Saturday, 1 March 2014


Jason and I chat a fair bit about photography and cameras and taking photographs and stuff.

Now, Jason's a professional, which means he makes his living taking photographs (and all the associated work that goes with that) but he's also been taking photos for a long time, so he's not just good at it, but he also really knows what he's talking about.

Because I mean, let's be honest.  Almost everyone has a camera these days.  Even if all they have is a phone with a camera built in, everyone can and does take pictures.

I do too.

I've been taking pictures for as long as I remember, it's just something I've always done.  But it doesn't mean I know what I'm doing in a technical way.

Honestly, I just point the camera and click the button.  I don't play around with any of the dials or settings or anything, I just point it at something I think looks nice and I go click.

And it comes out fine more often than not.  And sometimes I really like what comes out and, well, yeah.  Sometimes other people do too.

I've taken a photography course and I've read some articles here or there but I've never really tried to figure out a) why it all works or b) how I could be getting better in more technical ways.

Because, yes, I've seen my photography improve over the years.  Doing the 365 projects has helped with that and yes I sometimes look back at photos I took when I first started this blog and cringe.  But really, part of it is just practicing and shooting more and refining my composition, and part of that is getting a slightly better camera.  And then a slightly better lens.  And then again, getting the next model up a few years later.


I guess I'm just saying that the improvements I've made have been almost accidental, rather than methodical and purposeful.

Which I suppose is where Jason comes in.

Long story short, he talked me into starting to try to shoot in a more thoughtful way.  To stop just pointing and clicking and letting the camera decide and to starting to try to make some decisions myself.  Namely, to control the aperture. (Size of the hole the light comes through.)

My head exploded a lot when I started re-reading the information and tried to figure out what it all meant and how it all actually, for real worked.  But I do want to try to get better, technically, so I figured I'd give it a shot and so I took my camera out of fully automatic mode and stuck it into "you pick the aperture" mode.

And then my head exploded again.

And again.

And again.

But after about a week or so?  Things started making a little bit more sense.  Yes, the photos looked different, more crisp or sharp, maybe richer colours and tones, but it was more about me figuring out how to change something in the way the photo looked on purpose.

It's different, sure, and less fun to go out and have to think, but who said learning was ever fun?  Not me, that's for sure.

I don't enjoy the process of learning.

Which doesn't explain why I went and bought and entirely new camera and lens.

I think that can be explained by the fact that my brain exploded one too many times and I figured if it was going to suck to take photos for a while?  It may as well suck completely.

Or something.


Blogger Jason Langlois said...

I do a lot of photography and have been grappling with the whole technical aspects as well. I tend to think of a photo as being three things - subject, composition and light.

Most of the time, we manage the subject part easily and it's the first thing you master. "Hey, that looks neat, I should take a picture."

For me, the next thing was composition - how to frame the subject in the four walls of the shot to make it interesting. What interesting here is how you start off just focusing on the main subject, but over time and practice, you start to think about things like negative space, or how the backgrounds and side elements frame the subject (no poles coming out of people's heads, for example).

But it's mastering light that's the real technique. That's where aperture, focal length, shutter speed, light sources, and posing come into play. I'm still working on understanding exactly what's going to happen when I set up my strobes, and that's 5 years into having them.

Which is a long way of saying "I totally understand what you're saying."

Monday, March 03, 2014 11:56:00 am  
Blogger Victoria said...

So seriously totally yup.


PS Poles out of people's heads... not cool man ;)

Monday, March 03, 2014 4:32:00 pm  

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