Don’t you love when you predictions are correct?
I remember a particular student in my beginning class mentioning that she was only interested in landscapes, and nothing else.
Didn’t care for making pictures of people at all.
I met up with her 4 Years later.
Keep an Open Mind
The first words out of her mouth were, “You were right.”
During class, I playfully kidded her about her narrow-mindedness.
I said she would outgrow her ‘Ansel Adams’ period and move on to portraiture.
It’s a very normal evolution.
I started like many of you pointing my camera at inanimate objects and things that didn’t move.
Then as I figured out the controls, I got bored and needed to be challenged to grow.
So I stalked ‘people’ but from a distance with a long lens next.
When Photographing People, talk with them
As expected, stealing a shot of a stranger from a distance with a long lens became easy after a while.
The next step though, was a lot tougher.
It required me to get used to approaching strangers.
When I worked as a news photographer, taking the picture was only half of the job.
I had to go up to them and ask for their names afterwards so that I could identify them in the caption.
Clearly, their cooperation often depended on what they were doing when I took their picture.
Without names, the picture would not see the light of day.
That, by the way, is great training for anyone who is an introvert and shy.
Even today as my technical skills have improved, I rely heavily on this skill.
It’s the difference between getting an average picture and a nice portrait.
If I’ve establish a rapport, my subject trusts me to make them look their best.
They’ll be amenable to suggestions like moving to another location that has better light, giving me more time or even striking an unfamiliar pose.
Study Your Metadata
The best thing about digital photography is how you can teach yourself not to repeat your mistakes.
The EXIF information is there embedded in your images.
All you need is to use Adobe Bridge or Lightroom or even use “Finder” or “Windows Explorer” to read the info about your focal length, white balance, shutter speed, ISO and aperture.
Even if you don’t have access to Adobe’s software, if you use the Firefox browser, you can install a free add-on so that you can read the EXIF info about any picture online.
The lessons here aren’t so much about techniques but more about your own capabilities like ability to handhold slow shutter speeds or focus.
If you find you consistently have pictures that aren’t sharp, check those images against the lens it was taken with, then you can narrow down the culprit especially if you are using a high enough shutter speeds to freeze action or reduce camera shake.
Peter Phun Photography
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