HOW DO YOU SERIOUSLY BECOME A GREAT PHOTOGRAPHER?
IF I ASKED YOU THIS QUESTION, MOST OF YOU WILL PROBABLY TELL ME A FEW ANSWERS AS TO WHY YOU DON’T BECOME A SERIOUS PHOTOGRAPHER. WHAT IS A SERIOUS PHOTOGRAPHER IN THE FIRST PLACE? IS IT A PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER? MAYBE! IS IT A PHOTOGRAPHER THAT WHEN HE OR SHE GOES OUT AND TAKES PICTURES, EVERY ONE OF THEIR PICTURES COMES OUT GREAT? IS THAT WHAT A SERIOUS PHOTOGRAPHER IS? WHAT KEEPS YOU FROM CREATING GREAT PHOTOS? THAT IS THE QUESTION THAT WE WANT TO DISCOVER TODAY.
YOU HAVE SEEN ALL THE BASIC TOPICS OF HOW TO TAKE GOOD PHOTOS. THE COMPOSITION TECHNIQUES, UNDERSTANDING THE DETAILS OF YOUR CAMERA: SHUTTER SPEEDS, APERTURE SETTINGS, AND ISO SETTINGS, ETC. SO, THEN YOU GO OUT AND TAKE PICTURES AND YOU LOOK AT THEM AND YOU GO….. BLAHHH! I DON’T LIKE MY PHOTOS! HOW CAN I TAKE PHOTOS THAT PEOPLE WILL WANT TO SEE, OR HANG ON THE WALL, OR EVEN BETTER: PAY FOR?
1- Confidence –
I don’t care who you ask that is either a self proclaimed professional, or a just a good serious photographer, they will all tell you the biggest hurdle you must overcome is gaining confidence in yourself. Whoa, that is a big one. So, how do you do that? Well, you do that by doing the things you do know, and focus on that, and run with that. Say you know how to take pictures of your kids really well. All of your pictures you take of your kids seems to be just amazing. So, why not look at photos of other photographers that take pictures of kids, and try that even more on your own, and you will perfect that subject until you are really, really good. Now, you are starting to develop confidence, because you will find that others will notice the great work that you do. The one thing I really loved doing when I was starting to take photos in the beginning was that I loved taking close-ups of anything, and I got really good at it.
Find out what you love to do, and keep doing it until you have the confidence in that subject.
2- Develop a new style of your own from what you love to do.
Now that you found that you are good at this one subject, what you will find is that you are taking pictures just like another photographer. This is the time to do some experimenting, and develop a style that is unique to you. I think of the person who took baby photos for a long time and then decided that they would put these newborn infants in a large Santa Sock. How unique is that, and then everybody wanted that photographer to take a picture of their new baby in the new Santa sock. And a new tradition and style was born. So, as you take pictures of your kids, think of something that is unique to you, the posing, the place you take of your kids, the way you take them, maybe using a filter to do it, or whatever, think about something that sets you apart from the other photographers. And then practice, practice, and practice. Take pictures several times a week, then increase it to daily if you can. Then you will not go anywhere without your camera. Then you will get into the habit of looking for opportunity. And that brings up the next step:
3- Action conquers Fear:
This is a simple thing to think about: The more you do, the more you conquer your fear. I am friends through Facebook of a photographer who decided to set a goal to take a photo every day and post his daily photo in a “LIKE’ page he created himself. Now, could you post something every single day? The name of the “Like” page is: 366daysphoto. (There is an extra day in 2016). If you want to check it out, you should do so. Force yourself to do something crazy like that and then try to find something to take pictures of every day. You will get good.
Obviously, the point of this subject is to practice, because that will conquer the fear that you may have in taking pictures. Ahhh, but you are thinking: what if I am no good? Then that brings up the next point:
4- You must continue to study and learn from good photographers or good learning sites.
I love my doctor. It amazes me the knowledge he has about medicine. The interesting thing is that he graduated from medical school over 25 years ago. How does he keep up to his trade? By continuing to study and learn from people in his field. And so should you. That is the one reason this blog exists. And that is why I continue to use articles from photographers other than myself. I let you know as I put forth these articles who the authors of these teaching articles are. I have several articles here myself, and I hope you all learn from these people. Read and study from these people and find out the details of how they took those photos. Even now in my weekly “Photos of the Week” I am commenting a lot of how the photos are taken. So everyone can learn how they are taken, if I can figure it out. But, I study each photo carefully to try to figure out how that photo or photos were taken. In order to get better, to gain the photography excellence you want, you must continue to learn from other photographers. I have on my Facebook friends list, a bunch of professional photographers, friends I have met and worked with before. And these are people who I can still learn from today. (Thanks everyone). So, when I go and take photos, I will remember what I have been taught by these people.
