“Let there be snap…”
Dermots challenge turned into something a lot more interesting than I originally thought it would be.
In these days of digital cameras pictures are cheap, free really, if you don’t print them. Why would you ever not take 100 pictures and then sift for the best shot or post process into oblivion to get what you wanted?
Looking at it now, I guess I’m guilty of the same sin as a lot of people. I take pictures without actually thinking what I wanted to capture and then only later look to see if it says something I want to say. Being able to take 100 pictures of a tree is different than being able to take a picture of showing some aspect of the tree. Thinking more about it, I’m actually guilty of taking the same picture two or three times – the EXACT SAME PICTURE, same settings, everything – there is no reason for this unless you think you’re on the fringes of it being sharp or something.
So, what did taking a single picture of an object on a day actually do for me?
It made me stop and think. This is probably more obvious in the poor shots than in the good shots. If you look at day 1, not thinking about the background left me with a poor result. It made me realise that a picture isn’t just an object or a view or whatever, it’s a combination of things – foreground, background, subject, position, light, shadow, focus, etc etc etc. you need to make sure all of this is combining before you ever consider pressing the button.
OK, that’s pretty fundamental. Maybe I should have realised this a year ago. I probably did, but it’s taken me this long to articulate it.
So what else did Dermot’s challenge teach me?
- Use manual – If you’re taking a photo and have the time to set it up and work with it, use manual. It’ll make you think about all aspects of the camera setup not just the comfy slippers setting you normally use. Sure, if it’s a shot that’s fleeting go for Av or Tv, but when you can use manual.
- Don’t be afraid to ‘garden’ a little – If you’re taking a photo of a pretty flower, you are allowed to pull the weeds that might detract. (If they aren’t your weeds, please get permission)
- Give people a focus point for their eye – Something that draws them into the picture, a subject or a path for their eye to follow
- Never ever accept a challenge from Dermot – I mean, he is evil (and flirts far too much with overexposure in night shots)
- Don’t be afraid to throw out rubbish – If the shot doesn’t work it’s no big deal. Unless you’re getting paid for it, it’s not a crime to get a shot wrong. And besides, you might be able to get the picture next time round
- Don’t approach every object and every day looking for a photo, but be ready when one presents itself – It’s OK to always have your camera with you and to always be looking for the photo, but when it becomes an obsession and you spend your day trying to find “that shot”, then you’re just going to stress yourself out. I had much more fun taking Day 7 than I ever could have when I was taking the Day 5 disaster
I think I got a fair bit out of this challenge.
I’m still not a great photographer, but the site isn’t called “LearnedToSnap” so I guess that’s OK.
Hopefully I’m getting better.