Advice and critique please!

Started Sep 5, 2012 | Discussions thread
Midwest
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Re: Advice and critique please!
In reply to mkolf, Sep 6, 2012

mkolf wrote:

Thanks, all. I'm really liking the suggestions! I can't add any space up top on #1 and #4 but I can take some off the bottom. I'm going to try it and then I'll post it again. Oh, R2D2, what's SOOC stand for?

Hope you don't mind another person jumping into the discussion but you seem like a 'newbie' who is looking to learn, and that's always a good thing. I'd like to offer a few basic things that might help move you forwards in your photo interests.

1. Your 550D and the 55-250 lens are an excellent combination. Don't start wondering 'if only I had the Tampax zoom instead' or 'what if had the new 650D instead of the 550D' etc. That setup (along with presumably the 18-55 zoom and maybe the 50mm 1.8) is good enough to last you for a long time without holding you back.

2. Others suggested shooting the bird from the front instead of the back, which was the first thing that came to mind. This is also great advice when shooting any animals or people.

3. Try to fill the viewfinder much more with your subject. Don't take a smaller subject surrounded by a large useless background.

4. Just because you have a zoom doesn't mean that you need to always try to take pics at full zoom. Use the zoom to frame your subject by zooming in enough to make the subject fill the photo more. That is the real value, not to shoot pics of things a block away.

5. Good light is essential for the best photos in general. Take photos with the light coming from behind you, shining on what you are photo'ing. Light coming from behind the subject and towards the camera will give you a shaded subject against a too-bright background. It's a recipe for disappointing photos. I see so many people post such pics and they are asking 'why is this so bad?'.

6. Finally - you need to find some real inspiration. Even if you properly frame a gull and shoot it from the front in good light, it is a picture of a gull. Basically, it is instantly forgettable. I know everyone has their own tastes but I find pictures of gulls, pigeons, ducks, squirrels, flowers, statues and bugs to be nothing more than a way to test the camera to see if it is making pics.

Look at others' galleries here. (Click on any user ID and you will get a menu that will take you to their uploaded photos and albums.) Consider what you are really interested in and share that interest. (Are you really interested in gulls?) Draw inspirations from others and from photos they have taken that really register with you. Not just 'what a pretty picture' but photos that make you smile or think or hold your interest, photos that are memorable, photos that capture a mood or a moment or a slice of life.

That's the hardest part, I think - finding good things to photograph. For all the flower and bug and bird photos I see posted, however technically good they are, they are all 'this is a flower, this is a bird, this is a bug'. There is nothing any deeper to them. Don't take pictures - make photographs! Good luck and keep posting.

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