5- There are countless Facebook groups and “Like” pages to associate with to get feedback on your own photos.
After you have gone through some of the above steps, then you are ready to become associated with groups that have the same interest as you on Facebook or Twitter, or Pinterest. There are groups that you can submit your photo and ask for critique. People on those groups are very nice, and do not belittle you. They want to help you become even better. Actually, when you get to that point, you will be amazed at the work you will see, and how well you really are doing.
Here are a few “LIKE” pages I think you should affiliate with to learn by, and associate with:
* Street Photography
* Wonders of Nature
* Excell Photos
* Pentax Forums
* Digital Photographer magazine
* Popular Photographer magazine
Then if you would like to join some groups that you could have some of your photos judged by others:
* 100% Free Photos
* Life in Black And White (if Black and White photography interests you)
* Photo Nerds Universtiy
I am sure I have missed some. But, these are some that I am familiar with as of this writing. And I am sure I will join more myself. But, try to join these LIKE pages and groups just so you can continue to learn and get better information, and “rub shoulders” with other photographers.
6- Take your camera everywhere
Take my camera everywhere? Everywhere? Really? Yes, if you want to be good, you will. I have a camera in my car always, wherever I go. You never know when you will see someone, or something that you just have to have your camera. On the street, some interesting face: “can I take your picture, please?” You have to just have that camera ready. The perfect sunset. Oh, I wish I had my camera. A car accident that you just witnessed…. you could be the one to provide the attorney’s with the best photos of the accident scene. “Road Rage”…. you can flip you camera to video and get something recorded for the police. They say there is always someone somewhere with a camera. It might as well be you.
7- Re-shoot old photos.
This is my favorite part. Take a look at some of your first photos you took.
Now, take some time and see if you can take it over. What would you do different? Is there anything wrong with what you did? How would you correct it? Could you get some tips from another photographer to help you? Or, by the time you get to this step, is it obvious now? That is what I am hoping for. So, take a look at some of your old photos and do them over and see how much you have improved. You will be amazed to see how that will boost your confidence.
So, that is it. If you have more questions about photography, stay on this blogsite, because there is new information almost daily. I am trying to cover photo tips for the new photographer as well as the more advanced photographer. So, you can learn it all right here.
“What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”— Karl Lagerfeld
This article written by: Lanny Cottrell
That is some of the most beautiful sites in the world, but, yet so hard to see. It is too bad they are hard to get to, or to costly. But, if you can get there, as a photographer, you will have photos that will certainly be rare. I hope you enjoyed this gallery of photos and hope you will hit the “LIKE” button and stay with us for more incredible photos.
This special presentation of these photos was originally put on the internet by:
One hundred years ago, making photographs in black and white was a technical limitation; today it is a creative choice. It is somewhat ironic that after a century of scientific development to deliver cameras capable of capturing the world full of rich textures and colors, so many of us have returned to making images in mono. Why would that be?
The 21st century has been a whirlwind of development in both camera/sensor technology and the processing power of our home computers. It is not too bold to suggest that most of our smartphones today are packed with more possibilities than our DSLRs were a decade ago. But, as always, contemporary tools are also full of quick fixes and automation, leaving us with both a gift and a curse. The gifts are obvious: speed, efficiency, convenience and not least, being able to bypass a lot of study and craft. However, the flip side of this is that we so often find ourselves handing our images over to the computer and failing to truly understand why it is we are making them in the first place.
The primary focus of this article is to cover the concept of Pre-Capture Visualization, that is, making a clear intention when we are in the field to make images without color. This is profoundly different from making a creative choice when we’re sat at the computer and can flip a color image into mono in seconds and decide it looks great! However, before we get to that, let’s first delve into the whole concept of why we would ever want to make images in black and white when we have so many creative possibilities in color.
Note: 2 authors viewpoints will be inserted into this article to give you the instructions necessary to understand the importance of how to make black and white photos look their best. One author will be done in the font color above, the other author will be done in a green color. Their credits will be shown at the bottom of this blog.
TO TAKE WINNING PHOTOS OF BLACK AND WHITE TAKES MORE THAN JUST SNAPPING PHOTOS AND THEN CONVERTING THEM INTO BLACK AND WHITE. THERE IS TRULY AN ART TO TAKING GOOD BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOS.
We are all unique; we all see the world as only we can see it – our perceptions, beliefs, visions, motives, and expression are all our own. Equally, our abilities to spend time in the field vary, with some limited to a few short moments at the weekend, after work, or on family vacations.
The landscape and nature work to their own agendas; the sun rises and sets, weather systems come and go, atmospheric pressures rise and fall, as do the tides and the passing of the seasons.
Do not expect nature to deliver the perfect conditions for the image you want to create at the time you want to make it.
