So you want to be a photographer.

Started Jun 29, 2010 | Discussions thread
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Phileas Fogg
Senior MemberPosts: 2,318
So you want to be a photographer.
Jun 29, 2010

Note, I said photographer, not a person who takes pictures.

The other day I was in discussion with acquaintances over photography, from things like making photos, understanding the art and science and how to use gear. The talk of film photography was a part of it all.

If you are a newbie into the world of photography and not just an avg. Joe or Mary Sixpack who takes pictures using a camera phone or a camera set in "P" (for perfect of course) mode well if you were one who I would tutor or if hired as an apprentice the first thing I'd do would be to have you put away your digital camera. You'd then pick up a 35mm film SLR. I'd when you were ready to go make images give you THREE yes only THREE rolls of 36 exp. film likely 200ISO maybe one that would be 400ISO. You'd then cover a many hour event with me. It could be any type of event, portraits, wedding, sports, scenic/adventure, whatever. You'd have to shoot the event with only those THREE rolls. That is right 108 shots at your disposal. I can hear it now from many reading this. " But, but, but how can you expect me to cover such a many hour event with only 108 shots?"

Ahh, grasshopper, that is where you will learn DISCIPLINE, begin to learn to see, think about the images you are about to make with each press of that shutter. You will learn to Sloooooowwwww Dowwwwwwnnn! And yes grasshopper you will if taking such lessons to heart be able to fully cover the event. Oh it may be tough, it may force you to make some real tough, critical thinking choices, but you will get the event covered.

You see folks we have had digital imagery for one generation now.Today we have a generation of new shooters who never loaded a roll of film, never had to think about each press of that shutter. Film could not be erased and reused, you had to learn the craft in ways that digital can allow you to be lazy on. But as a newbie based on my learning model here you will lean to be a photographer, not a picture taker, not a spray and prayer, and not one who thinks Photoshop is a crutch to turn a mediocre image to a great one [YEAH RIGHT!]. Shooting film as noted above enforces the critical parts of creative thinking and the art of seeing to get your timing and composition more correct.

Now I'm not saying digital should be abandoned. NO! I shoot 100% digital today though I'm interested to get a film body back to help me reengage that legacy part of shooting. I grew from learning to shoot with film, 35mm and then medium format. It taught me the lessons noted above.

With a generation of photographers today who never shot film we see a trend of over shooting, by doing so lowering the quality and value of each frame shot. Photographers using the post production on a computer to try to save a mediocre/poor shot. Digital has made it too easy for photographers to be lazy, to not think about each press of that shutter button, to not SEE and to not be bothered with their timing. These things all create a generation of imagery from avg. picture takers to even aspiring photographers and pros that tell a lesser quality story of life, lives and the world around us through photography. We now believe if we just take more pictures, squeeze that shutter button more often, or just set our cameras to burst mode we will have more quality, and a better story through photography, well that is not so. Making it more easy to make more photos does not guarantee you more higher quality images. In the end it is the mind, the eyes and the discipline of the photographer that gets still images that sing out a story and capture time and events in a luscious and captivating way.

So I have more to add here and will bring on another post here later, but for now I'll leave my discussion here and state. If you are a newbie and one who wants to learn to be a better photographer be it an amateur or working pro. I say get a film body, it does not matter if it's old or new, manual focus of auto focus and get a few rolls of film, just enough to get you by for a half or full day and shoot. You may have to do this ideal over many days or weeks. Shoot knowing that you only have a few rolls, of film, and can't erase them. Do that, take the film to a developer and after waiting for the images you will SLOW DOWN! and scrutinize each frame shot, thus learning more about yourself as a photographer and the skills you have and need to then hone.

Later on once you train or retrain yourself as to why shooting film enforces discipline then you can go to digital, but the film experience will then change the way you shoot digital...

More thoughts on this topic by me later.

Thanks to all who read through my post for your time.

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