#Photo3 – The Photographer’s Notebook

A weekly trio of top photo tips

Despite computers, tablets and phones trying to modernise the notebook, there’s something very special (maybe because of this!) about using the old-fashioned notebook and pen for note taking. A notebook is a useful tool for the photographer and it helps organise thoughts and ideas, as well as serve as a tuition tool. Let’s therefore look at three ways a notebook can improve your photography.

Camera Settings

Now whilst modern digital cameras record every aspect of exposure on the image file, including shutter speed, aperture setting and ISO rating, there’s still plenty of notes you can take that will help improve your photography as you refer back to them. You can still record all the camera setting details of course, but include you own important information too. Location, weather, set-up situation, filters used (a camera can’t record this important information), reasons behind exposure compensation and bracketing and anything else you did for the shot, that may prove useful later. It’s all part of the learning process and a vital source of information as you progress and you can of course refer back to details when it all went right!


Location Ideas

I’m always thinking of new locations to visit and projects to shoot and I write them all down in my notebook. It’s great to refer back to, to remind me of places to visit, ideas to put into practise and opportunities where I can combine ideas to a location. It’s not all fancy locations either. I keep a note of local locations that may be ideal for brief weather conditions that I need to make the most of. I’m all for shooting local and despite planning trips further afield when I can, it’s the local jaunts that are often the most rewarding. Adding a location reminds you to plan a visit and keeps it highlighted, so that your mind is working towards a trip, at the ideal time, so that it becomes a reality, rather than lost in everyday life.

Tree, Brierley, South Yorkshire


Once I have decided on a location, then my notebook becomes the itinerary planner for that location. This is especially so in the urban environment and I plan everything down to the hour if I can, so I don’t have to worry about best viewpoints, locations, transport arrangements to get to each place at the optimum time. Out in the rural landscape, the schedule is more flexible due to the weather, but I still have an ‘ideal’ itinerary. Based on location, light direction, time of day, subject and plan B ideas, my notebook keeps me on schedule and offers me alternatives when things don’t go to plan. The pre-planning is so vital and the notebook keeps this all in one place.

Windermere, Lake District, Cumbria

You can read more on photography techniques in my eGuides available with an e6 subscription or to purchase separately. www.e6subscription.co.uk

8 thoughts on “#Photo3 – The Photographer’s Notebook

  1. Thanks Craig, that’s interesting and something I will try. Would be very interesting to see an e6 vlog with the planning, notes, trip, photos and even processing. The whole story!
    Ps there is a small typo ‘right’ rather than ‘write’

  2. I looked through the PDF and saw the step by step guide, but I was thinking more about how you start off with the research about an area and discover a place to go, angles to photograph from etc., before the actual photography starts.

    • Ok Tony. This is something that is mentioned in various degrees in other vlogs and eGuides, but I take your suggestion onboard and I’ll see if there’s something more I can do based on this in the future. Thanks.

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