How many variables had to align for this image to be made? Weather, tides, season, time of day, opportunity, creative vision, technical capture and processing technique, to name a few.
For years I used to measure the success of a photographic trip into nature by the images I made, and if I failed to make the image I had in my head prior to leaving the house, I would return home deflated and somehow resentful that nature had somehow let me down!
Now, I live by a far simpler mantra: shoot what is there in the available light.
Before we know it, we have found the first reason why we can shoot black and white images:
You can make successful mono images in any light.
Color is the subject in so many landscape images – often-poor compositions are compensated for with the saturation slider – adding wow and punch to the greens and reds to shock the viewer into a state of submission!
In black and white, the graphics and composition of the image are so vital, it tests the photographer, forcing them to be articulate and clear about the subject, lines of flow and balance.
1- SUBJECT MATTER
HOW WILL THIS PHOTO THAT YOU TAKE LOOK WITH THE ABSENCE OF COLOR? SOMETIMES I LOOK AT A COLLECTION OF PHOTOS AND THINK: THAT SHOULD HAVE REMAINED IN COLOR. IF IT LOOKS BETTER IN COLOR, THEN LEAVE IT IN COLOR. THAT IS A DIFFICULT DECISION TO MAKE, BUT, A GOOD BLACK AND WHITE WILL LOOK BETTER IN BLACK AND WHITE THAN COLOR. LOOK AT THE ABOVE PHOTO. THAT IS A GREAT EXAMPLE OF GREAT USE OF BLACK AND WHITE. WOULD IT MAKE A GOOD COLOR PHOTO? I DON’T SEE IT.
In the image above, the graphical elements of the image are stripped and cannot hide behind over-saturated colors. The eye takes a natural journey through a restful and simple image.
Some lighting conditions that are excellent for black & white photography include the following:
If you read between those lines, what we are saying is, many situations that people would consider non-conducive to landscape photography are ideal for making black and white images.
If you read anything I have ever written you will become familiar with the word intent. It is something I drill into every image I make and every spoken or written statement about the creative process.
If you sit a painter down with a black canvas in front of a landscape, they decide where to paint, how to paint, and why to paint. Every brush stroke has intention.
While landscape photographers may not have that degree of creative license, we can still decide what to include in the frame and very much how we want to post-process that image. We have plenty of opportunity for intention; it’s just that most choose to let the cameras or computers make creative choices for them!
By stripping our images of color, they can, in fact, be more expressive, as they lend themselves naturally to some, or all of the following intentions:
The whole genre of fine art photography rests on the shoulders of mono images, from cityscapes to bridges, architecture, lilies, portraits, and of course, landscapes. It is almost as if by stripping the world of color, the viewer truly sees it for the first time as a graphical series of shapes and tones.
We could be forgiven for being comical and saying anything is a suitable subject for black and white photography! But, some subjects do lend themselves to mono photography:
Ultimately, the choice of subject is a very personal thing, as you choose to shoot what stimulates you and help you make some form of articulate statement about that place and yourself.
Landscapes can be simple, or they can be complex, and each of those should act as a trigger to focus your creative attention. Each of those types of landscape lends themselves to different images and will ultimately have a different effect and impact on your viewer.
Taking these two examples below —one simple, one complex—try to describe each using only emotional words. How do they feel?
Looking is not the same as seeing. When we enter the landscape with a camera in our hands, more often than not we do not consider the image we are going to make. Instead, we become engrossed in the place and our reaction to it. We see a nice scene and raise the camera to record it. Later, at home, we can reflect and measure the success of our images by comparing them to the memories of the event.
Our viewers do not have that luxury of comparison; they get what we give them! Intention, again.
Our photographs are better by design; they are improved when we have a clear vision of what we want to shoot and how we want to present it to the viewers.
Black and white images can be visualized after the event, at home in front of the computer. We can select an image that is graphical, simple or naturally muted – perhaps when we were shooting in poor light, or in the middle of the day. Most DSLRs come with software that allows for mono processing and there is always Adobe Lightroom, which has an amazingly powerful array of creative tools.
Poor light or the sunset or sunrise that failed to deliver is no longer an excuse to pack up early and go home – literally at any time of the day in any light you can find simple, graphic situation in which to make wonderful black and white images full of expression and articulation.
Your images can be bright and airy, or dark and mysterious, rich in detail, or stripped down to the most basic of elements. Either way, black and white allows for a huge spectrum of emotions to be expressed.
As with any other discipline of study, we can start simple and work up to complexity – letting the camera or the computer make some decisions is fine, but in time, taking creative control of the entire process becomes easier as post-processing and creative capture techniques are added to your toolbox.
Ansel Adams made some of the most exquisite and expressive landscape images ever. Nothing has really changed—just the tools. Be inspired.