Yeah! I bought that fancy camera! Now what??
So in my virtual blog world I am presuming that after my last post you have now all gone out and bought yourself a nice new camera. What did you get??
Or maybe you have owned a DSLR/mirrorless camera for some time already but it has been spending more time in the bag or cupboard than out and about with you, as you explore the world.
I am also presuming that you have not found it to be 'CHILD'S PLAY ' when you take photos with your proper camera. Most of you would have taken some really fabulous shots and a lot of very ordinary ones. You don't know how you got that awesome shot, so you can't repeat it. You don't know why so many shots are dark, not sharp or just plain boring. You have played with the dials and maybe even read a few pages of the menu, but found it to be a powerful tranquilliser, rather than an enlightening read.
You may have 'seen' this when you carefully composed your shot
BUT got this instead
OR you wanted this kind of shot
But got this instead
You have tried to photograph a moving subject and maybe even still life photography and the subject is often blurry or not in focus.
Those stunning shots you had hoped for when you paid a small fortune for you gear, seem completely out of reach!
Does all of this sound familiar ?
A few of my upcoming blogs will be about how to increase your chances of getting THAT shot which you had pre visualised.
Let me talk about pre visualisation for a while. Our camera is our tool. It is a workhorse, which is meant to allow us to create an image which looks exactly like the one we have 'in mind' i.e. we have seen it already in our minds. We have pre visualised it before we even picked up the camera. Being able to do this is a great attribute!! Shooting for quality rather than quantity is the aim of the game.
A camera is not some magic piece of gear which can churn out wonderful, print worthy images all by itself. No matter how much money you spend on a camera it will never give you anything more than a snap shot if you just point and shoot and click a few hundred shots with it in Auto.
As I mentioned before you may occasionally get a really lovely shot, maybe not what you had pre visualised but still lovely. Those shots a pure luck and often you would have been in great light conditions at the time. I am pretty sure that as you take photos indoors in darker light conditions your 'lucky shot rate' will decrease dramatically.
Light is everything to a photographer. Photography actually means " painting with light". Cute right?
Us Togs ( jargon for photographer and makes us sound cool ;) ) carefully consider how we allow light to enter our camera ( i.e. via the lens) and how it will be received by the sensor inside our camera.
With the aid of the light meter which is built into our modern little units, we can ensure that images are exposed just the way we want them to be. That may even be under or over exposed.
We also decide, what will be sharp/in focus and whether moving object are frozen or blurry. We pre visualise all of that.
If reading this far has made you feel dizzy and inclined to shove the camera back in the cupboard, please take a deep breath, stay calm and read on.
I have taught quite a few photography courses now and I hope it makes you feel better, when I tell you " You are not alone!". The vast majority of my students start their beginner classes feeling quite frustrated by their camera and doubtful that they can 'get it'.
EVERYONE CAN 'GET IT'!
Some struggle with some concepts at first but it is not rocket science. If you spend a bit of time reading up, watching some 'you tube' videos or attending a photography class then you can get really good at making your pre visualised images a reality.
In my classes I make it my priority to give my students the power (knowledge) to master their tools (camera and lenses ). I want to liberate my students to be able take charge of what they already own and to be creative togs asap.
This may all sound a bit artsy! After all, isn't there a whole heap of technical stuff and physics about light which we need to cram into you when we teach photography? Well there is a little bit, but I believe we need to keep this to a bare minimum at first, so your passion for the end result is not suffocated by too much theory. If you get lost in theory, you may become overwhelmed and just shoot in AUTO. That would be a real shame because your camera can do so much more
I have come up with the concept of ' 6+2 ', which I promise you, will make a huge difference in your photography straight away. If you understand these 8 goodies and how to adjust them on YOUR camera, it will give you a firm foundation on which you can build up your photography knowledge as much or as little as you wish.
6+2 includes :
1. Aperture 2. Shutterspeed 3. ISO 4. White balance 5. Metering 6. Autofocus mode and points + 2 creative tools - Depth of Field and Motion
This is where I get on my bandwagon about learning to shoot in M mode and to kiss AUTO goodbye.
That green little symbol for 'full auto' is like a PRISON for your creativity.
It takes away all of your control and just guesstimates what kind of shot it is that you are after.
As far as I am aware it is not a mind reader, can not id your kid on the soccer field and does not care if your shots look very grainy when you shoot indoors.
Sure you can fine tune your AUTO by choosing Scenes such as a 'portrait' ( lady with a hat) which will give you a blurry background ( btw it is called Bokeh - not to be confused with 'bouquet which is what I called it for quite some time ) or 'sports' (person running) to freeze motion.
Yet you are still not really in charge. Although I have to admit I would sleep better at night, if you used 'Scenes" rather than the horrid green 'Auto' setting because at least you would be pre visualising before you press the shutter release button.
Anyone who has never learned about 6+2 is just a slave to the camera's AUTO mode.
Don't let that be you. You have a great camera. It can shoot great photos if you tell it how to! You obviously have a passion for photography or you would not be reading this. So embrace it and empower yourself with some simple knowledge.
In some of my future blogs I will discuss some aspects of my " 6+2" concepts in more detail. Or you can of course join one of my photography course in which I teach you all of the above and more. Which ever path you take, just make sure you build on a solid foundation in order to reduce the frustration.
11.45 pm yeah I am finished before midnight
High five to you again if you have read to the end.
Let me know what you think please. Was it helpful? Do you have any questions??
I'm joining you for a class in a couple of weeks. Can't wait!
I was given my SLR when my 'baby' was a month old. She's seven now. Oops. Still don't know what to do with the camera... I think getting my first iPhone as a push present condemned the camera to the drawer.
Here's to pre-visualised photos - not just the fluke ones!
I am interested and would like to attend . How much is the course?
Hi Sandra, I'm really enjoying your blogs.
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