A Little Help & A Little Critique ?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by SiCk, Feb 7, 2006.

  1. SiCk

    SiCk TPF Noob!

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    First of all i've been doing this for maybe 3 - 4 months now, and I've heard some good comments on my stuff, but personally i'm not a big fan of my own work except for the odd shot or 2 that i love to bits.
    Mainly This one and This One, So where i am now, i'm sort of stuck, do i keep shooting and hope to find my own style that i'll learn to love? or do i start imitating other photographers that i love and hope to develop my own from that? Or do you see a trend in my photos so far? As i dont...

    Http://www.wakeuphate.com/ Is The Site, dont critique it, i know its a festering pile of crap, so just stick to harshing the photos :)


    The second problem i have is how do i start getting bigger gigs for shooting? Do i contact promoters? The bands themselves? Local Magazines? I'm currently in Northern Ireland, and to my knowledge there are maybe 3 other people that i know of that are Very good photographers in this business in Belfast. Mainly: Iona Bateman , Graham Smith and Gavin Millar All awesome in their own right. But i want to be one of those photographers everyone knows and i want bands to approach ME to take photos for them. Even if its only local bands! , However some of the good news is that bands are starting to know me, Belfast is a small place and Word is already spreading, I've had bands email me right after a gig without me telling them my email address or name... which means im getting spread by word of mouth.

    Am i asking too much here? Or how should i go about doing what im doing?

    At the moment my equipment exists of:
    Canon 300d ( with the 20d firmware hack )
    Canon Vertical Battery Grip
    Canon 18-55
    a Crappy CF card. ( soon to be upgraded due to slowness. )


    and When it gets delivered a Fisheye Filter for the 18-55, as i cant yet afford a full fisheye lens.
    The other problem im having is the question in my head asking " How much post-processing should i be doing? " At the moment all i do is Open the image, Drop the curves a little to darken out the grain that i sometimes have to work around due to the high ISO needed at times, resize it and frame it. Should i be doing more to my photos? and if so what like? Any Tips?
    Another thing was should i invest in a Speedlite for my camera? i feel the default pop-up flash on the 300d is far too bright. Or should i just diffuse the one i have with some homemade materials?

    Sorry about so many questions.. I'm a confused IT Technician that needs out of the IT business and into the Photography Business.
     
  2. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    One of the best photo classes I've taken was called "Finding Your Style". The instructor took a very basic approach, but I found it to be really helpful.

    Style is nothing more than the choices we make consistantly. It could be b&w, grainy, lots of motion, high-contrast, etc.; or it could be super-saturated color, street life, low-ISO, wide DOF, etc.; or any combo. The trick is finding the right combination of elements that expresses what you want to say.

    Getting what you want to say to the conscious level can be hard work, and I won't get into that, but this will work on the subconscious level, too.

    Go to the library or the book store with a notebook. Look through a bunch of the photo books there. For every image that really stands out to you (you love it, not just like it), make a list of the elements that make up that image.
    Color or b&w?
    What is the subject?
    What is the distance to the subject?
    What focal length? (wide, normal, telephoto)
    What is the aperture? (shallow DOF, medium, or is everything in focus?)
    Does anything stand out, like...
    Very high or low contrast?
    Very high or low saturation?
    Slow shutter for motion blur?

    Spend some time looking at each image and write down what you can. Once you have a good number of images you've got data for, go through and note how many times each element appears in your lists. If a shallow DOF and a slow shutter speed appears at the top, those would be elements of your prefered style. You build your style by making these choices consciously before even pressing the shutter button.

    I've gotten so that I can look at a scene and know how it will look as a b&w image with shallow DOF, high-contrast, large areas of light and dark (not a lot intermixed), involving people in an isolated moment, available light (no flash), etc. This is my style. I used to make these choices by accident. Sometimes they would be there and sometimes not. Now, I'm more likely to get the image I want because I actively makes these choices. I can also apply them to other subjects. I usually do people, but I can make a landscape that looks like "mine" by applying the same style elements. There may not be people, but there will be a feeling of limited isolation.

    I'd also spend some time trying to figure out why you like these elements. That will help you figure out others that you can use that you might not have been thinking of. Not only will the image become much more cohesive because the different elements will be supporting the same vision, but so will your body of work.

    This doesn't mean that you can't work in a variety of styles, but my feeling is that an image is much more effective if it has a single strong vision behind it that informs the decissions made to produce it. You can make a very effective series by giving all of the images a single style.
     
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  3. SiCk

    SiCk TPF Noob!

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    Thats some amazing reading mark :D thankyou very much, i may just goto the library the next chance i get :) thanks for the insight, even if it is from a deranged madman :p
     
  4. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    No prob. Most of that was what I learned from Kurtis Kracke.
     

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