Next.... for Intermediate Photographers?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Remi M., Aug 15, 2007.

  1. Remi M.

    Remi M. TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2006
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I have been shooting for a while now. I have learned allot over the past year and half. I feel that I have a pretty good understanding of the technical aspects and of basic composition. I'm not bad at using Photoshop.

    The trouble is, I feel that I'm stagnating lately. Last couple of months especially. I feel that I have become a little too formulaic. I go out for a few hours of shooting, when I come back I can usually make 1 or 2 images that are not bad. But nothing that gets me excited anymore. I don't feel like I'm getting better. I have also gradually learned that the way forward does not lay in new gear.

    My goal is to develop a unique style and a portfolio of great images, as opposed to just good ones.

    I think one way of getting better could be learning about different techniques then I have grown accustomed to. On site photography specific techniques and post-processing techniques. I would like to learn about different ways of looking at composition especially.

    I spend time looking at great photographers work for inspiration, but I find it hard to learn from them. Having a unique body of work is really important to me. I don't want to just ape somebody's work.

    It seems like it gets progressively harder to find anything of use. There are so many books and sites for beginners but hardly anything of more substance that I am aware of. I have looked around locally for photography courses but all if not most teach allot of the same stuff for beginning photographers.

    If anyone could post any suggestions for books, sites or anything to help me break out of this rut I would appreciate it.
     
  2. sabbath999

    sabbath999 No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    Messages:
    2,696
    Likes Received:
    62
    Location:
    Missouri
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Well, I won't pretend to be any kind of guru or in any way knowlegeable about fine art photography or technical stuff... so you can take my answer for what it is worth.

    Were I you, I would put the camera down and go to a good museum or two. Don't go to the photography section... rather, go to the section where they show the old masters... and then walk over to the impressionists. Check out the sculpture and then the modern art.

    Really study the old masters and the impressionists... contrast and compare the vision that the artists had... how they could take very similar subjects (still life, for example) and come up with two totally different but amazing approaches. Study how they use light, composition, and brush strokes to create their works...

    When I look at an actual painting by Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Monet, Hals or any of the hundreds of other great artists, I get inspired and entranced. Each of them found their own unique style, and created portfolios of amazing images... images that stand the test of time.

    You might give that a try.
     
  3. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2007
    Messages:
    5,327
    Likes Received:
    264
    Location:
    The Upper West Side of Mississippi (you have no i
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    What he said! And while you are there watch the brush strokes to see how they were used to catch the light and bring depth to the paintings (analogous to specular highlights in photography). And then lighting from different angles.
     
  4. It's a problem I know quite well. One of the issues that I face is time - I admire certain photographers, but I just don't have the chance to do what they do... spending months in Chinese cities, shooting large formats, for instance.

    So you need to work with the time, equipment, and environment that is available to you. One thing is to go out and try to tell a story - shoot a photo essay. You need to push yourself beyond the one or two good images. This used to be a real discipline in photography. If you came home from a trip, you were expected to give a slideshow. A GOOD slideshow. They need to be interconnected images. Think of it like a photo-journalistic effort. Check out my photo story from the Berlin Bus Terminal. This kind of work has grown out of the same frustration you have.

    Another thing is to go meet fellow photographers. We get a lot of good info online, and have a genuine community going here, but there's something about going out and shooting with fellow photographers that's absolutely invaluable. Remember Thorhammer's and my trip to downtown Los Angeles? You commented. You'll end up getting shots or exploring situations that you're usually unwilling to do alone. Plus at our age it's a great way to make new friends while getting time away from a distinctly non-photographic spouse. There are probably a number of clubs in Vancouver. There are in Berlin, though they're filled with old photo geezers who are pretty peeved about digital photography. :roll:

    Also, check out what kind of classes you can enroll in. I guarantee you there's a way to learn more. I recently completed an evening course in shooting architecture. Youcould also do some studio work. Hire some models, do some crazy outfits, etc.

    Push yourself, you'll be glad you did.
     
  5. NJMAN

    NJMAN TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2006
    Messages:
    2,104
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Far beyond the bowels of human existence...Minneso
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I can certainly relate to how you are feeling. If you are like me, you want to feel the passion and excitement of creating astounding images, and you are hungry to learn more about what it takes to become a great photographer, and not just being mediocre.

    It takes patience and an open mind to really channel your energy and find out all the small details that separate good images from out-of-this-world stunning images. As previously stated, lighting and exposure as well as composition are very important, and these are often underestimated as powerful factors. I still have a lot to learn in this department, but Im not going to give up. Dont you give up either. Keep trying to improve. Eventually, you will see something that sparks your thought processes and the stagnant feeling will pass. Good luck. :)
     
  6. Remi M.

    Remi M. TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2006
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Sabath999 and Mike:

    Thanks for that idea. When I think about it, learning from painters who have no physical constraints to base their work on, would be a good idea. Some of the work I do in post-processing ties into painting nicely.
    Good timing too, found out that the Vancouver art gallery is displaying a exhibition of european masters.

    Iron Flatline:

    Yeah shooting with another photographer is great. I have a friend that lives in a different province thats into photography. Whenever we do meet up I get allot more good shots, and end up having a better time too. Unfortunately I don't know anyone in my city thats into photography.

    I would love to take a course like you mentioned. I can't seem to find anything part time that I could take without taking time off work.

    Has anyone tried online courses and been happy with them?
     
  7. Check your local high-end camera store and see if there are any flyers pinned to the board there for courses being offered by them or pro photographers. Check the local universities for night courses. Also, contact some people from the Vancouver Photobloggers - though their site seems pretty inactive, some of the people there will know about interesting opportunities.
     

Share This Page