Monday, July 16, 2012

Advice for New Photographers II

This post is a followup to this post and this post.

This is the part where you practice, purposefully.

Take some pictures of some things, and look at those pictures. At some point, maybe before shooting, maybe while looking at the pictures, some ideas should come to you. Perhaps it's the idea of an emotion you want the photograph to convey, or a sense of place, or an optical illusion, or the relationship between two objects, or something. Any idea that's a step beyond "a sharp picture of my dog" will do. Let's call this idea your Concept.

Look at your pictures again, and ask yourself how you could make your Concept clearer or stronger. A different point of view, different light, a different arrangement of props. Go re-shoot, testing these ideas. Look at the results. Does your Concept come across more or less clearly? Do you have a new, better, Concept?

Repeat. This is science, this is practicing purposefully: you are formulating a hypothesis, and testing it. Perhaps that by getting down on the floor, the Concept of "angry chair" will be enhanced, will come across more clearly in the resulting image. Test the hypothesis by getting down on the floor and shooting. Look at the result, see if that worked.

You don't have to shoot and re-shoot every subject over and over, but it's very instructive to shoot and re-shoot a subject over and over, from time to time. You may be surprised at how, even after an absurdly large number of exposures, you're still able to easily pick out the one that you consider the best.

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