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Thoughts about Photography (as a Hobby Photographer)

jpino79

Bern, CH
1 posts

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jpino79 Registered since 04th Mar 2014
Tue 04-Mar-14 12:40 PM

Hello everybody - i asked myself that question...

What makes a photo really stunning for yourself and your audience? This is a question every photographer would face if you are interested to get better at photography then creating average snapshot images.

I try to answer that in my own words: It’s like telling a story, creating a poetry, creating emotions with a special look or ambience, catching a short moment which is rare to see and making a good composition out of it, to stage something and having a good scenery behind it, getting in touch with other people and creating a good mood, create a new perspective from things which is contrary to what you see on your daily routine, have an eye and feeling about design, art, colors, details, light, ambience and interesting things which you will find everywhere around you, being patient for the right moment, being patient for the right light, show details you won’t even notice or think about it, play with your camera as it would be a painting tool, don’t think about your equipment but think about creating a picture that you would like to see years later again and it still feels stunning, you like it to be creative and it’s fascinating and a passion at the same time, you care about high image quality or you use image quality as a tool, you like to know about everything around it, shoot as many things as possible when you’re traveling around as you won’t get a second chance (no, this is not about creating a million images in a week but to catch something special which you won’t see in a certain amount of time again), make a picture as if you would paint a picture, make a picture as if you would be a director or producer of a movie. I think there is many more stuff which i’m not yet aware of it…

And practically it’s not that easy as describing it with words. I believe most photographers and professionals are reviewing hundreds of photos before making a decision of what they want to keep or present (that depends also from what your are actually shooting or interested in). I didn’t read much books about photography yet but i like to study other pictures from other photographers which are stunning. You can learn a lot out of it from the best ones or from photographers that have the ability to communicate character to their pictures. You need to be self-critical with your own work. Always have a open mind of how other people are commenting or rating your photos but without loosing your faith about your own creativity. Don’t shoot photos only to please other people as you would loose all the fun and enthusiasm about it. Ask yourself why photography is your main part of interest. Don’t get irritated if people take a strange look at you about what you’re doing on the streets, on a place, in a room or everywhere else. Don’t get confused about camera equipment. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Olympus, Sony, Panasonic or even the iPhone - what matters is your picture and if you feel comfortable and pleased with your own equipment. Get familiar with your own equipment and learn what you can do with that tool. Don’t give up or be frustrated if hundreds of your photos aren’t it worth to be published as long as you find a few ones which are exceptionally good from that project or album. Every single positive rating or comment about your photo is a huge motivator and proofs that you can’t be that wrong.

Maybe i need to continue this topic here but it was important to write that down. Is this a good starting point to get better at photography? I would like to hear from anybody sharing his personal thoughts.

Kind Regards
Jorge

ajdooley

Waterloo, US
2651 posts

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#1. "RE: Thoughts about Photography (as a Hobby Photographer)" | In response to Reply # 0

ajdooley Gold Member Nikonian since 25th May 2006
Wed 05-Mar-14 11:40 AM | edited Wed 05-Mar-14 12:19 PM by ajdooley

Jorge -- You pose a very interesting issue. Another element of it is, when one is shooting, when have you made enough exposures? When do you HAVE your photo?

I think a lot of it depends on knowing what you are trying to capture and what makes it a good result. It doesn't necessarily have to be a stunning, action-packed, or sensationally lighted photo. It just has to illustrate what you want to show, capture what you want to remember or share, and in essence, finish the job.

That doesn't end when the shutter has been clicked and the camera turned off. You also have to, I believe, properly post-process your image. This is analogous to printing it in the old days. A poor print could camouflage a great image!

I'm attaching an example. I work part time for a newspaper. I was asked two days ago to shoot a photo of the clean up from a recent winter storm. It had been predicted to be a sequence of icy rain, sleet and then snow. Only the snow barely showed up, so I wanted to portray the different aspect of cleaning up slippery walks. I found a local county employee spreading salt on walks around the county court house and shot several photos. I thought this one showed what I wanted to say -- where the action was occurring, the action of spreading rock salt -- and was able to lighten the worker's face slightly to ensure he was well identified. It's nothing great -- 10 minutes of talking and shooting -- maybe 15 minutes of post processing. But I think it tells the story well. So by my definition -- this one is a keeper.

