Monday, April 12, 2010
10 Things New Photographers Should Know—04/12/10
What I wish I had known when I got my first camera
1. Carry your camera a lot. There’s an old adage that you should carry your camera all the time. That may not be practical for everyone, but if you can carry your camera as often as it’s convenient you’ll find yourself seeing like a photographer better and faster. And that means you’ll start taking better pictures sooner.
2. Keep it simple. Be it compositions, lenses, special effects and any number of things, remember that photographically speaking, less can often be more. Don’t just take bad photos and then apply every photo filter you can think of. Concentrate on doing one simple thing well in every photo.
3. There are rules. Learn them. Then learn to break them. My suggestion for breaking rules doesn't mean you should skip the “learn the rules” stage. It’s a crucial one, as with practice it will help to understand composition and visual storytelling more intuitively.
5. Don’t think, “I’ll fix it in Photoshop.” This mistake is easy to make. I still find myself doing it all the time. But if you can fight the urge to make due in a later step, you’ll find yourself making better pictures too. Think of it this way: If you settle during shooting and spend your post time “fixing,” you’re a step behind. A great photographer makes it as ideal as possible during shooting, then uses that postproduction time to make the image even better.
6. Learn the digital stuff. You don’t have to become a computer master, but you do need to understand the basics. It may have been that you were very comfortable with film photography, and even the techniques that went into making analog photographs. But times have changed, and if you don’t get comfortable with “the digital darkroom” you’ll spend way too much time fighting with the “digital” parts and not enough time working with the “photography” parts. Plus, much of the power of digital comes from empowerment; the tools have the capabilities to create the images we envision—but only if we know how to put them to use.
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