I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while now, and a recent comment on one of my posts from someone new to photography got me to thinking about it in a more focused way. So here it is, my opening post in a series for beginning photographers.
My target audience is people who have only used their phones or basic cameras set to full automatic to take pictures, and have decided they would like to learn how to take more control over their photography to create better images.
Let me first state that I am not a photography expert. I categorize myself as a (lazy) casual hobbyist. I love taking photos, but I don’t often go out of my way to get particular shots. I tend towards playing around and snapping photos of whatever catches my fancy wherever I happen to be.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t take my playing somewhat seriously. I study my photos to see where I messed up so that I can improve, I read about photography, and I watch YouTube videos to learn useful tips. I want to make photos that please me.
What I think I have the skill to do is help demystify basic photography concepts and jargon. My purpose in this series is to aid those who want to go beyond merely pointing a camera and pushing the shutter release, but feel overwhelmed by everything there is to learn. I will attempt to explain things in simple, everyday language.
Something to keep in mind is that in this age of digital cameras, which are mini-computers, there are two distinct areas of knowledge: photography concepts and the intricacies of camera functions. Of the two, the camera can be the more tedious and difficult to master.
Actually, I should amend that. There are three areas of knowledge, the third being post-processing, which is the editing of photos with software to make them look their best. I won’t be covering that at all because I am less than a newbie where complicated editing software is concerned.
Editing your photos isn’t required, but you will want a basic program (many are free) so you can at least crop your photos, convert to black and white, and adjust brightness and contrast. Simple programs like this are easy to learn on your own.
All of my posts will be focused on digital photography since that’s what a beginner will be using these days. While much of what I say also applies to film, I won’t be spending time discussing any differences.
I’ve set no schedule for publishing posts in this series. They will appear here as I have the time and inspiration.
The first lesson I would like to impart is that the key attribute of a photographer, at any level of skill, is patience. To become a good photographer you need to take your time and think things through. This, more than fancy gear, will help you capture great images.
Unfortunately, patience is my weakest point. I often just blunder around without taking time to get the best composition or angle, or bothering to change my settings when I should. I frequently miss the best light because I don’t feel like getting there early or staying an extra hour. In this regard, it’s best to do as I say, not as I do!
Though it’s certainly worth noting that if you’re more like me you can still have plenty of fun with photography, just as I do. You just need to know it will limit how far you can go. The best photographers will do whatever it takes to get a great shot.
I added a page to this blog’s menu that has links to all posts in this series.