Become A Better Digital Photographer

Jeff Colburn

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One of the problems with digital photography is that there are no consequences for being a sloppy photographer, or just bad. You can shoot hundreds of images, and delete them all, and it doesn’t cost you a penny. There’s no monetary incentive to improve.


I went digital two years ago, but for the 33 years before that, I shot film and I believe that is one of the factors that made me a better photographer. When it costs $20 to buy and process a 36-exposure roll of slide film, you learn how to take good photographs because it’s just too expensive to keep shooting bad images that you can’t use.


If I went out and shot five rolls of film one afternoon, that was $100 out of my pocket. No matter how good or bad my images, it was still $100. That kind of expense really motivates a photographer to shoot the best images he can. I know it certainly motivated me.


To improve, I took classes, read photography books and magazines, analyzed every image I liked to see what attracted me to it. I learned all the rules, and how to break them. I did whatever I could to improve my craft, and it worked.


But how can you do this with digital when it costs no more to take 1,000 images than it does to take one? It’s simple, you add a cost to shooting. The next time you want to go out and shoot, do this:


If you want to read the rest of my article, go to my blog at http://www.TheCreativesCorner.com

Have Fun,
Jeff
 

Reeves

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Thanks for very interersting words and tips. I am pretty new myself, have only been shooting for almost a year.

But I actually feel a little bit different. I'm shure I woudn't be where I am today if I didn't have a digital slr. For me, the option to shoot A LOT of photographs, really have helped me to improve my skils. Lets say I take a picture of a leaf on the road in the afternoon. I take one shot, check it, don't like it very much, I analyce it to find out why I don't like it, I try again.
And again, and again, and again...
After shooting A LOT of frames, maby I will be happy with the result and maby not. But I've learned!

It's probably a subjective thing, but for me it've been very helpfull to have that option.
But your tips on how to grow as a photographer is very good! To go to a location pretty far away and really make an effort on each frame you take is something I shall try as soon as I can. So thanks for the tip :)
 

Vicelord John

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Hey Jeff I just saw your name on here and thought I'd say hi and thanks for the fudge!

John @ Sanctuary
 
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Jeff Colburn

Jeff Colburn

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Hi Reeves,

Yes, shoot A LOT if images is very important. The more you shoot the better you get. I just want photographers to THINK about what their shooting. Before you press the shutter, think about composition, exposure, framing, etc.

A shooting situation like you described does require you to shoot the way you describe, because once you leave you can't reshoot, as the leaf will be gone. That's why I said to choose a place where you can go back and shoot the same things over and over again until you get what you want. Each situation is different, and you have to take that into consideration. If I shoot the statue at the library and it doesn't turn out, then I just go back. If I'm shooting a forest fire (you can see some images of this on my blog at http://www.TheCreativesCorner.com) I have to get the shot the first time.

So keep shooting, just be sure that you are taking the picture, and not your camera.

Have Fun,
Jeff
 

robbie_vlad

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While I did start with digital, I definite agree with you. I've used film before and know the costs (time & money). Even when I shoot digital I don't shoot nearly as much as some other photographers I know. Just this past weekend I went to a concert with a friend who shot upwards of 750+ images and chimped after each burst (he'd hold the shutter down without looking through the viewfinder) and didn't get anything I would personally be proud of. Meanwhile, I shot maybe 250 images and have tons of good ones that I'm struggling to choose my favorites.
 

Robin Usagani

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I think now is how good you are with taking the photos so you dont have to do much PP. The more bad pictures you take, the more photos you have to go through, the more time you spend deleting. Then if the colors are not right, then the more pictures you have to edit.
 

Phranquey

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I'm going to have to disagree with the OP on this one....

I have been into photography for roughly 25 years now, making the jump to digital about 4 years ago. Being a father, my budget was usually pretty tight over the past 18 years, and there were very few times I had $100 to blow on film/processing to go out and shoot whatever I pleased just for the practice. If it was a special event, like an air show or something, I would shoot a bunch of film, and then get it processed as I could afford it. At that pace, my learning curve was very long and shallow.
As soon as my wife bought me my first DSlr (D70s), it was as if someone lifted a dark curtain... I could shoot as much as my heart desired, and I had the instant feedback from my mistakes. I no longer had to keep a field notebook to catalog my settings and attempt to corelate them with shots that I may not get back for a month or two. I was able to see the direct consequences of my mistakes, and learn how to fix them on the spot.
 
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Jeff Colburn

Jeff Colburn

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Robbie and Schwettlyens,

It was my desire that my blog post would show people how to do what you're doing. Thinking through when you shoot so you can get the images you want instead of hoping the camera can take the images you want without taking the time to learn how to be a photographer.

Have Fun,
Jeff
 

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The cost of film probably stopped a lot of wannabies in their tracks.
With the expense and learning curve, I am sure interest was lost pretty quickly.
Now we have Digital, and everyone can be a photographer!
 
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Jeff Colburn

Jeff Colburn

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I'm going to have to disagree with the OP on this one....

I have been into photography for roughly 25 years now, making the jump to digital about 4 years ago. Being a father, my budget was usually pretty tight over the past 18 years, and there were very few times I had $100 to blow on film/processing to go out and shoot whatever I pleased just for the practice. If it was a special event, like an air show or something, I would shoot a bunch of film, and then get it processed as I could afford it. At that pace, my learning curve was very long and shallow.
As soon as my wife bought me my first DSlr (D70s), it was as if someone lifted a dark curtain... I could shoot as much as my heart desired, and I had the instant feedback from my mistakes. I no longer had to keep a field notebook to catalog my settings and attempt to correlate them with shots that I may not get back for a month or two. I was able to see the direct consequences of my mistakes, and learn how to fix them on the spot.

Phranquey,

My post wasn't meant for shooters like you. Shooters who care about their photography, who worked at improving their skills and who took notes. You did, and are doing, exactly what a good photographer should do. My post was geared toward shooters like Robbi_Vlad's friend at the concert.

Once a photographer becomes serious about the craft, has a desire to learn and improve, and sees his/her images improving as time goes by, then by all means shoot until your cards are full and batteries drained.

Have Fun,
Jeff

P.S. I wasn't blowing through $100 of film for the fun of it, I was taking photographs to illustrate articles I'd written, and the publishers wanted images to go along with them. If I didn't get the most out of my shooting my profit margin dropped to zero.
 

JasonLambert

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Good idea... I may just try that tomorrow. I was planing on waking up early and heading to the park for some early light... I may wake up a bit earlier and drive a bit further. Now I just need to think of what it is I want a picture of.... Hmmm.....
 

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I just got my first SLR manual film camera... Its a oldie but its new to me... Canon FT QL... Im excited to learn to use it... come to think of it, its my first slr camera... I have a slr like digital camera, Fujifilm S1500, but am truly realizing the lack of knowledge I have when it comes to trusting yourself to snap that picture and know its right.. Its not there to view on a LCD, this to me is my biggest challenge, that and learning all about the lenses.. I think for the best benefits we need to know both manual and digital.. And I am ready to learn manual..
 

Robin Usagani

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Yay.. I just got my camera 3 weeks ago. I am turning pro tomorrow suckaaaaaa!

The cost of film probably stopped a lot of wannabies in their tracks.
With the expense and learning curve, I am sure interest was lost pretty quickly.
Now we have Digital, and everyone can be a photographer!
 

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