What makes you better at photography?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Illah, Oct 16, 2006.

  1. Illah

    Illah TPF Noob!

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    So I just passed 4000 shots with my D50 and and am starting to figure out all the various settings and whatnot. I went to film school so many of the basic ideas of photography were taught there, though it requires a bit of translation going from motion to still (and I wasn't a cinematography major either). As far as gear I just got a nice f2.8 zoom and feel that I'm set as far as hardware goes. So far the greatest pics I've ever taken (in my opinion) were with two separate P&S cameras so I know that gear isn't the answer.

    I've been using Photoshop for over 10 years so the 'digital darkroom' is something I know really well...my first HDR a few weeks ago was so natural looking, not like the neon-glow stuff with obvious gradation between exposures that pops up on Flickr every day. In fact, I was cleaning up photos with my P&S cams years ago before I knew what chromatic abberations were :)

    So now all that's left, as far as I see it anyway, is to improve the aesthetic quality of my images. So how does one do this? I was biking around taking pics yesterday and got some nice shots, though nothing any better than my previous stuff.

    How do you really improve? I was thinking I should just take more pics, but I feel like I could just be taking thousands of mediocre pics with no real improvement. Or I could focus on working with the many pics I already have to really get them just right. I know many photographers spend way more time after the shot to get the image how they like it.

    Any advice?

    --Illah
     
  2. darin3200

    darin3200 TPF Noob!

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    Go beyond the technical aspects of photography and start delving into the art world. Give your work perspective, look at much good photography as you can. Not on flickr, but in books by some of the best photographers of all time.
     
  3. Illah

    Illah TPF Noob!

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    Makes sense - in film school we watched a lot of movies! I'm broke and cheap though...any websites :) I've found a few here and there but would love recommendations.

    --Illah
     
  4. darin3200

    darin3200 TPF Noob!

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    Yeah actually movie are good, especially well done indie films are good inspiration.

    Websites I'd recommend would be magnum in motion and VII photo. And good through this list and look into those photographers work.

    All try to do things that you don't normally do in terms of photography. If you're a nature photographer do portraits, if you're a macro photographer do lanscape. By switching up you challenge yourself and help to break a sort of auto-pilot shooting style
     
  5. slickhare

    slickhare TPF Noob!

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    i second that. i've been breaking away from my traditional style for a while now after i lost my artistic inspiration... i've also kinda stopped coming here for a bit (well a little more than a bit i guess...) to kinda break away from being so involved in everyone elses work and get more in touch with my own vision. i feel like i was trying to hard to "make a good shot like ". good luck to you whatever you decide to do.
     
  6. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Once you get the mechanics of your gear nailed down, what's left is subject choice, lighting and composition. In photography, it's easy to waste lots of time learning the fine points of the equipment. That's time lost to learning how to make better prints. It's an easy trap to fall into -- the camera and accessory manufacturers [without whom we would still be making tintypes] are in business to sell you equipment, not to make you a good photographer.

    When a carpenter drives a nail, he pays little attention to the hammer he uses. Initially, he selected his hammer with care, but then he gets down to the business at hand -- building something.

    Hit the library and get hold of any books for artists which cover these topics. Read, look and learn.
     
  7. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Some people have an innate talent for design, art and esthetics. I am not one of those people. I make good photographs just because I spent a half century learning what good photographs are. Since good photographs are those that elicit an emotion in the viewer you can be guided by your own emotions. There are some rules of thumb for graphic design and you can get those from a book. But it is the impact that images have on viewers that determines their worth. Make lots of photographs and pay attention to the ones that impact you and others emotionally.
     
  8. kkart

    kkart TPF Noob!

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    Some good advice on this so far! I have to agree with everything said! Also, one other thing, study the Fine Arts, as in Painting and illustration. If you want to totally master composition, study fine art landscapes. There is nothing more you will really need. This site here http://www.wildlifeart.org/Rungius/intro_movie.html is simply invaluable. Bookmark it.
     
  9. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    A lot of this is repeating others, but I agree. Learn as much as you can about art and design in general. Simple things like form, line, and color have a big impact. Visit a library or bookstore and browse the greats. Try monographs so that you can become familiar with individual styles. Take some classes and workshops. Try some documentaries, like War Photographer.
     
  10. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I'll also agree with that. Photography is very similar to other visual arts in terms of how people view it. Study paintings, drawings etc....try to find out what it is that makes you like something.

    Something I found interesting, was to study Gestalt. As far as I can tell, it's has kind of a loose definition but this one works for now...
    Another exercise that supposedly helps a lot...is to try drawing your images. The thought process that you have to go through when drawing...should help you think about those things when photographing.
     
  11. Illah

    Illah TPF Noob!

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    Cool, good stuff to know. It's been a few months since I've been to the MOMA here in SF and they usually have an entire floor dedicated to photography, I might wander through there this weekend. I'm sure their bookstore is full of photo books as well.

    --Illah
     

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