I am by no means a good photographer. It is just a hobby that I dabble in, however looking back I can see my photos from a few years ago were poor compared to recently and was thinking what things have I changed. Of course my composition has developed a little but beyond that what little things have made a difference. Whilst I recently purchased a good camera most of the images on this site come from a phone, even the last tour to Goto Islands 50% of the images were from my phone so it is not simply a case of better camera.
1. The biggest change I notice is how much clearer my recent photos are. Much of that is from using the dehaze feature in photo editing but before I get to that when possible I use a circular polarizing filter to reduce haze and unwanted reflections. If you are a rider then landscapes are likely going to be your photographic subject and this filter comes in handy. You can remove some haze and unwanted reflections later by software but this filter can further assist in the right conditions.
2. When using the iPhone I always use it in sweep panorama mode to produce a very high megapixel image compared to a standard photo. This may not apply to every model phone out there but the iPhone in panorama mode is held in portrait position and stiches together automatically 10-20 images 3 – 4 times the resolution of a regular still image taken with the phone. Even after cropping it remains a much higher resolution and more detailed image.
3. Learning a little post processing has made a big improvement to my photos. I cannot sit around on tour waiting for good light so being able to fix some minor things later has really helped. I found the popular programs like Photoshop and Lightroom too complicated previously then I came across really easy and free software called Polarr (No affiliation). With easy to follow tutorials I was able to improve my post processing. (Update – am trying Luminar now)
4. I stopped putting my motorcycle in every photo. Common mistake for motorcycle bloggers I think. It still sneaks in the frame far too often but I try think of other ways to take shots, walk around looking at angles and move the bike out of the frame sometimes. (alas have slipped back into this a little of late)
5. Lastly when I needed to I update my laptop I made a focus of getting one with a high quality screen. My previous Asus laptop even with calibration never had true colours and contrast Vs brightness was never right. Now I can clearly see exactly what my photos look like to others on a quality screen with accurate colour and this has permitted better post processing.
Well nothing earth shattering above but perhaps one of these might be something useful to you.
Update: In 2019 I switched to Luminar for my post processing and also trying to shoot everything in raw format. Luminar offers some nice editing but as far as raw to jpeg development I have found software called Silkypix gives a better results and may switch to that.
I also have started using a external large monitor with which I can more easily see issues that need to be corrected that were undetectable to my eyes on the smaller laptop screen.
I no longer have that Lumix camera but now a Canon G1XM3 which actually has been disappointing despite the bigger sensor. That 40mm equivalent lens I had was so good but the sequential LCD viewfinder Panasonic puts in their cameras is just hopeless.