Art vs. Technique

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Tom3, Dec 8, 2008.

  1. Tom3

    Tom3 TPF Noob!

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    I have flirted with photography on and off for quite a few years; Only recently I decided I would invest the time really learn.

    Working in engineering and dealing with math all day, I don't see the technique part as being a challenge, but everything else is:
    We had family portraits made by a professional, which happens to be the friend of a friend, and what I found very interesting was her know how when it comes to scene composition, where and how to put hands, etc. She tweaked each scene a few times until everyone was doing the right thing and the results were great.

    It seems to me that learning the math behind photography is pretty easy, but the artistic part is where I feel challenged.

    Are there any good resources to learn about how to make good portraits? I found a lot of stuff on google which is either very vague or specific to one person, so I think I have to turn toward books.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    There are a million text-books and on-line articles on the subject. I'd start by going down to your local library and seeing what's on the shelves. Even if the books are 10, 20 years old, portraiture hasn't really changed, and what made a good portrait in 1975 still makes a good portrait today (Bellbottoms and afros aside of course). The problem is, you can't really 'teach' the artistic side of photography. Almost any book on general photography will include a chapter on composition. The Rule of Thirds, The Golden Mean, use of leading lines, etc. Unfortunately, once you get passed that, it's pretty much up to you.

    IMO, on of your best resources, once you understand the basic guidlines of composition (and that's all they are, guidelines) resources like this forum are one of your best learning tools. Take a picture, post it and then think about the responses. You may not agree with them, but you will learn a lot!

    Good luck!
     
  3. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Flickr search "Portraits" and steal what you see. Or if you want to get "PC" about it, "Be inspired by. . ."

    Seriously.
     
  4. Tom3

    Tom3 TPF Noob!

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    you know, this reminds me of music:

    I played for a long time, and I've met a lot of people that knew music theory, could play well, etc: good 'players', but not always good 'musicians'; having an intimate feeling about what will work or not is where the line is drawn between the pack and the good musicians.

    In music, you tend to practice with other people, therefore you learn stuff that can not really be explained / taught easily. Photography seems to be different in that aspect and, ignoring in that context theory, guidelines and technique which you eventually master, what do you turn toward for guidance?
     
  5. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Seriously. Steal other peoples work. Its what they did, and its what you should do to get inspired and to start thinking creatively. If you go out there and start trying to copy what you have seen, eventually you will start to see what they saw, and - like anyone tweaking a recipe that got from their mother or off the internet - you will begin to make modifications to the base that will eventually become YOUR own style.
     
  6. Tom3

    Tom3 TPF Noob!

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    pretty much like music then :)

    I guess one of the shots I did I like the best was when my wife and I shot a photo of Audrey Hepburn and decided to copy the style, so it seems like the way to go.

    thanks for the feedback
     
  7. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Oh thats you? Yea dude your wife is hot. Haha. Just kidding.

    No seriously she is, and she seems to not mind being in front of the camera so you should be working with that. You found inspiration from the AH photo, so run with that. Having done that photo, I'm sure you noticed something that you otherwise would have done differently. Well. Go do it differently. Then flip through some more magazines, maybe a GQ or VANITY FAIR and see what they are doing and see if something there inspires you.
     
  8. Tom3

    Tom3 TPF Noob!

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    hehe, thanks for the compliment! I'll pass it along :)
    yeah, she likes likes her picture to be taken and this helps while I fumble with my equipment and various tests:)
     
  9. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Most Wedding photographers think of shooting portraits as Technique and not Art.

    There are set formula's for positioning the subject, background, and lighting to achieve the same sellable results. A successful Wedding photographer will consistently stick with this technique ... because it sells.

    You want to learn the Techniques of posing the human body, the Techniques of Lighting, and the Techniques of composition.

    Being an Artistic photographer is a different thing altogether (in my books).
     
  10. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Mine too.

    I was a wedding photographer for years. It is craft, not art.

    It is what it is, it gives people a chance to remember their wedding... and hopefully the pictures are well shot...

    But... it ain't art.
     
  11. Tom3

    Tom3 TPF Noob!

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    that's a bit disappointing :meh:
    but it makes sense, I see the parallel a lot with music overall.

    Would it then make sense to learn the proven recipes / formulas in order to get comfortable with how things work?
     
  12. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    :addpics:
     

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