So you wana play??
In this post we will look at the two most important aspects of becoming a good photographer. Only you and you alone can apply these vital skills, many may help you on your journey , but only you can make it happen.
Firstly learn, secondly, having the right gear for the job is important.
Having the right gear means that the gear can deliver results equal to and also exceed your level of expertise. This will cost you obviously and you want the best bang for your buck, so where do you start? You start with the gear you already have and learn to get the best out of it first and then move on.
READ, READ, and READ some more.
Start with the manual that came with the camera, I know BORING, but until you know your way around all the settings and understand the cameras capabilities you will never reach your full potential. Read books, go to the library, books like John Shaw’s Nature Photography field guide and others by Niall Benvie are a great place to start if you want to learn landscape and wildlife photography. Jump on photography forums, read more books and visit bookstores, if you’re like me, can’t afford to purchase expensive photographic books lurk a while gaze at Andris Apse’s beautiful book Light and Landscape.
Become inspired. I made a decision long ago when I realized that my passion for photography was not going to disappear to always be inspired, never jealous and to be humble enough to plagiarize the heck out of any fellow photographers I admired. If you find a fellow artist that you do admire try shooting the way they do. Look at their work, study them, copy them and understanding will come, then, apply what they have taught you to your own stable of tricks. Many pro and semi pro photographers offer workshops, this is a great way to gain knowledge and fast track your skill base. Look on the internet.
Once you understand and have practised and have realized the capabilities and limitations of your existing setup it’s time to spend some hard earned money on gear that hopefully will take you to the next level and beyond.
Expensive photographic gear will never make you a great photographer (this is an internal issue) but good gear will allow a skilled photographer to take advantage of any photographic opportunities and express their creativity to their full potential.
It’s not either or neither, it’s both.
Having a fantastic camera but not knowing how to utilize it is as much use as boobs on a bull, likewise being frustrated because your gear just isn’t up to it results in the same conclusion, bummer.
Before we get to the gear bit, we have one more camp to visit, no matter how clever you are at understanding your camera, no matter how clever your camera is, it’s still up to the human factor to close the deal. A good photographer is one that has learnt to stare (pun intended) his or her creativity through the view finder to find the heart of the subject. This can be taught in part but the spirit of it must come from deep within, seasoned with respect in my case for the land and the animals and birds that inhabit it, or maybe moral outrage. How do you see it dudes? you know the world through your viewfinder. Without the heart, the passion and the commitment, all the other stuff is just rubbish and no matter how expensive the gear so will your images look, rubbish just blinking rubbish.
Right now I’m sitting at my desk banging away on the keyboard and my new camera is winging its way closer to me with every breath. Am I excited?, you bet a woolly Rams backside I am, this camera will improve my chances of taking a good image under difficult circumstances and hopefully up my enjoyment factor, getting new gear is cool.
So here ya are at the bottom or almost at the bottom of the gear ladder, where to from here?
Which make of camera we will get? right let’s get this is over with right now, Canon is the only way to go…why?? because I done got Canon gear end of story.
Nope the real answer is to don’t matter none. Go the camera store and fiddle around some, no not with the pretty assistant girl, the camera man…..stay the course for goodness sake……
Your gona need a body.
Your gona need a body, of course, without one you aint gona make it out of the door, drive the car and get out there to take photos.
Back to the store, fiddle around with a body, feel how it feels, are the dials too small for your chubby finger? Then lose weight fatty.
Is the body too small as a whole, can you access the dials easily.
Now a really big question, have you done your research on the great big worldwide interwebs??
There are many forum websites out there,these two sites http://www.fredmiranda.com/reviews/ and http://www.dpreview.com/ will assist you to make an informed decision, what they can’t do however is give you the feeling of having the physical camera body in your physical hands. If you know photography is for you go for a mid-range or if your rich get the best body you can.
Be warned though, the evolution of camera bodies is still charging ahead with new upgrades and technology setting a spanking pace, whatever body you spring for it will be upgraded within 2 years or so , on the other hand the evolution of lenses has slowed to a crawl, buy a good lens now and it will probably last you your lifetime hence my favourite catchphrase, lenses are an investment.
Many cameras come with a package deal, avoid most of these like the plaque, chances are the lens package is CRAP, you’ll end up with worse images than the ones you got with your cheap point and shoot. Don’t listen to the assistant in my humble experience they mostly don’t know diddly squat about cameras and lenses, they get paid monkey wages and many exhibit much the same intelligence. Just buy a body and lens separately, unless the said lens is a goodie, a proven lens and enjoys good reviews on the internet, a good buy such as the Canon EOS 5D MKII+EF24-105mmL package, the 24-105 is a winner and because its a winner that camera/lens package is a winner and ideal start into the full frame arena. So do your home work and spend as much as you can on good lenses, you need a fast lens, one that can take a photo quickly reducing blurriness from shaky hands or moving targets, no slower than F.4 at the open end.
Next we will look at how to set up for a good shot and nail it.
Cheers guys and groovy chicks.