happy New Year Pim…

  • Zib

    This post made me start my “daily picture” project http://www.orderbyday.com and 370+ days later i still check it from time to time when i lack inspiration.
    “#2 Bring your camera everywhere” is by the way the ultimate advice 🙂

  • Zib – That’s great and nice site as well. Congrats on completing your 365 and still going!

  • Jeff van Aalst

    I love your photo’s Dave. Your site and your experiences and comments are very inspirational. I am still in the early stages of learning my camera and photography in general and do not nearly spend enough time to practice. I think I will need to take my camera with me every day. I have just purchased a 50 mm lens for my 7D and am keen to learn the art of a prime lens so will solely use this for a while.
    Thanks again for such a good site/blog.

  • Thanks for your kind words Jeff. Shooting daily will make a material difference to your camera. I did it for a year and came out the back end a much different photographer.

  • Incredible write up, thanks for the mad tips my friend! I have the phobia of approaching strangers for pics but this will help tremendously, thanks again.

  • Len

    Do you have any current views on backup etc while traveling?
    I realize that you have your laptop with you most of the time, but I am shying away from having to lug a laptop with me when I want to travel light. I am currently looking into small 7 or 8 inch tablets to download into from the camera or card and the upload to 500pix or Google cloud or? Any thoughts from your experience. Thanks again for a great blog.

  • Len – I use an external drive. I have a LaCie Rugged Triple hosts my Lightroom library which is very durable. I usually take a full backup of it before I leave. I dump my cards to Lightroom at the end of each day. I rotate my memory cards so I typically don’t get through all of them in a trip so I have copies on my memory cards and in my Lightroom library on my LaCie.

  • Alan

    Really enjoyed the article! I just started the habit of bringing my camera pretty much everywhere I go. It’s meant that I’m taking more time to take in the view around me, rather than just rushing by. By just taking pictures everyday, it’d meant that I had more opportunities to make mistakes, and rectify them. I attended a wedding on the weekend and I was pleased enough with the improvements, which is due also largely to the fact that I’m kept familiar with the camera from using it more often. So daily shooting is definitely a great way to improve!

    However, I must confess that I’m still way too shy to approach a stranger on the street to ask if I can take their picture. I’m from Asia too, and I’m wondering about your experience in Tokyo is like. I would think that Japanese would be reserved and hence be more inclined to decline having their picture taken.

  • Exactly Alan… Shooting daily slows you down to see the world around you.

  • Since I bought a very small CSC last Christmas (the tiny Lumix GM1) I have really understood what “carry your camera always with you” means; it’s definitely the number one advice I would give to anyone, since it will mean you will practice more, and we all know that practice is the key to improving!

  • Gonzalo – That’s right. As Jay Maisel says “You have a 100% better chance of taking a better shot if you have a camera with you”. He carries around a big Nikon but that works for him. I am always carrying a lot of stuff so smaller is better for me.

  • Roberto Smith

    Thanks for All the advice and great photos, Your Moon shot is great. The last Moon eclipse with the Red shade was a great chance but the clouds appears in my Town, any way the hunting of the shot was funny, too!