The more you know (about great photography) the less pictures you take?

Started Feb 12, 2014 | Discussions thread
Glen Barrington
Glen Barrington Forum Pro • Posts: 19,679
Stop whining, and grab your camera - start taking photos - DO SOMETHING.

trale wrote:

Over the last couple months, I've been watching "The Grid" series of videos put out by photoshop guru Scott Kelby and his pals.

I've learned a great deal from these videos, particularly from the critiques that they do, like this one . I've learned many of the ingredients of great (not just good) photo, elements like:

  • Good lighting
  • Good time of day
  • Interesting location
  • Interesting subject
  • Good composition
  • The right moment
  • Interesting perspective
  • Eliminating distractions
  • Good post processing

All the top photos on sites like 500px invariably demonstrate many (if not all) such elements. No doubt this will improve the output of my own photography in the future. But there seems to be a few drawbacks. For one, now when I revisit some of the photos I've taken in the past - photos that I was once very proud of, they now look mundane. I can pick them apart and describe all the things "wrong" with them. This is a humbling feeling.

This is progress. All you need to do is figure out how you could have made them better.

The other drawback is that I feel less inclined to take photos over-all. If you watch enough of The Grid, you get the sense that if you don't happen to be at an interesting locale, with an interesting subject, at just the right time of day (near sunrise / unset), you might as well not bother taking out your camera.

That's the wrong lesson, I think. It's what you BRING to the location that makes it 'interesting'. If you are in a boring place, it's because you have no passion for that place.

Unless I'm willing to go to such lengths to do the necessary legwork to purposely situate myself in the right location at the right time, many of the shots I take on a normal basis is classified (as they call it) "snap-shots", even if I do have some of the other elements.

Well, Duh! There is a reason another phrase for a photographer's portfolio, a body of WORK. You are allowing your spiritual malaise make you. . . well, sorry, but the word is lazy.

One thing they do emphasis over and over is that your gear (price of your camera) is NOT one of the crucial elements of a great photo. I suppose this is to encourage those with entry-level DSLRs and the like. That's fine, but when they suggest "you gotta go to the right spots" which invariably means travel costs, the cost of gear seems to pale in comparison.

I take pictures of the freakin' prairie for crying out loud. That's an enormous field with grass. I get good pictures because the prairie MOVES me. If nothing moves you, pictures you care about don't get made. You need to find some passion. I can't tell you how to do that.

Your thoughts on this?

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