I would like to share a few tips with you that have nothing to do with technical photography details. The technical things, while very important, can be found nearly everywhere on the Internet or your local workshops and clubs. The things I think are just as important, if not more so, are the ones that have to do with you as an artist!
I believe that we, as photographers, tend to get into the mindset that if we learn all of the techniques and buy the best equipment, then we will all of a sudden be the best photographer on the planet. This is simply not true, but camera and software companies sure want you to believe that it is. A technically correct image regarding focus, exposure, and processing is still a poor image if it has no “feeling” to it.
The 4 tips below are ones that I believe will help alter the mindset:
BUILD A VISION
- It is very important to have a vision when creating fine art photography so that the viewer of the work can have a feeling of what you are trying to say.
- A vision enables you to include an inner feeling into an otherwise two-dimensional photograph that is nothing more than a capture of light.
- Learn to “hear” what it is that your inner voice is telling you about a subject matter, and which part it’s telling you to both include and exclude.
- A VISION does not need to come prior to the capture, but it does help. However, a vision can come to you during your processing phase of the image creation. This happens often when we subconsciously know there is something about a subject matter and capture it, but aren’t fully aware YET about the full vision.
- Things such as listening to your favorite music, reading books, and watching movies are all good ways to get “in-touch” with your inner voice and help to build a VISION.
- Once VISION is obtained, your work will be uniquely yours and the viewers will be shown something in a way they would not have otherwise seen.
- I realize that when traveling there simply isn’t time to properly scout and area, location, or specific building; however, when shooting in your local area, it is very beneficial to scout the location prior to setting up to photograph it.
- This time spent will enable you to build a vision as to what it is you would like to portray for the viewers of your image to see.
- The time spent during this will also save you time in the process of shooting. You will have already determined your shooting angles and the best time of day for lighting, and then when you arrive with your gear you can simply go to the “X marks the spot” location and capture the image.
- Some scouting can also be done using Google Maps and other map applications. This is especially useful when traveling to a new area, and I encourage you to take the time to do this.
- There is an inherent problem with today’s digital cameras, and that is that it cost nothing to capture more images than are truly needed. This then puts us in the mentality that we can just fling our cameras up from our hips and capture a bunch of images in hopes that ONE will workout in our favor. STOP DOING THIS!
- Shooting from the hip, or “Gun-slinging” as I call it, causes us to not think twice about proper composition, camera settings for proper exposure, depth-of-field, blurred or stop action shutter speeds, or VISION!
- The use of a tripod, even on fast shutter speeds, will help aid in this effort. It will allow you the time to really find the exact composition, critical focus, and camera settings. I realize this isn’t possible for some types of shooting such as photojournalism, but for many other styles it simply helps you to slow down and think about what you are doing.
SERIES versus ONE-OFFS
- SERIES creation is when there is a multitude of images all of the same subject matter and captured and processed in the same manner so that there is a cohesive look and feel.
- SERIES creation all contain the same overall VISION
- SERIES creation provides you with goals when you go out to shoot
- SERIES creation has a much deeper level of VISION overall
- Galleries and Collectors love SERIES of imagery, and I believe you will too
The bottom line is that while it is very important to learn your camera, it’s settings, and all other technical details involving photography, I feel that it is even more important to learn YOURSELF as a photographic artist. Dig deep into what you want to show, and then show the viewer something in a way that they have not seen before!