Do I have potential?

Started Jan 23, 2014 | Discussions thread
Vector12 Contributing Member • Posts: 560
Re: Do I have potential?

NewGirlLiz wrote:

I've been following this forum for a few weeks now, and have learned so much already. I would now like to take a new step and ask for some feedback on some photos of my own.

Please bear in mind - I only upgraded from point and shoots a few months ago. I shoot all pics as jpegs and I have not as yet learned anything about post processing. I am not sharing these photos as examples of fine photography, and I am extremely shy about displaying them in the same forum that so many amazing photos are shared. But I figure that everyone started somewhere and I think it would be amazing if some of you brilliant photographers had any words of wisdom that could help me develop what is quickly becoming a passionate obsession.

I guess what I'm asking is - do you see any potential in these photographs? Do you think that with learning - including learning about post processing further down the line - and with lots of practice, I have got something that could be built on to become a decent photographer one day? What am I doing right? What am I doing wrong? What can I do to get better?

I don't have any grand ambitions. I don't want to be a professional photographer. I'd love to share my photos more widely one day, but at this point I just want to learn, learn, learn!

Many thanks for your time. Here are the pics. Mostly taken with EM1 & 12-40 lens. A couple taken on a compact in there too. I hope I haven't posted too many. I wanted to give a good selection of the kind of thing I shoot.

Thanks again and best wishes,


I hope an honest opinion will be useful. #3 is in many respects quite an interesting photograph. I think it would work better in a squarer aspect ratio. Shot #2 is in an obvious shot to take. That you recognised that strikes me as a good thing. Most of the others seem to me to be reasonably nice snapshots, but not of any special interest photographically. You could get a lot more out of 2 with some thoughtful post processing. 3 has a nice look, but aside from a change in aspect ratio, I'd consider working on the sky a little bit. The grass is very saturated and the sky washed out to the point that the thin cloud is hard to see.

Your photographs look composed, and I mean that in positive sense and a negative sense. The positive sense is that you've paid attention to lines, textures, colours, and the spatial relationship of objects in the photos. In the negative sense, it looks like you've done all that. The fact that you can actually compose a photograph puts you leagues ahead of many photographers, and it's the foundation to build on.

Some free advice, that's worth all that you're paying for it, is to do two things. One is to read a good basic introduction to digital photography. It can be really simple, but you'll learn all sorts of things. I like one by Tom Ang, called Digital Photography or something similar (maybe Digital Photography Essentials). On the technical side, it will tell you things that would take a long time to learn by trial and error. On the creative side, he has a number of views about how to think about composing a photograph. One doesn't have to agree with him to benefit from reading someone's take on seeing certain scenes as possible photographs. No doubt there are many good choices, as far as introductions go.

The second piece of advice is to think about why you're taking a picture, at least when it's something like the second shot in the series, where nothing is moving around. The feature of that scene that strikes me as most interesting is the shifting yellow tones going from the pier wall to the sand to the water. They follow each other nicely in a curve off to the distance. The stuff in the distant background isn't very interesting, so I might crop tighter on the right. It might also be interesting to think about the image in monochrome. Because the yellow wall stands out strongly against the blue sky, much of one's attention is focused on the colour contrast. Yet, it's not that interesting a colour contrast per se. The wall's texture is interesting, and it's different to the sand's, which is different to the water's. Consequently, it might be an interesting image to work on in black and white, or at least to de-saturate. You could fiddle with the contrast, too, to see what brings out the tonal range. When you take a shot like that, it's worth asking what's interesting about it. The answer in that case is plenty, but you then want, in the final image, to figure out how you want to bring out those interesting features. Over time, the relationship between judging a scene to be of photographic interest and determining what to do with the final image will become more closely bound up.

At any rate, it seems to me that it's worth keeping at it. If you put the effort in to grow as a photographer, you'll end up with strong results. You've got a good intuitive foundation, and there is no substitute for that.

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