Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Making Of A Photographer - Gear vs Creativity

The "look" is photographer, but you must
see the results before it's official.

Trust me, I am not against photographers or photography classes. In truth, I am totally in favor of educating yourself as much as possible, particularly as it applies to photography. However, due to a recent change in attitude on my part, I must say this.

Camera equipment does not a photographer make!

That's it. I said it, and I'm sticking with it. Not too long ago, I was also a adherent to the concept that to be a photographer you had to own all the best gear. He must have a well equipped studio with all the special lights and backdrops, the underwater gear, access to an airplane to take the aerial shots.


Photography is not about gear. It's not about a degree from a university. Finally, photography is not some special gift.

Photography is quite simply about capturing the light. It's about being able to snap the shutter at just the perfect time and from the correct place. Photography is about life.

Right now, just consider the terrific photographs that moved you somehow, whether emotionally or spiritually. Those are the ones with life. Even the photographs of still objects that attract you do it by stirring you emotionally. They stir up the life inside of you.

These kinds of pictures are the product of photographers. Photographers take the pictures with the best gear, or, if need be, with the least of gear. They just have a passion to make great pictures. They simply follow their calling.

photography studio equipment
image from olx.com

Some of the ways you can describe a photographer:

    •    A photographer views the world artistically and notices things like light and shadows, color and design.

    •    He values nature and can photograph it so that everyone else can too.

    •    A photographer is extremely observant of his surroundings and takes lots of images of it.

    •    A photographer loves sharing his pictures so that others can experience the emotions that they bring out.

But there are also some common misconceptions about photographers that you need to get rid of:

    •    He is not just lucky. Being at the right place at the right time does play a part in the game, but it is not because of luck. It is because she is dedicated to her passion.

    •    A photographer is good because she has the newest and bestest of gear. Many folks think that if they don't have that new digital SLR that just came out with the super-duper prime lens, they will not get the best shots. Although having good gear is important for a pro, it does not define a photographer.

    •    A photographer does not need to be a born artist. It is true that some people have a better eye for picture making, but it is also true that the eye can be trained to see the creative images.

    •    He has a natural knack for things that are technical and difficult. One of the myths about photography is that it is really technical, which inevitably makes it too hard to grasp. Sorry, but this is just not the case. A photographer can take good pictures with any equipment. It's true that some types of photo gear are quite technical, but, once again, they do not determine a photographer.

Great photography is really extremely easy. Be prepared to take a photograph when the opportunity presents itself (hence the term "photo opportunity"). "View" your surroundings in a different light. Become familiar with some primary guidelines about shooting technique. Shoot.

OK, so maybe it is not as easy as that, because it does take training. So learning about photography is part of the equation. That's where PhotographyClassesAtlanta.org comes in. Check us out.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Do You Really Have To "Learn Photography" To Be A Photographer

Learn Photography? Really?

Photography is awesome! There are so many kinds of images that it can satisfy nearly everyone in some way. That's why I have been spending so much time trying to learn photography, every facet of it. But I get too focused on the technological aspects rather than on the creativity involved in photography.

Is a photographer an artist? An even more pressing question: Does simply owning a digital SLR camera make an individual a photographer?

I must admit that I have been thinking about these things with regard to my own work quite a bit lately I do own a digital SLR camera. And, I do take lots of pictures with my digital SLR camera. So, taking photos is not the problem, but I still have difficulty classifying myself as a photographer.

The cause of this difficulty is that I invariably compare my photos with those of others whom I respect. I spend far too much time viewing the pictures of photographers who I consider as very talented in the sphere of photography, and, quite honestly, I regard my photos fairly stinky after looking at theirs. Yet, someone else sees my images and is amazed at how good they are. My problem, I think, is personal expectation.

My goal is to take pictures that compare to photographers like Rick Sammons and Moose Peterson, two of photographers and teachers that I admire greatly. My opinion... I just don't compare as a photographer to those guys.

When it comes to my own images, I admit that I am quite critical. Yet at times, I tend to be even more critical about those who think of themselves photographers yet they know naught about the technical part of picture taking. Why does someone call himself a photographer when he doesn't know an aperture from an exposure setting?

However, after some soul searching, I realize that I am being rather cynical. After all, one man's trash is another man's treasure, right? I have come to realize, I spend too much time evaluating the technical aspects of photos instead of the more important emotional affect of the photo.

An image becomes art when it can inspire or draw out the emotion of a viewer.

A person's ability to manipulate the camera settings, while important, is not art. Likewise, if the camera is left on "auto" all the time, why should that be important? The key is that they are taking pictures that bring joy, or sadness, or wonder to others.

Something else I realized as I thought through this issue is that the goal of all photographers is not to have their photos published by Better Homes and Gardens . They only want to have a record or journal of family memories, and that is good enough to qualify them as photographers and artists.

My desire for this article is simply to encourage "photographers" to keep on shooting. Don't be afraid to let your imagination lead you into your next shot. Maybe it will bring a smile to a friend's face, or it may end up in National Geographic in spite of us Pixel Peepers.

Learn Photography? Go to http://www.photographyclassesatlanta.org and have a peek.