Gosh, does time fly. It's been months since my last blog post, owing quite a bit to 10th grade and other activities. However, I'm back with a new, special post on what makes me tick behind the lens!
Take this as my guide to hobbyist digital photography. I hope you enjoy it!
Find something interesting to photograph: While this might sound obvious, this is probably one of the most difficult things to accomplish in photography. A photo is a work of art: it needs to convey feelings, emotions, and beauty. If you don't have anything which can capture any of those three important guidelines, chances are you will end up with a dull photo. Photography isn't all about luscious landscapes or crafted close-ups. If you have a good degree of imagination, you can make anything look like a professional grade photograph, which brings me to my second point.
Be imaginative: It's good to have a hard drive worth of photos shot at landmarks all over the world, but to be honest, you don't need that to be a good photographer. Imagination is probably the best thing that can change a common photo into a modern masterpiece. Just look outside your window. If you look closely and carefully for long enough, you'll definitely find something that can make an excellent photograph. Mess around with perspectives and your camera's settings and shutter times, and see what you get!
You don't need the best camera to take good photos: Don't get me wrong here, you're never going to get a high-grade photo from your 5-year old smartphone's camera. However, while it is no myth that a Canon 5D Mark III will consistently outperform your handy digital point-and-shoot camera, there's so much more to photography than just the camera and lens. Photographers need to have a good eye for detail and if you're not blessed with that, you can say farewell to all the awesome photos you thought you were going to shoot with your new DSLR. Having an eye for detail results in some wonderful photographs even with the most mediocre of cameras. I wouldn't call my Canon SX1-IS PowerShot (the camera which I've used to photograph all the photos posted on this blog) mediocre: it's actually a pretty good digital prosumer, but it's true that there are a huge bunch of DSLRs which exceed it in image quality.
However, if you are fortunate enough to own a high-end camera and you have a passion for photography, chances are that you will be shooting like a pro in no time. A lower end camera won't offer you all the advanced features a prosumer/DSLR offers, but it'll do just fine for capturing most photos. Don't forget to keep lighting in mind, lighting conditions are very detrimental to taking good photos.
- Learn about your camera: This is very important. You might say, "Hey, my camera's got a brilliant Automatic mode, I don't need to learn about nerdy photography terms!" While it is true to an extent that camera nowadays are getting smarter and are able to deliver quality pictures even with minimal adjustment, you should learn about photography lingo right after you get comfortable with your camera. Why do you need to get comfortable first? That's because getting swamped with all the things you need to know to photograph with reasonable quality, isn't really the best way to start off your career in photography.
Just to give you a quick example, learn about terms such as: f-stops for Aperture, Shutter Speed (both are very important), ISO Film, digital noise, chromatic aberration, focal lengths, light metering, and the golden combination of all these things that make a good photo! A good photographer needs to thoroughly understand and know all these things to figure out how each one affects one another. Although it may seem daunting at first, I can tell you from personal experience that all it needs is just a few rounds of taking photos for one hour and a little bit of reading.
- Get out there!: Photos are never going to shoot themselves You need to be behind the camera and you need to be ready to experiment a lot to have a collection of quality photographs. It can seem impossible to take a good photo at times, but not everything can be photographed just the way you might want it to be. Learn from your own experiences and read up on how you can improve. I can safely bet with you that your experience will teach you more about photography than I, or any book can!
If you've been patient enough to read all this, I wish you the best of luck in diving into the wonderful world of digital photography!
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