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What's the most important thing you learned in photography?

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We all learn things about photography that ultimately shape the way we go about making photos, but during the course of your learning there is usually a breakthrough moment when you learn something that turns on a light bulb in your head and from there you go on to make better and better images. 

 

My light bulb moment came when I understood how to balance flash with ambient light, particularly when shooting events in low lit rooms with flash. By simply reducing the shutter speed from 1/60 to 1/20 and boosting the ISO a little, I suddenly found that my images looked much more natural and I was done with the "deer in the headlights" type of flash photography I had been getting previously. 

 

What was your "aha!" moment? 

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"Only show people your good photographs".

I worked this out pretty early on, but it amazes me that facebook is clogged with the need for people to show every picture, however bad.

 

When working with film, this idea produces a clear financial incentive to improve your hit rate. There is a tension between getting this particular photograph right and the fear of coming away with nothing. On a commercial basis, it prompts getting the "bankers" first and then working more experimentally, hoping for the "money shot". This way, if things are cut short, you aren't left empty handed.

 

Once you see it as a statistical thing, you become less obsessed with individual exposures and at that point, the learning becomes "exponential".  

 

I wonder if the ease of digital photography doesn't hinder the learning of this lesson?

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"The changing of bodies into light, and light into bodies, is very conformable to the course of Nature, which seems delighted with transmutations." - Sir Isaac Newton

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"perspective is the place you stand on and the direction you point your camera to"

 

 

I feel it is a common misconception to confuse perspective-framing-crop-lens.

 

If you know that the picture is in your mind first you start to train your mind.

 

Then you choose perspective carefully and decide how to frame and crop (eg. by zooming).

 

Then you decide which parts you want sharp and unsharp and decide which aperture you want.

 

Then you decide which parts should be dark and which should be bright and choose exposure.

 

 

You can only use the equipment at hand so you have to buy a camera and a lens somtime before taking a photo. BUT: only the equipment you carry with you will help you take your best shot. So a lot of equipment is only useful if you camera bag is a car like it is the case with BjornR.

 

My Example: The most useful equipment currently is the X100T because I have her with me nearly all the time.

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Regenerate green infrastructure. Let Biodiversity rule!

I blog at: http://klimafarm.com/

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"Only show people your good photographs".

 

 

I do not know what others consider "good"

 

My best photos -- the ones I like best -- are far from being the ones that are popular and I sometimes wonder why people choose the pictures they choose as "Frank's best".

 

I think in series for example. And a series is a medium of its own. I should create photobooks, but I feel I am not a gifted layout person. So what? Choose a single frame from a series as the "best shot"? No. They belong together. The real question is: Should the series be 3 or 5 or 7 or 19 pictures?


Regenerate green infrastructure. Let Biodiversity rule!

I blog at: http://klimafarm.com/

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I'll say it has been a number of things:

1. Technical
- exposure (exposing to the right ?)
- speed according to your equipment, lens, resolution
- the already mentioned subject of balancing flash and ambient light

- post processing

 

2. artsy things

- composition

- finding good light (this one will be the big one for me)

- people interaction (another biggy)

Edited by armando_m
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Regards,

Armando

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Guest Airee

No light bulb effect, but these are a few helpful things :

 

- Using primes for a while. Nowadays, most kit lenses are zooms. I mostly use zooms for intrinsic quality (14-24), fast AF (24-70) and, yes, ease of framing under constrained circumstances (70-200, sometimes 24-70)

 

- Using the old 28/3.5 PC lens (handheld, by the way). No optical ace, but it forced me to take time, be more rigorous with composition, and think of each parameter.

 

I love slow photography. MF lenses are generally good trainers, PC even better.

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Learning the basics, that may sound predictable and not at all surprising.

 

The fundamentals of photography, shutter speed/aperture, iso, flash, composition etc, I

learnt these things at college twenty five odd years ago, it took me a while to grasp these

then alien concepts but I'm so glad I had a thorough grounding.

 

Before I got hooked on photography I had no idea how it worked, I simply thought

one aimed, pressed the shutter release and hey presto you had your desired results

simple as that, how hard could it be I often thought, lol.

 

It's a bit like driving a car, at first all our attention is focussed operating the controls,

it's only when we've mastered these we can drive safely, effectively and smoothly.

