When you get to a certain point in your photography, those snapshots that you are so accustom to taking are no longer going to cut it for you. You will tire of the uneven horizon lines and the blown out foreground elements that hold your eye for far too much time. You will soon become bored with the merging subjects and the partial body parts that have become your signature look.
At this point, you will finally break down and try to learn something about that gadget that has been in your hands for well over a year?? You may even find yourself on a quest to learn the intimate relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO that is required to shoot in manual mode. You’ll talk to other photographers and read just about anything you can get your hands on; you may even try to read the owner’s manual. Your thirst for knowledge will not stop there. You’ll spend hours upon hours sorting through a myriad of images on the internet trying to figure out what you are doing wrong.
You will, along the way, spend a lot of money getting the latest, greatest gear. But knowledge is the single best thing that you can bring into the field with you. The big secret in photography is simple, know your gear and how to use it. Yes, it really is that simple. Learn it all inside out and backwards. I can’t tell you how many times I have pointed out a great situation to a client and they will spend way too much time changing their settings or debating on whether or not to change their lens or teleconverters; by this time, the shot is gone.
Understanding the technical aspects of photography is very important and often overlooked. Exposure, exposure, exposure, the light, the light, the light… has to be paramount. Understand the camera’s meter and how it works and reviewing and reading your histogram is so very important to the overall success of your images. Complete and total knowledge of your camera will give you freedom; that freedom will allow you to concentrate on other things in the field.
Composition is more than placing your subject in a rule of third position or having a clean background. It’s about seeing the visual flow and weight of your scene and /or subject. It’s about putting together the elements or ‘puzzle pieces’ in a way that will greet your viewer and walk them through the scene highlighting the important aspects of the shot along the way.
After more time in the field than you’ll care to remember, bruises in places you won’t want to mention. After sleepless nights and early morning calls with long, long drives, over and over again. After 1000’s of hours at the computer and countless hours researching your subject you will finally get to a point where you can eventually breath. It will all come together…
One day you will awake to a new and fresh way of capturing your images, you will craft them. You will become the mastermind behind the lens, orchestrating everything right down to how many blades of grass will or will not be included in the scene. You will take into account every single element. Your backgrounds will become as important to you as the subject you are photographing. Gone will be the days of haphazardly snapping away with a Hail Mary playing repeatedly in your head.
Looking for new gear-check out my B&H link…
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