Click on image to view larger version


Attachment #1, (jpg file)

Alan
Waterloo, IL, USA
www.proimagingmidamerica.com

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Pouncer

Memphis, US
1169 posts

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#2. "RE: Thoughts about Photography (as a Hobby Photographer)" | In response to Reply # 0

Pouncer Silver Member Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009
Sat 08-Mar-14 01:00 AM

>What makes a photo really stunning for yourself?

Honestly, if I like it, that's all that matters. I don't have any preconceived notions. I try to watch my composition to avoid glaring errors, and of course good light is better than harsh light. Get the right shutter speed and aperture. I hate seeing a potentially great photo of mine that has an obvious (to me) technical flaw that should not have occurred.

>and your audience?

I've found that non-photographers are not very picky. Family and friends really like a lot of my photos that I find very pedestrian. I don't sell my work, so I'm not concerned about the buying public. In fact, I really don't have an audience aside from my family. And they're not at all discriminating.

As an example of both of the above comments, my wife's favorite photo is one I took of my daughter. Either I slightly missed focus (most likely) or the shutter speed was too low to prevent some motion blur. My wife sees a beautiful photo. I see a great moment, and an okay photo, and what could have been if I didn't botch it. My wife knows that technical perfection is overrated in many situations, but it is still something that I strive to achieve.

Constructive criticism and comments are welcome, but I find that most are thoughts that I considered and discarded, or don't really care to follow.

How do I improve? Difficult to say. I can't really say that I am getting better. Occasionally I try to get out of my comfort zone and try something different. I do like to read photography books (mostly landscape and nature, not so much people or street). And from looking at the works of others that I like, for ideas, not necessarily to imitate.

Garrett

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PSAGuy

Lake Elmo, US
1482 posts

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#3. "RE: Thoughts about Photography (as a Hobby Photographer)" | In response to Reply # 1

PSAGuy Gold Member Nikonian since 04th Nov 2008
Sat 08-Mar-14 01:25 AM | edited Sat 08-Mar-14 01:27 AM by PSAGuy

Alan....
Love that shot...it tells a story in a visually pleasing way. Really nice image.

I have a favorite county fair I cover each year. I shot the photo below at it....It's one of my favorite images (and it won the Grand Champion award at the fair the next year).

It's not technically perfect I know, but a county fair is fun....and I think this is a "fun" image.

Also....the actual final image was cropped to eliminate the grass below the stand. I found it too distracting.



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Attachment #1, (jpg file)

ericbowles

Atlanta, US
9425 posts

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#4. "RE: Thoughts about Photography (as a Hobby Photographer)" | In response to Reply # 0

ericbowles Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005
Sat 08-Mar-14 04:36 PM

The criteria I usually use is whether I would print the image large and hang it on my wall. I have a limited amount of space - so commercially successful work may not be what works for my wall.

I'm looking for an exceptional moment. Maybe it's tranquility. Maybe it's when the light hits something perfectly in a terrific place. Maybe it's a wildlife subject in a perfect pose or at peak action. The light and color needs to be right. It needs to imply greater context or a feeling.

Technical excellence is a given - but the scene and the moment may outweigh minor technical issues. For example, I have an image of a gorilla mother carrying a newborn infant. This image was captured on an overcast day, backlit, and is a little soft. But the infant looks a lot like a human infant with no hair - and it makes the image compelling. This image was from a zoo - but is such an unusual scene that it is successful in spite of its flaws.

Eric Bowles
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Attachment #1, (jpg file)

ajdooley

Waterloo, US
2651 posts

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#5. "RE: Thoughts about Photography (as a Hobby Photographer)" | In response to Reply # 4

ajdooley Gold Member Nikonian since 25th May 2006
Sun 09-Mar-14 02:58 AM | edited Sun 09-Mar-14 03:00 AM by ajdooley

Eric -- just a stunning photo! It meets the criteria for sure. Thanks for sharing. One of my unsaid criteria for judging another person's photo is when I say to myself, "Boy! I sure wish I'd taken that! And this qualifies.

Alan
Waterloo, IL, USA
www.proimagingmidamerica.com

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jesse101

Great Falls, US
578 posts

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#6. "RE: Thoughts about Photography (as a Hobby Photographer)" | In response to Reply # 5

jesse101 Silver Member Nikonian since 28th Dec 2011
Sun 09-Mar-14 10:34 PM

this is a good question..and I'm sure for many, they started photography simply because they enjoy what they do.

I personally go for perfection, sharp, well lit portraits. I never seem to get it, so this drives me to get the perfect portrait. On top of that i want my portraits to tell a story, and show expression...all these goals link together is what drives me to continuously shoot portraits.