 

I now know I can photograph virtually any subject and achieve the results I want

rather than what the camera simply produces for me.

Looking at my photographs many may think I've still got a long way to go

and of course I'm still learning but at least I can make the images I want and they are not 

produced by accident.  :D  :)

 

Learning the fundamentals of the principles of photography is as important

today as it ever was, digital has made it easier in some respects or has it? :D

 

Oh yeah, appropriate light is pretty important too!

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Guest Coreopsis

1. Many light sources are intrinsically noisy.

2. Exposure is not determined by ISO.

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For me that would be composition as it's the mainstay of the vast majority of my photography. It took me several years to master composition to the level I consider ok.

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For me that would be composition as it's the mainstay of the vast majority of my photography. It took me several years to master composition to the level I consider ok.

I'll say I'm still in that process, often I still can not explain why one image might be better than another one with slight variations in the composition


Regards,

Armando

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I could be flippant and just reply "photography" as being the best thing I ever learned about photography, but seriously, there is no one particular thing I can nominate as being the brainstorm that suddenly turned the lights on.

 

Everything is so interconnected that understanding one aspect will probably help in understanding other aspects, and vice versa. I guess that's why it's such an absorbing and enjoyable thing to indulge one's grey matter in, because equally not understanding one little thing can often bring the whole house of cards down.

 

A well composed and well-lit image is nothing without perfect exposure is nothing without the best development is nothing without the best presentation....

 

....and repeat.

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Learning the basics, that may sound predictable and not at all surprising.

 

Here too. Digital age was, and is, a big help. I was able to take some 100.000 shots in a short amount of time. Instant feedback with whatever you try, processing at home, digital darkroom. Couple it with forums, blogs, etc... and your learning curve is as fast as you can keep up.

   Now I mostly work for the image :)


Never thought the thread could take this direction

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to continuously go back to the basics, and smile this is fun

Edited by STS
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Look behind your subject. Then you won't make a photo of someone wearing a rock hat or having a plastic bread sack coming out of their ear.  The background is part of the composition, not something to ignore.

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Limitation gives you the freedom.  Limitation gives you the chance to be creative.

 

Actually, these would apply to anything in our lives, I think.

Edited by Akira

"The eye is blind if the mind is absent." - Confucius

http://www.flickr.com/photos/akiraphoto/

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Never tell anyone your secrets.

 

 

privare (latin) = rob

private goods = robbed goods

 

If you know tell, if you can do. Do what you know.

 

 

A patent is a way to tell and still profit, at least it has been in the past. Now the law firms have taken over and patents came from fostering innovation to suppressing innovation.

 

 

I believe secrets make the world a badder place.

 

 

I believe secrets are the result of the wrong belief that the world is insufficient to satisfy all needs.

 

The truth is there is plenty for all.

 

Scarcity is a lie utilized by people to seemingly forward their own interests and let others pay the price. In the end this lie translates into everyone having less. A self fulfilling prophecy of the worst kind.

 

F.

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Regenerate green infrastructure. Let Biodiversity rule!

I blog at: http://klimafarm.com/

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One very important lesson is to know Why you are taking a picture?

 

Everything else falls behind the Why.

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It's the picture not the pixels.

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Yes. Almass. You are so right. The Why is before the how. That is why I say: train your mind, your mind is the source for your photo.

 

You cannot show what you cannot see


Regenerate green infrastructure. Let Biodiversity rule!

I blog at: http://klimafarm.com/

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Guest Colin-M

I've been privileged to learn a bit, including much from some very generous contributors here, firstly Nikongear and more recently as Fotozones.

However whilst my images are probably more reliably exposed and focused nowadays, I think my artistic eye was more creative and innovative before I went through all this learning.

So I'm having a few months away from my camera. I don't think I'll ever recapture that instinctive natural eye for an image that I remember from my teens, but I'd like to resume in a more spontaneous mode, with less conscious planning and more gut feeling.

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I think that photography has taught me to see things (and I'm still learning that) rather than to just look at them.

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I have learned that the image is king; whether technically perfect or not: documentary or composite

 

Apparently the news networks have the same opinion using iphone images for international distribution

 

Rags

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I have learned that the image is king; whether technically perfect or not: documentary or composite

 

Apparently the news networks have the same opinion using iphone images for international distribution

 

Rags

 

I think their ability to get these images for free has more to do with their decisions to use them.

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