If you are serious about your photography, but are a sensitive person then do not read! If you want to think hard about yourself and push your abilities, then please read.
We live in a world today, where almost anyone with a camera calls themselves a photographer, and expect to be an excellent photographer in weeks, months or within a year or two. Some people even think if they buy the best flagship camera, then it is a given right to call themselves a professional or a fantastic photographer. If you are offended by what I have just said, pause, think and ask yourself why.
As a serious photographer you are bound to the trust of the person or subject being photographed. As a serious photographer, the quality of the photos should be down to your skill and not left to chance… What do I mean by that? You should not let the camera decide on the photo.
The most important element in photography is Light!
- Have you studied light?
- Do you know what the different types of light are?
- Do you know what is the perfect type of light for a given situation?
- What the correct white balance should be?
- What is the difference between hard and soft light?
- When is the wrong time to use a flash, and when is the right time?
- Can you work without the inbuilt or an external light meter, can you look at light and know the setting using your brain?
- Even more important… If you are constricted by the lack of light, what do you do?
- If you find that you cannot answer all those questions above, then read up and teach yourself. It will improve you as a photographer.
You may look at the list above and say you do not think too deep about light, and that you just take a photo of what you see. However is that just an excuse to immerse yourself and deepen your thoughts and knowledge about light? Is there a laziness?
Not relying on those automatic settings!
The next point I would like to make is not to use the “automatic” camera settings, which is the Green Box symbol or the little picture clues on most cameras. Ideally you want to be in control of the camera and not the chip and it’s software. Even if you use the “Av”, “Tv” or “P” on Canon cameras and “A”, “S” and “P” on Nikon camera, which stand for “Aperture priority”, “Shutter priority” and Programmable. As a serious photographer the last thing you want to be is frustrated, when a photo does not turn out the way you want it to be.
- Did you photo turn out over or under exposed?
- Was it too blurry or too noisy?
- Did you camera give you the correct light reading and still the photo turn out too dark or too light?
These are common mistakes that can frustrate a photographer. However by learning exactly what your ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture is, how they relate to each other in the exposure triangle, and how they individually affect your photograph. I am not tell you, go and learn from workshops, books, online etc. It will massively benefit you as a photographer.
So are you ready to use the manual setting “M”?
The three best ways of mastering the manual mode in your camera is by:
- Educating yourself.
- Learning from failure.
- Practice, practice, practice!
There will be times when you need full control over the lens too, and relying on autofocus “AF”, especially in low light conditions and also shooting from the hip, you can be guaranteed that the camera will not focus exactly on what you wanted. Again time to go manual focus “MF”
Know thy Camera!
All cameras are different, all cameras have strong and weak points. Know your camera’s personality, know your camera functions inside out. KNOW HOW TO OPERATE YOUR CAMERA IN THE COMPLETE DARKNESS! And what I mean is, know by feeling where the buttons, dials, levers are, as well as their function.
Know thy Lens
The same applies to your lens
The points I have made are to get you thinking, to push you out your comfort zone, point out any weaknesses you may have, to use manual settings – especially if you really are serious about becoming a master of the craft and not being just a lazy photographer.