Things You Should be Doing.

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Alpha, Jul 3, 2007.

  1. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Number One: Read
    Read books about photography. Go to the photography section in Barnes and Noble, the library, a used book store. There's an enormous volume of work out there, most of it by people who know what they're doing and what they're talking about. Read what they have to say about everything photography, technical and non-technical alike. Don't think that books written by film photographers don't mean anything to you because you shoot with a digital camera.

    Number Two: Understand Why Good Photographs are Good
    There's no recipe here. Look at photographs taken by famous photographers. Don't just stop and say, "oh, that's beautiful" and then move on. Study them. Look at where light falls in the photo, where the shadows and highlights are, where the photographer must have been standing when the shot was taken. If there's a human subject, where he or she is looking, what exactly they are doing, or whether they are doing anything at all, where the points of focus are, where in the photo the subject is placed, etc etc. Remember these things.

    Number Three: Compare
    A lot of you say, "I want my photographs to look like such and such." But you don't go any further than taking a photo and then wondering why it didn't turn out as you had imagined. If you're taking a close-up of a flower, for example, compare it next to a photograph of a flower that is more or less objectively good. What is in that photo that isn't in yours? Ask yourself how they're different. If you can't figure out how they're different, then go back to number one.

    If you're trying to learn, and you aren't doing these things, then you're shooting in the dark. And if you think you already know how to shoot, but you haven't done them, then you've got more to learn than you think.
     
  2. Rusty_Tripod

    Rusty_Tripod TPF Noob!

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    You have expressed an opinion. Certainly, there are individuals on this site who are doing all three already. What do you say next?

    Rusty Tripod
     
  3. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Do it more. I have read countless books. Have a collection of about 20. Read magazines. Tried to imitate other's art and then apply my own twist. Play expand, see what works what doesn't.

    I consider myself pretty good already. My friends think I'm the bees knees (they are clueless as to true photographic art). But yet I find I constantly better myself, and still find out things I never knew or thought of.

    Max you missed something critical. Step Four. Develop. If you go through your life comparing to others or reading books on techniques and how tos, you will end up being just like the reference you learnt from. That is not the art of photography in my opinion. While doing the other three you must develop your own unique style. There's a few people on this very forum that are a great example of that, especially in the Wedding gallery and the Dark side gallery.
     
  4. Rusty_Tripod

    Rusty_Tripod TPF Noob!

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    Garbz, how does one go about developing a style? How do people develop their "bees knees"?

    There are individuals who visit this site who have no clue on the issue of style so what would you recommend? School? Guided practice? Thematic experimentation? Shoot, shoot, shoot? Random shooting or focused learning?

    What worked for you?

    Personally, I believe that my style originates in theme. I have a singular, regional theme that I connect with on many levels. It is documentary in a sense and it constantly challenges me to stretch, adapt, change, reconsider, and revisit. It teaches me and helps me both develop and discover myself.

    Thanks.

    Rusty Tripod
     
  5. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    Well said, Garbz. It's something important for all of us to do, and once we get better, the whole developing bit, of course, is really important. I still do it all the time. I wrote it most specifically for beginners, of the sort who keep running in place and not knowing why they're not getting better.

    And Rusty, anyone who addresses me with "You have expressed an opinion" I will not dignify with a response. Take your heckling somewhere else.
     
  6. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    Actually, I think that a good percentage of the people posting aren't doing these. Otherwise we wouldn't have people asking the same very basic questions over and over that are covered in the most basic discussions in books or educational sites.

    [tongue in cheek] I think that, in an ideal forum world, new photographers would have to sign a pledge that they have read Max's and Garb's comments and complied before they could ask any questions. [/tongue in cheek]
     
  7. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    And you could add, "Do your best to express a worthwhile idea." with your photo.

    But then as everyone has read Ansel Adams they already knew that. ;)
     
  8. hawee99

    hawee99 TPF Noob!

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    Well maybe alot of people on here are. Like me for example, I have picked up alot of books and still like to ask basic questions on here. Some people on hereare great and can offer a different angle of advice than a book. I like to recieve some more personal info and feedback from here. It feels nice to have someone directly answer your question, but I suppose it could get redundant after you've been on here for a while.....maybe
     
  9. newrmdmike

    newrmdmike TPF Noob!

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    ansel adams is not a very good writer by the way . . .

    books aren't end alls, no advice is. its just starting points, its up to you from there to decide what to do with that information. i think the more experienced you become as a photographer the less you need to rely on books or comparisons. . . or at least in direct terms, most books i read or photos i look at are to appreciate on a creative level. most reading i do is about what people put into an image . . . so i know what i have to put in to create something of that caliber.

    like max said, this is all geared towards beginners, once they are comfortable with themselves and have conquered the initial steep learning curve they can break out of the mold and figure out where they want to be, and decide what rules to follow if any. but without that initial basic knowledge i don't know what would happen . . . nothing would ever be executed to match the vision of the artist i guess.
     
  10. Rusty_Tripod

    Rusty_Tripod TPF Noob!

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    It is my expectation that individuals who should read and participate in this thread (opinion or not) are those who will not and that those who will read and respond will most likely be those who are already doing Max's prescriptions.

    I concur with Mike E's admonition to "express a worthwhile idea" simply because it is my observation that many individuals in this digital age shoot without a clear intent. A lot of the posts confirm The Traveler's belief that too many are not doing enough of the things recommended.

    I believe (at least it is my opinion) that individuals should detach themselves from their image and ask a lot of questions before deciding to post. Why did I shoot this? What is the subject? What works? Doesn't work? What do I need help with? Who really needs to see this post? Is my picture the same as 10,000 pictures of cats or lizards or whatever? How is the composition? So it is of interest historically, why should anyone care? etc. etc. etc. And of course, a lot of these questions could be found in or resolved in Max's photographer's trinity.

    But then again, it won't happen because then it won't be easy.

    Rusty Tripod
     
  11. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    I don't understand why people see it as such a chore. What lazy bastards we all are today! I find going to a used book shop and reading through old books on photography one of the most useful and enjoyable things I can do to improve my skills.
     
  12. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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