Why do we take pictures anyways? We use them to help us remember events and share them with friends and family. They’re sort of a way of saying “Hey, I saw this. I did this.” A tangible and visible record of what we’ve done with our lives.
But photography can be more than just snapshots. In general I think that everyone is looking for an outlet to express themselves. We turn to activities such as painting, sports, or dance as methods to convey our emotions. The camera offers us, like sculptors, a toolset that we can use to impact our final product. We use tools such as focus, aperture, shutter speed, angle, light, and shadow to exaggerate certain aspects of what we see.
It’s really easy to get started, pretty much everyone has a camera… you really don’t need anything fancy. Cell phones and “point and shoots” are perfectly acceptable. Hell, you don’t even need a camera, all you have to do is take notice of things that make an impression on you. Things you would like to remember, or even simpler… things that you just like. Examples could be that kid happily eating his ice cream, the dog chilling on the side of the road, the fashionable girl walking down the road. The first step in taking a photo is observation, and developing that “itch” to press the shutter.
The thing is, in order to take interesting pictures, you really have to go outside. A lot of people tend to take pictures of things around their house and I’d have to say 98% of the time these pictures are really boring and do nothing for me. So step outside and explore!
The difference between an experienced photographer and a beginner is their ability to which tools to use for a paticular situation. Sometimes when you look at a scene or moment occur, think to yourself, “How can I capture that?” if you have your camera on you, try it out. Learning photography is a very guess and check oriented process. You’re going to take a lot of images, and chances are you’ll only get 1 good picture every 200-300 shots, but keep at it you’ll become more consistant over time.
At first it could be really hard to take in everything around you.. so start small. Go outside with 2 subjects in mind. For example, you could devote an entire day or week to dogs and flowers. The next week you could look out for shadows and reflections.
I’m going to try and assign some homework for you guys.
During the course of you’re normal day. Write down or make a mental list of 5 things that make an impression on you visually or events you’d like to remember, and post that list to your blog. An example would be:
- I was sitting at a cafe and a girl wearing a purple dress walked in, I really liked her tattoo.
- The sky was beautiful today, there were lots of clouds and they were perfectly formed. I could look at them all day.
- I saw a yellow flower on the side of the road, it looked lonely.
- I met up with Jessica for lunch today, we had a really fun time, it would be awesome if I could capture her personality.
- The Third Eye Blind concert was amazing, I wish I could capture the intensity of the performance and audience.
And perhaps if you’re feeling up to it… take a picture of some of these with any camera you might have, whether it be cell phone, point and shoot, or DSLR.
Post this list to your blog, tumblr, or facebook page. And then put the link as a comment for this post. It would be nice if you guys could link your post back to my blog in hopes of more people joining in on this!
Stay Tuned, the next post will be about buying gear (it’ll be a LONG but very informative post)