At times i get comments good and bad...and what i feel may be total opposite. When the photos are mine, i could care less, i tend to express what i want, and at times i may never even post the photos on sharing sites..its something that was special to me.


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Attachment #1, (jpg file)

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santaregina

US
20 posts

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#7. "RE: Thoughts about Photography (as a Hobby Photographer)" | In response to Reply # 0

santaregina Registered since 19th Oct 2013
Sat 22-Mar-14 05:23 PM

A photograph as piece of art is, as they say, in the eye of the beholder. The craft of photography, focus (sharp/soft), lighting, post processing gets you to where YOU want to go whether its composition, colors, shapes, emotion or all of the above.

Amblin_xi

UK
30 posts

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#8. "RE: Thoughts about Photography (as a Hobby Photographer)" | In response to Reply # 0

Amblin_xi Registered since 05th Apr 2014
Wed 09-Apr-14 12:21 AM | edited Wed 09-Apr-14 12:26 AM by Amblin_xi

Photography is unique because there's almost always more than meets the eye. So it's all up to the photographer how he would 'connect' the viewer to the scene of such photos, to enlighten imaginations, to show the 'big picture'.

Photography can also be very personal. Each photo represent a monent that's already past. It's like the ticking of a clock, insignificant it may seem, out of focus it may be and sometimes fade into the background and forgotten. But unlike the passing time, with photography you can always relive the moment every once in a while.

Photography is without boundaries. What's behind that ridge? What if I climb higher? wait a little longer? Try a new trick? Some new gear? The possibility is endless, and it's not just to the photographer, but the viewers too. it's Always exciting.

2pixels_short

Anchorage, US
892 posts

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#9. "RE: Thoughts about Photography (as a Hobby Photographer)" | In response to Reply # 0

2pixels_short Gold Member Laureate Ribbon awarded for winning in the Best of Nikonians 2013 images Photo Contest Nikonian since 16th Oct 2003
Wed 09-Apr-14 01:11 AM

When out and about in Alaska, particularly when the Aurora is visible, I may shoot several hundred frames. Of those, there may be only a handful or less that really appeal to me. However many of my most popular images are ones that may not appeal to me personally.

Click on image to view larger version


Mike in Alaska


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Attachment #1, (jpg file)

tekneektom

Land O Lakes, US
1952 posts

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#10. "RE: Thoughts about Photography (as a Hobby Photographer)" | In response to Reply # 0

tekneektom Gold Member Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014 Nikonian since 18th Nov 2011
Wed 09-Apr-14 02:00 AM

Jorge, a very interesting question!

I like the saying, attributed to Ansel Adams; "There are two people in every photograph, the photographer and the viewer." I have a number of images I really like, they speak to me. To be REALLY GOOD, I think they also need to speak to others. And the longer I can keep the viewer in the image, the better it is. Of course, there's really no way to measure how long someone else stays in your photo, but you can look at comments and get some idea of how your images are accepted.

If your photo speaks to you and to others, I think you've succeeded...at least for the moment. In the long run your success might be measured in terms of a number of successful moments AND the personal pleasure that you've derived from your photography.

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PBlais

Hayes, US
1770 posts

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#11. "RE: Thoughts about Photography (as a Hobby Photographer)" | In response to Reply # 0

PBlais Gold Member Nikonian since 19th Jan 2014
Tue 15-Apr-14 01:09 AM

It comes down to some simple questions.

1. Finding the shot and knowing you found it and then took it. It's maybe the biggest rush. It proves something to yourself. For me I usually know when I've found it and either I get it or feel bad knowing I could have and didn't. Seeing the perfect light and then knowing how to shoot is something we all look for because it's just plain fun.

2. As a professional you have to deliver something. It also has to be of some quality and you need to do it all the time. At a professional level it's more than just personal. Having a client that really is excited is then the moment you look for right after they pay the bill.

3. Finding a shot in post you didn't think you had is a real click your heels three times experience too. That's just personal. If it's good it is.

4. Getting to the point of pulling shots for presentation or competition is a whole higher level. It depends on if you win.

Story telling is perhaps a bigger picture and while significant it isn't really how you do this stuff. If you do it well then you can say you did. The story is obvious when the pictures are good but if not then it may not be a bad story or bad pictures. Not all stories are worth telling. You can shoot 700 pictures and nail it with only one. How you get to one picture is a story.

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G