Photography has become less expensive since it has gone Digital. Its easy for anyone with a camera to right-away create wonderful photographs, to put ones mental creativity into action. Due to this, we have tons & tons of photographer around the globe. Its easy to get bogged down by work of other great photographers. Often amateur(& even some seasoned) photographers have the bad habit of comparing oneself with other photographers. They behold the photographers at a pedestal position & treat them as a benchmark. Its one thing to get inspiration from them but this amounts to comparison.
Due to human nature, its instinctive to fall for easily attracted bad things/habits. Its easy to gauge oneself lower than others. Its easy to convince one that we’re not good enough than to convince one we’re good if not better. Often as a photographer, we get lost in style of others photographers, their gear(lenses, flash etc) & their processing styles. Its fairly easy to get intimidated with great photographers & to see one’s work not worthy enough in comparison to theirs. Once a photographer gets lost in this torrent of comparing oneself with other photographers, his/her personal growth gets stunted. His/Her self-confidence suffers badly & getting out of this rut becomes difficult.
The best way to avoid this, is to compare “Yourself with Yourself”. Compare your present photographs with your earlier photographs. Compare your present lighting techniques with the ones you used earlier. Compare your present approach to photography to your previous one. Compare your present processing techniques to your previous ones. This way, you’ll be able to know whether you’re progressing or not. Try to better your own previous results. Try to improve your shooting, lighting, post-processing & planning techniques than you already have. This way, your confidence will get boosted automatically as you better your own previous work. Ultimately, this will make you a better photographer & allow you to better yourself over the photographers who you once used to get intimidated with. Good Luck. :)
I tend to get most of my photography ideas when I’m sleeping or when I’m least expecting them. At such times, its easy to relax & say to oneself that, “I will implement/work on the idea later”. Stop right there. Get a pen along-with a piece of paper and jot the idea down immediately. Lest it flies out of your head.
Its not paranoia but however strong your recollecting ability be, you’re bound to forget something or at-times not recollect something completely. I make it a point to keep a small spiral pad & a pen in my camera bag & one at my home, so I can quickly jot down the idea as it strikes me. If at times, I’m without pen & a pad, I punch the idea into mobile messages drafts. This way I’m safe from letting off a good photographic opportunity.
This nifty tip was imparted on my ears by the renowned photographer, Shiresh Karrale at a Better Photography workshop. He defined this process as making “Photography Scribbles”. These scribbles have helped me immensely to plan a shoot beforehand. I make it a point to make these scribbles as detailed as possible, with lighting diagrams, tips, problems faced & so on. You should also implement this idea in your photography work-flow & experience how overtime it will help you in making better photographs.
I love to botch up photographs. It always makes me learn something new. Like me, you too should never be afraid to make mistakes in photography. You can learn a ton from mistakes. Actually I would say, you cannot learn in a better way than making a mistake in first place & then improving on it in the second attempt.
Making mistakes, teach you photography in a reverse manner than those taught by photography books or instructors. Mistakes sometime can even be beneficial in getting good shots. Let me give you an example. You forgot to put lens hood on your lens while shooting & you get this glare in your photograph. Suddenly an ordinary photograph has become visually striking due to the glare. Off-course not all mistakes will be beneficial. Some mistakes can even prove costly, so just tread with little caution when you’re on a paid assignment. In free time, while you develop your portfolio or are dillydallying with your camera, feel free to get out of your normal routine & try something new with your camera. Purposely try to overexpose, try to move camera while using second curtain flash, try to release shutter when you’re jumping & are in mid-air. The possibilities are only limited as per your vision. I bet, you’ll learn a lot about photography & make wonderfully visually appealing photographs by following this tip.
Making mistakes does not make you a bad photographer as most photographers think. It is a way of preparing yourself for the worst & will come handy when you’re in pickle at a middle of an important shoot. Just bear in mind to commit mistakes but not to repeat them. Try committing a different mistake the next time. Have fun with mistakes & learn from them. :)
While you’re shooting, you’re always changing your camera’s setting – ISO, Aperture, White Balance etc. Given the complexity of today’s camera, you’ve a whole lot of settings to think before you take a shot. At time, we get so hurried that we forget to change the camera to its default setting.
Take an example, you’re shooting outside your house on a bright sunny day & the contrast range is very high in your scene. You’re taking a shot of a white building & decide to overexpose it by one stop to get an optimal exposure. Once you are done with the shot, you head inside your home & spot a candid moment among your family members. You quickly take the camera to your eye & shoot leading to a “Oops!” moment. You forgot to change the +1 exposure compensation which you dialled in for shooting the white building. Your candid shot is all gone with all the highlights blown out. Even post-processing cannot come to your aid.
The above example may not be such a big deal but imagine you’re on field shooting a client’s wedding(or similar one time event) & you mess up. You’ll be kicking yourself. Instead, just remember always to keep camera at a safe default setting. This means removing any automation & special parameters you may have set(which includes exposure compensation, drive mode, white balance, flash metering & much more) to get a previous shot. Make it a habit to take any changed options back at their default setting & you’ll never need to miss/mess-up the upcoming shot.
I’ve often heard photographers complain about they being not able to get good pictures as they are unable to travel to places. Off-course, the complain is a genuine one but not entirely true. The simple & effective solution is to shoot repeatedly in your familiar territory. A good photograph can be made almost anywhere. It can be even made into your own house, on your terrace, in your society’s compound etc.
If you want to shoot around & outside your home, consider visiting a park/monument/open space in your locality(I mention these places so you can make yourself comfortable shooting at first as these places provide ready-made photographic opportunities. Once get familiar enough, you’ll be able to look for frames even on streets, alleys etc). Frequent it with the objective of taking photographs. Go there again & again & again. I can assure you, that the photographic opportunities of a particular place are endless but only limited by your imagination. I’ve made most of my photographs at areas around my home yet many people think they are made at some far away exotic locations. Go out at different times of a day, shoot even if the conditions are unfavorable. If not a good photograph at-least you’ll gather experience of shooting under a particular lighting condition.