Making Magic Happen
Something that really gets to me sometimes is that there are so many people out there who genuinely believe that all you need to be a photographer is an SLR camera and you’ll magically be taking amazing professional quality photos with the push of a button. Unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth and in this post I’m going to do my best to explain to you what it takes to get yourself on the right path to becoming a better photographer.
~ HAVING A PHOTOGRAPHIC EYE ~
This might be one of the most important skills you need as a photographer, possibly even more important than having the skill to use your equipment believe it or not. The reason I say this is because I have seen some of the most amazing shots come out of something as simple as an iPhone. The camera does not make the photograph no matter what you believe, its all you. Think of it like this, say your an aspiring guitar player. Now, if you go right out and buy a $2,000 guitar for your first one will that make you any better of a guitar player than if you just bought the cheap $250 guitar? The answer to this question is no as you may have suspected. Same goes for a photographer. We all know how to take pictures but it takes something special to be a photographer. You need to develop a photographic eye and learn how to see the world in a whole new way. You need to learn how to see the beauty of the world through the lens of your camera. I’m not gonna go into the details of this right now because thats not what this post is about but I may do a piece on this soon because this is a very important skill to acquire if you want to have any chance of making it as a photographer.
~ KNOWING YOUR EQUIPMENT ~
One of the things that bothers me the most about people thinking they are photographers is the way a lot of people tend to go about it. I see so many people spend crazy amounts of money on high end D-SLR’s and then they just go ahead and throw that bitch into full auto and start snapping away. Now don’t get me wrong, thats all fine and dandy if thats what you wanna do and I’m not here to put you down. What I’m getting at is that if you are one of those people than you my friend are not, I repeat, NOT a photographer. You need to learn how to use your camera without the camera making all the decisions for you. ISO, shutter speed, f-stop all important settings that can effect your exposures and/or the final outcome of the shot. Those three settings put together make up the “exposure triangle” and each and every one of them is a very very important setting to learn. I shoot in pretty much nothing but full manual mode and the reason for that is I have total control of every aspect of my shot. Which gives me a higher quality and more custom end result. For example its sunset and I want to catch a scene but the light of the day is getting very dim. I need a fast shutter speed but its so dim out that I cant go above 1/60th of a second without underexposing while at ISO 100 and f5.6. So to compensate for the lack of light I can do a few thing I could either raise my ISO to lets say 400 ISO or I could lower my f-stop to maybe f2.8. making those things to either or both of those setting would allow me to raise my shutter speed to an acceptable level, maybe around 1/200th of a second. But now heres the kicker, changing any of those settings comes at a cost. Higher ISO could mean more noise or grain in my shots, while lower f-stop could give me a shallower depth of field. It’s a delicate balancing act that eventually you get the hang of after much learning and trial and error but I promise you that you will notice a huge improvement in your photos after learning the exposure triangle.
~ COMPOSING YOUR SHOTS ~
As any good artist knows, a good work of art has to have great composition. There must be a focus to your piece. If you have to explain your shot to people then its not a good composition. There should be a subject matter or feeling/emotion conveyed in each and every shot you take. Photography truly is an art form and so many people fail to realize how much thought and work can go into each and every photo. This one is a biggie. Reason being is even a little kid can pick up a camera point it at something at take a shot. But framing your shot to give it purpose and a focus or subject matter can make the difference between an amazing photograph or a random snap shot. Now that being said there are rules you must first learn in order to do this properly.
First off there is the simplest rule of them all, the rule of thirds. Whats the rule of thirds you ask? Well, simply put you divide your frame into 3 sections left to right and 3 sections top to bottom forming a grid. The goal is to place your main subject into a third of the frame while using the rest of the frame to create interest in your shot. Heres an example of how this could look…
Now notice by placing the eye of the bee in the cross section to the top right of the frame it creates interest in the shot by placing your main subject off center. If you placed the bee directly in the middle of the frame that would be a boring shot in most cases, although sometimes using the center of the frame is acceptable. Most of the time the rule of thirds will be your best friend while learning to compose interest in your photos.
There are also other more advanced rule wich I’m not going to go into right now as they are a bit more complex to explain such as the golden spiral but thats for another time. For now practice using the rule of thirds and over time you will notice much more interest in your shots and maybe even start making your friends jealous of your mad photo skills.
~ BE PASSIONATE ABOUT SHOOTING ~
As with anything you might do, if you don’t enjoy what your doing it will usually show in your work. The great thing about photography is that is fun and beautiful and enriches people lives. Lets face it, photography is an art form just as much as painting or drawing is. Take photographs of things that you enjoy, things that inspire you. Have as much fun with it as you can. This is a point I can not stress enough. You must have a passion for the type of photography you choose to do and the options are limitless so there is a style of photography out there for everyone. You just need to try as many styles as you can and eventually you’ll stumble upon one that really gets your creativity flowing. Some people find it right away and for others it takes longer but I promise once you find it you’ll be glad you did.
~ CONCLUSION ~
So I hope this post has given you guys a little insight into what it takes to get into photography. Just remember, being a photographer is way more than just going out and buying a nice camera and running around snapping random pictures. Being a photographer means having a love and passion for the art form behind it, constantly staying in touch with your creative side and always looking for the beauty in everyday places and objects. It also means countless hours of endless learning and studying new techniques… Practice, practice and more practice.
"Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph."
- Matt Hardy
Hey people and welcome to the official blog for GT Photography! I was sitting around bored at work today and thinking to myself that I need to do something more with my personal photography and I figured whats better than sharing it with all you wonderful people out there on the web?! Well… Nothing, obviously (pshh). So here it is, Over Exposed.
This blog will be covering such topics as:
- My latest and greatest new shots (which is why wer’re all here, lets face it)
- Reviews of equipment I have the pleasure of getting my grubby hands on
- Accounts of my exciting photographic adventures
- Photography tips, tricks and advice
- A candid view into my crazy slightly warped mind
- Answering your questions about photography