How could I have improved these?

Started Dec 26, 2011 | Discussions thread
Gary_Scotland Senior Member • Posts: 1,080
Re: How could I have improved these?


Some interesting and very useful comments here. I thought that I would add my take on things too.......

I think that we should never stop learning, How you learn should be your chosen method (e.g. books, videos, personal attendance at a course, 'trial and error', etc, etc). What you chose to learn about is going to be very much based on your aims for your photography. For example, do you want to end up 'copying' photography styles (useful if you plan a career in certain photography jobs) or do you want to be more unique and develop your own recognised style?

If you look at any magazines, websites, etc - the one thing with photographs that tends to be common is that so many look exactly the same. If you want to stand out as being a great photographer, then learning to 'copy' these folks probably isn't the way forward.

Then think of the photographers who do stand out, and very often it is because they haven't 'followed the rules'. They have taken risks and tried something different.

What I would suggest for 'learning material' and pretty much an essential element to any photography style you wish to pursue are - exposure and lighting. If you can gain skills/experience in these areas then the rest pretty much falls into place as you will start to 'look at' the subject in a different way, position yourself/subject in certain positions, position lighting where it will catch highlights/shadows, etc.

Another area that I feel is crucial (but I know that not everyone agrees with this) is - learn about post processing. While a 'reasonably acceptable' image can be taken straight from the camera, it isn't allowing for the full potential of the data that the camera actually captured. Whether you shoot in RAW or Jpeg (RAW would be my recommendation) remember that a camera's processing power is going to be a fraction of what you can achieve in your computer 'darkroom'. Digital photography is not different than film photography - it needs processed. I think that because we can 'see' an image straight away on a digital camera, it takes away the emphasis for the need to do anything more with it. I wouldn't get caught up in that way of thinking or you will tend to churn out lovely 'snapshots'.

Another BIG challenge that you are likely to come up with is the fact that so many of us have been conditioned by what we have read, seen in magazines, etc into thinking what a 'good photo' should look like. Therefore it could be argued that many responses made by folks are going to be 'blinkered' (and I don't mean that in a bad way or negative criticism about anyone ) Again it relates back to what I was saying about the 'style' of photography you wish to pursue - a copier or an innovator? Nothing wrong with either, but it is something worth thinking about.

I can see what you were trying to achieve with your photos, so there was a degree of planning. What might have been useful to do was to review the photos immediately on the camera and decide if you achieved what you wanted, and if not, take more until you got the right result. This in my view is one of the best learning experiences you will get because it is unique to YOU, and YOU would be solving the problem. Never be afraid to play with camera settings either. If a photo is too dark then think of ways the get it brighter (e.g. add a fill light, lower the shutter speed, widen the aperture, etc) Often a combination of these are needed. The key thing to remember is that, in basic terms, all you are trying to do with your photograph is allow the right amount of light to get into your camera and fall on the sensor. Whilst sometimes we get lucky, it rarely happens on the first shot. The first shot/s are usually the tests to see what we need to do. As we develop our skills/knowledge and competence the number of test shots will probably decrease as we will be able to get to the settings we need 'faster', but never underestimate the importance of taking these test shots. If your camera has a 'tonal histogram' , learn how to use it as it is one of the most valuable 'tools' in a digital camera

The most important advice I would give is - take control of your camera and 'tame it' Get it to do what you want, and don't let it give you what it wants (i.e. get it out of 'auto everything' a.s.a.p)



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