Portraits, Headshots, Fine-Art, and Post-Processing.

 

When it comes to portraits and headshots, post-processing and retouching are often hotly debated topics. Some prefer their portraits straight out of camera with little to no retouching or post-processing while others retouch extensively. We have all seen those before and after post where a number of people will state that they like the before photo better. Often this is a result of over-processing and giving the model a plastic or unrealistic look. Continue reading “Portraits, Headshots, Fine-Art, and Post-Processing.”

From Enthusiast to Photo Maker

“There is a giant chasm between the taking and making of an image.  This notion is what sets apart the amateur from the professional in my mind.

Anyone in today’s world can take a picture or a video clip.  You point the camera, hit a button and see what the processor pulls up for you.  The art (for lack of a better word) of taking a photo is being in the right place, at the right time, and getting lucky.  Continue reading “From Enthusiast to Photo Maker”

So what is the difference between a hobbyist and an enthusiast?

A photography enthusiast is just a hobbyist on steroids! It is someone whose hobby really has become a passion. These are some of the traits that I think an enthusiast has. By this time they have a really good understanding of the basic fundamentals of photography –  exposure, composition and lighting. They most certainly shoot in Manual mode  most of the the time and experiment with different creative exposures. Continue reading “So what is the difference between a hobbyist and an enthusiast?”

From PhotoTaker to Hobbyist

When you get your first camera you  are a photo taker. Most likely you will set your camera on Auto and just snap away. At the very beginning, setting your camera in Manual or one of the semi-automatic modes would probably be a frustrating experience. You want to have fun and take photos. Taking photos has been made easy with the new range of DSLR’s and point and shoots, and the various camera phones. Continue reading “From PhotoTaker to Hobbyist”

Photography: What Do I Need To Do To Get Better?

 

The above slide is my take on how someone develops as a photographer. And with each step on this journey your skills as a photographer continue to develop. Now as I have mentioned before, some never get beyond the photo taker stage. Perhaps it is because they don’t want to. They are happy just snapping away on special occasions. There is also the possibility that they are just not very good at it no matter how hard they try to improve or they just don’t know what to do to improve. But let’s just say that the photo taker wants to improve and develop photography as a hobby. What does he/she have to do to get better? Continue reading “Photography: What Do I Need To Do To Get Better?”

Does Your Camera Take Great Pictures

More than once I have had people tell me my camera takes great pictures. Of course there are  a lot of comebacks to that – yes and your stove makes great meals, or yes I taught my camera everything it knows etc. Now to be honest I don’t really ever take this to heart or take it as a comment on my ability as a photographer. As photographers we have to understand that to a certain extent that gear does matter. I think that as photographers we must realize that a great photograph is often a combination of good gear, good technical knowledge, a good understanding of the basics of photography and creative vision. And I also believe that if you have good technical knowledge, a good understanding of the basics of photography such as lighting and composition and a creative mind, that the better the gear you have the better the results you will get especially when you get into specialized photography such as food photography or architecture or portrait photography etc. Now if all you have is top of the line gear and none of the above skills your photos simply won’t be very good.

Here is a photo that was taken by my son using his i-Phone. To me this photo is all about the story – an uncle with his nephew on the beach. Could it have been better using a top of the line camera and lens? Of course, but for me this photo is all about the story, it is a moment in time caught by the camera and the photographer. To quote another cliché, “sometimes the best camera is the one you have with you”. 

So next time sometime tells you that you must have a great camera, just smile and shrug it off but also remember that when you have acquired the necessary photographic skills, better gear will mean better photos.

And Now For Some Free Resources

Photography can be a very expensive hobby. In addition to equipment you can also spend a lot of money on photography education. Books are very expensive and so are live photography instruction, and online courses and instruction.  You will see them advertised as only 14.99 a month but you could easily subscribe to a number of courses and instructors depending on your focus of interest. There are some quality  online courses that can set you back 300 or 400 dollars. Now my advice is that if you are just starting out or you are a hobbyist look for the free stuff. There are plenty of free online resources. Here are a few that I have found particularly useful.

My favourite free resource is YouTube. You can search just about any topic in photography and there will be videos about it. Just subscribe to the channels and enable notifications and you will be notified every time that person publishes a new video.

One excellent channel that offers all kinds of tutorials, on photography, post-processing, video etc. is Adorama TV. They have exploring photography with Mark Wallace,  Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey and You Keep Shooting with Bryan Peterson. These are three of my favourite photographers on the Adorama Channel. Another great channel with numerous instructional  videos is B&H. They have short video tutorials but they also have some that are over an hour long and go into detail about lighting, posing, post-processing etc.  Andrew Boey’s Beyond Photography is a new channel  that I have found recently. It is funny, entertaining and educational. If you are looking for post-production techniques I would highly recommend Glyn Dewis. Glyn has all kinds of tutorials on Photoshop and Lightroom.

Well this should be good to get you started. I will post more as I come across them or when I try out their tutorials. Happy watching and keep shooting.

Some Resources to Get You Started

Here are some of the resources that I have found helped me to improve my photography. As I mentioned, photography is a life-long learning process. The more you learn and the more you practice the better you will get.

One book that really helped me to learn about exposure was Understanding Exposure, Fourth Edition: How to Shoot Great Photographs with Any Camera by Brian Peterson. You can find it on Amazon. It is an excellent book for someone starting out who wants to get out of Auto mode, take control of their camera and start “making photographs”.

Another great series which is now available in a boxed set is Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography Boxed Set, Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5: 1-5. Scott is a great teacher and an entertaining writer. Basically just about everything you need to know about photography is covered  in this set. This is also available on Amazon.

Michael Freeman’s book  Photo School Fundamentals: Exposure, Light & Lighting, Composition is also another wonderful resource for learning about photography. As you progress in your photography I would also recommend Freeman’s other books. Two in particular that I have enjoyed that have really made me think about photography as art are, The Photographer’s Mind: Creative Thinking for Better Digital Photos and The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos. Also if you want to delve even further into exposure Freeman’s  Perfect Exposure: The Professional’s Guide to Capturing Perfect Digital Photographs is an excellent resource.

Here are a few other that I have read that I found useful. 
Beyond Auto Mode: A Guide to Taking Control of Your Photography by Jennifer Bebb

Quick Snap Guide to Digital SLR Photography: An Instant Start-Up Manual for New dSLR Owners by David Busch

Digital Photography Masterclass by Tom Ang

The possibilities for learning are endless. I am sure some of you also have your favourites. There is certainly enough here to get you started. One tip that I would have for you is that as you read be sure to have your camera by your side. As you read about different techniques and settings, pick up your camera and try them out. In my next post I will take a look at free resources that I have found useful. Until then, happy reading and keep shooting.