Histogram is perhaps the most neglected aspect amongst photographers. I’ve come across photographers who’re not even aware of what is exactly an histogram. Those who are aware of it just know as to how it looks. They have no clue of what the peaks & canons suggest in an histogram. However to become a photographer of a substance, one must know how to read histograms. Its not rocket since & its fairly easy.
I had noticed that unless there is some assignment or something important, my camera lies safely in its abode. I felt I’m not photographing enough in order to make myself a better photographer. Hence came the idea of undertaking a 365 Project.
In the beginning, I was daunted by the huge mountain of 365 Project. I thought to myself how long would I climb it successfully before I run out of oxygen. Each of the passing day meant fewer ideas for future shots. That’s when the climb began to feel stiffer. Slowly I could see the one’s who joined the project being motivated by me began to drop out one by one. There came a time when I was the only man climbing to the top. No, I didn’t think them to be my competition but on the contrary it was fun to have some people working on the same personal & collective goal.
The goal was distant but as they say, “to eat an elephant you need to just take an ant size bite”. Similarly, one must approach 365 Project one day at a time. No point in seeing it as a whole as that will definitely mean failure. I spread the word about my project all across my family & peers as that would mean further opportunities(and less nagging when I’m photographing as the food arrives at the hotel).
It has been a wonderful journey for 365 days & at the end I can only say, 365 Project not only made me a better photographer but also taught me a few other things. It taught me how to keep your feet grounded even if you achieve a higher position in life. Being humble is very important. No matter how big a photographer you are as there will be days when you just won’t be able to produce your magic. It was such days I use to get disappointed at first but later I accepted them as a part of project. These days of ordinary photographs keep you rooted & if you take them positively, they can fire you to continue doing better.
Secondly, 365 Project teaches you to be patient. Everyday you will be under pressure(see it as good pressure) to produce a different unique photograph for the day. As the clock clicks & you’re yet to photograph here you will begin to rush on things. And as you rush things, they get messier. Its time you stay calm & think about what & how to photograph. To be honest, I just had a single day in the year where I was under utmost bad pressure but still managed to produce a decent photograph. Over the time it got into me that 24 hours is a long time-span to get one photograph – a unique, well crafted, well seen photograph.
In a gist, 365 Project teaches you the qualities you need to lead life beautifully. The virtues of humility, patience, perseverance, endurance, practise, completing small chunks to accomplish large tasks/goals all help you to lead a better life. I highly recommend you to undertake the ’365 Project’. I’m continuing the project for the second successive year. Would love to have your company. Do drop your project links in comments so I can follow you.
As the new year commences, let’s take a pledge. A photographer’s pledge.
# I’ll carry a camera with me always.
# I’ll push the limits of my gear & only upgrade/buy new gear if I’m unable to achieve the desired results with my current gear.
# I’ll be patient.
# I’ll try something new every-time I release the shutter.
# I’ll carry a tripod with me & not leave it at home since it is heavy.
# I’ll treat the subject(living or non-living) with respect.
# I’ll enjoy while photographing.
# I’ll try to get it right in camera than to fix it later in post.
# I’ll use photo manipulation judiciously to enhance & not to turn a photograph into photo-manipulated art.
# I’ll respect other photographers & their work.
When I was starting in Photography, I had no clue as to how shutter-speed, aperture & ISO affect the exposure. I had no idea as to why or when to one open up aperture or to raise or lower the ISO. Gradually with trial & errors along-with some reading up, I got grasp over these three elements of the exposure triangle. As the adage goes, when your basics are strong you can make better progress. I often feel most amateur photographers just blindly shoot without learning these basics as they feel them to be boring. Its partly true but that does not mean one should ignore them as every great photographer has these three elements deep sculpted in his mind. With “Right Click”, one can now no longer make any excuses for learning the ABC’s of Photography.
Right Click is an Android application which teaches you the basics of photography. It has two modes – View Mode & Read Mode. Under View mode, one can see the effects of change in aperture, ISO & shutter-speed. All illustrated by amazing visualizations. Under read mode, you can read in brief about them. The best thing about this app is the camera interface which mimics the Canon & Nikon DSLR’s screens so beginners will feel right at home. Apart from the basics, the app also briefs you on various genres of photography which I recommend reading. If you’re a beginner chances are that you’ve not yet found the genre of your liking in photography. Even if you’re not, each genre lists some handy tips which will help you shoot the particular genre with ease.
With the popularity of Android smart-phones, this application will find many takers. However there are a few typos within the read mode which need to be resurrected by the developers. Further I would like the application to provide some challenges to users like throwing up a scene & letting users set the ISO, exposure, aperture for the same. Furthermore expanding on the read mode will be a great addition. Also when user goes into read mode, the orientation changes from landscape to portrait which can be irritating. Else nothing much to complain. This tiny application will come very handy for someone starting with manual photography. And did I say, it offers all this for Free? If you’re beginner in photography & have an Android smart-phone, Right Click is an app you should definitely install.
In order to become a better & a successful photographer one doesn’t solely requires sound technical knowledge about photography. There are myriad other factors which determine the growth & success of a photographer.
Will/Determination – Anything is impossible without a will. A person should have the will to photograph. One should have in mind that he wants to photograph come what may. Only if one has will for photography, one would adopt it, experiment with it & create photographs. This will/determination should be strong and must endure test of time. A temporary or fluctuating determination is of no use. If you do not feel driven from within to create photographs, do not do so. You may find some other thing that will appeal to you which you should search & work upon to become successful.
Patience – “Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.” – Thomas Jefferson. Patience is a great virtue. Its is very true, haste makes waste. In order to rise in photography, one needs patience at every sidewalk. One needs patience while setting up the tripod, one needs patience while setting up the lights, one needs patience while waiting for the perfect landscape light, one needs patience in order to capture the peak moment & I can go on. A good photograph takes time to manifest. Sure, you may get lucky at times but overall it takes a lot of patience. If you’re short tempered you need to take a calm approach to photography. At times, you might not get the shot you desired but if you’re patient you’ll eventually. Also if you’re shooting for a client & mid-shoot any of your equipment dies on you, you need to stay calm & think appropriate solutions to get the shoot done. Such situation require a calm & patient attitude. This one quality will help you a great deal not only in Photography(or any art) but also in life.
Hard Work – There is no substitute for hard work. Armed with will & patience, continue to work harder on your photography skills. Sweat it out. Perform to the best of your abilities & capabilities of your equipment. Leave no stone unturned. Then the results will speak for themselves. Trust me, there is no greater satisfaction than getting the desired results after all that hard work.
Positive attitude – Think it, get it. If you think positive & feel the goodwill, good things will happen to you. Positive attitude does not mean you go aggressive & rash. It means to keep a positive frame of mind as you go around photographing. Its often the fear of failure which limit oneself. This fear cannot be totally eliminated but with positive thoughts it can be tossed into backseat allowing you to perform better & get the desired results. So work on yourself to remain positive under any circumstances.
All the above qualities go hand in hand. Work upon to cultivate & build upon all of them in yourself, you’ll get better with whichever art you want to master.