Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Some thoughts on photography...

I got an email today from someone that was asking for some photography tips. I'm by no means an expert, but I thought I'd share a few things I learned over the years:

hey, everyone starts somewhere...i didn't take any classes (majored in literature in college)...the best thing you can do to learn is look at LOTS of good photos...study the masters..i was heavily influenced by photojournalist...for me, I spent hours and hours looking at every photo on MagnumPhotos.com and bought up a ton of photo books...

all the technical stuff is easy, it's the seeing thats difficult. that said, any entry level DSLR is pretty good these days. I like Nikon, so I'd lean towards something like the D40x or D5000. A basic kit lens is plenty to learn on.

Heck, I'm back to using point and shoot cameras for somethings! This gallery was all from a Lumix LX3 PS camera.


the fastest way to learn is to look at a lot of good photos and shoot a lot of bad ones. just accept your first 5000 photos aren't going to be that great. what you're training is the muscle memory of your eye/brain. if you shoot digital, you don't have to be so precious with film and can shoot tons. that said, think before you shoot.

as a photog, you're never a completely passive fly on the wall. you're not just "capturing the moment" like someone running around with a butterfly net. a photo is just as composed as a painting or sculpture is...it just happens to take place in an instant.

granted, it helps when something interesting is happening. however, i've done jobs where NOTHING is happening and i still have to make a photo if I want to get paid.

anyway, I hope that helps!

Best of luck,


David Martinez said...

Good stuff Russ! I was invited to participate in a design review board for my Graphics Program (Los Angeles Trade Technical) - and some of the kids were up in arms about having no dedicated Photo Program. I told them the barrier for entry to get started and learn is so low, buy an affordable DSLR and start posting in Flickr groups to get feedback.

They were kinda stunned I was mentioning doing something outside of a sanctioned academic environment. I was like, come on - it's 2009 and we have the internet and broadband is everywhere!

Totally with you, it's about practice, experimentation and (though it sounds so god damn cliche) seeing the light!

P.S. Those are some great shots with the LUMIX! Do you like it better than the G10? Can it do F2?

RussRoca said...

David...yes, the internets/digital is changing everything! you can learn a lot faster. the mystery of the process is more transparent. the biggest challenge for the future won't be getting good exposure, but composing a shot in a way no one has thought of (if that's even possible now!)

i heart the lumix lx3. i like it different than the g10, if that makes sense. I like to shoot wide so the LX3 is a good fit for me. Someone that wants a good all-rounder cam should go for the G10.

But yes, the LX3 does F2 : )