Your view of life in Frames
Looking through the lens means that we see the world in a framed view. As a photographer you are making decisions about how to frame what you see, and how you want others to perceive the object that you have chosen.
Any photographer who believes that they can learn to take great photos by following the “rules”, will soon discover that they aren’t taking photos but recording mundane activities or objects without any thought.
How we see things is an individual and unique experience. You should work with that idea and learn to control the camera so that it frames and records the light, colour, darkness and shadow, the composition and all its nuances, as you see it. Not according to somebody’s rule of thumb procedures that you read about on the internet.
The frame is important, it gives us the ability to isolate an object and say, “this is important, look at this.”
Photography is an activity that requires you to become responsible for the shots you take, especially if other people are going to be viewing them.
To be able to take a shot because you think it’s important, it’s special, and then have other people stop in their tracks and look at your photo is a success. You made them stop and look, stop and think.
As a photographer you are naturally drawn to styles and subjects that interest you only. You can’t please everybody and you will have people look at your shot and tell you that they don’t get it, or understand the point of the shot.
If you get too “arty” about how you see the world you will begin to do what many of the artists have done in the past. You will begin to disconnect from the mainstream of thought and see the wonder in the oddest of subjects. To be able to convey the vision of the odd or rare idea is very difficult and often leads an artist or photographer to becoming eccentric and misunderstood.
There is plenty in the world that is interesting and often passed by in daily life. A good photographer will be able to focus on these things and bring them back home to the viewer, to make something special of an everyday object and show a viewer that, until now, they have been taking it for granted and have therefore not looked at it.
It doesn’t really matter what your subject is, it’s about how much thought and effort you put into being able to see it properly. To penetrate its essence, like a master of zen.
Half the thrill of photography is to seek out interesting subjects and photograph them – knowing that these moments may have been fleeting, or only occur once in a while.
Another fun aspect of photography is to take a shot and later discover that there’s something in the frame that you didn’t notice when taking the shot.
Making mistakes is part and parcel of learning to do do anything. If you make mistakes, you can get upset. that’s the wrong attitude, really. Noticing that you get something wrong half the time, is your brain telling you that you know what’s important to work on. You can’t progress in the art of chasing the light without tripping over now and again.
Learning to take great photos can only happen when you practise. Everyday is a good idea, if not, at least each week a couple of times.
If you find yourself looking to other photographers work as an aspiration for your own goals as a photographer, then be sure that you understand what you see in their work that turns you on a as a photographer. That way you are looking at their way of looking at the world and not simply trying to figure out which buttons they pressed at which settings to get the shot.
Emulation is a fine way to grow, copycat procedures and Apps are a dead end for a creative photographer who wants to be in demand at some point soon.
Copying will never lead to self-confidence. It is a mindless activity that doesn’t allow your own opinions to engage in the action and therefore leaves you with something that looks pretty good, but you haven’t got a clue how you achieved it.
Emulation of a style will lead you to trying to figure out how a photographer achieved the end result.
Does your favourite photographer use a lot of Photoshop procedures to achieve the results, or do they spend a lot of time setting up a scene so that the light and circumstances are perfect to get what they want?
Asking questions of yourself and your favourite photographers is good way to move forwards.
Digital Photography Equipment and what you will need.
Digital Photography has become a big market for the major manufacturers. It’s expensive.
One look at the cost of a digital camera, full-frame or not, a lens and a set of lighting, is enough to make you fall off your tripod.
If you are low on cash and wisely want to avoid debt, you can search for a second-hand camera online and get a good bargain, a camera in great shape and a fairly low shutter-count .
Lenses are also possible to buy second hand. A lens is a delicate object and must be looked after for it to stay in good shape. The glass is important to the quality of focus and ability to capture what you see. Most people take care of their lenses and protect them, so when buying second hand you will mostly encounter good lenses, in great condition.
If you buy second hand be sure that you can send it back if it’s not up to standard – useful and functional.
Don’t listen to the equipment snobs. They tend to deny that they are snobbish about having the latest technology but they do get mugged often because of their driving need for newest equipment on the market.
New technology is great. Photoshop is your darkroom, the camera is your tool to get what you want. It isn’t a Porsche or a Rolls-Royce. It should be up to scratch for your work.
Whatever you have, use it and push it to the limits. That takes time. You will want to test different lighting situations. Natural light vs artificial lighting like flash, or strobe-lighting.
Think of light as simple bright stuff that we can utilise. The light in a flash unit is intensified to give us something brighter than room light. Therefore , we don’t want to flash into the object directly, we want to be able to bounce the light off a white surface and back onto the subject. A room lamp is light. Experiment with it, change the bulb for a white light, an Osram or a stronger wattage.
There are no rules about light that says only expensive flash units will do, that’s rubbish. Cheap lamps with a well homemade reflector (a white umbrella that costs 3 euros is better than nothing), will do a good job of giving you the light you want. Mobile phones have lovely little lights on them that spray small arcs of light onto a still life subject sitting on your table.
If you fall into the trap of believing more equipment will make you a better photographer, you will fail to work with the tools at hand. Always wanting more, better, up to date technology, will blur your focus and cause you to go through unnecessary phases of learning what is not important.
Focus on seeing and working with the camera and light that you have. When your bank account looks healthier than now, you will probably be better informed about what you want to upgrade to and make a good purchase.
Photography is a wonderful way to spend a life. Working with images and enjoying the advanced technology. Working with people and looking at simple everyday objects that suddenly become important because you took the time to stop and look. Do your best to help other people see the magic in your work by becoming a great photographer.