In today’s digital world where the attitude of lots of photographers is – if I mess up the photo, I can fix it in photoshop!
This leaves many snappers missing out on a large amount of technical understanding that will help them improve their photographs. It’s imporatant to learn the basics of photography as a good grounding will help you produce better photos.
Many of these digital users feel ‘why do I need to clog my brain with all of that technical stuff, if I can fix it in photoshop?’ And it’s a good point but only up to a point!
Making not taking a picture
Being a good photographer isn’t simply about taking a picture, admittedly it’s a large part of it, but there’s more to it than that. Understanding how the camera works, how to balance aperture, shutter speed and ISO to create the perfect exposure, how to use composition to direct the eye of the viewer. How to use texture, form and shape to make your photos interesting. But most of all, it’s about how you translate what you see in your mind into an actual photograph, and that’s something entirely different.
You need to learn the basics of photography. You can’t simply let the camera do it for you even if you have a fancy smancy expensive camera and neither can you hope that photoshop will fix it.
Admittedly modern cameras are sophisticated pieces of kit but they are inanimate objects. They don’t see, they capture but they can’t create, they record but have no sense of composition or vision. They simply do what they are told to do, unless of course you use it in automatic mode and then it does it all for you! But if you do you are missing out on half the fun!
Why wouldn’t a photographer want to participate in the photos they take? Why wouldn’t they want creative control? Why wouldn’t they want, at the very least to control what goes into the camera rather than try to fix what comes out?
Learn the basics of photography
Such as exposure and composition should be the minimum requirements for participating in the scene your camera takes?
Once learned, the next step is to master those techniques so that making those exposure changes becomes second nature and you can do them instinctively whilst concentrating on composition. Understanding the makeup of a good photograph comes with practice and being aware of some of the guidelines of composition will help your photos improve.
Learning photography is a fun, gratifying and constant journey – after 28 years as a full time photographer I am still learning and still enjoying it. That’s partly because I love photography but also because I shoot in manual mode and therefore I have to involve myself in ‘the taking process’.
And therein lies the rub, I want to create, I want ‘part of me’ to be in the final photograph.
And of course I use photoshop just about everyday in my workflow but I try to get things right in the camera and I don’t hope that I can fix it in photoshop, I took the time to learn the basics of photography.
Many old school photographers will say they learned the right way using film where every exposure and every fme of film mattered, and that digital is easy and there’s no need to learn the basics of photography.
A contentious point!
There is some merit in this, I myself learned using film and am glad that I did. But this doesn’t automatically make me a better photographer but it does make me appreciate each and every time I press the shutter button. Having to think about the right exposure, understand how each brand of film reacted to light, as well as working on composition made the old brain power work overtime. In other words I had to be involved in taking and making the photograph.
As I stated earlier I do use photoshop but it’s only part of my photographer’s toolkit. The most important part in my toolkit is my own unique view, my willingness to experiment and my desire to learn and improve.
One of the easiest ways to learn the basics of photography is to move from automatic mode to manual mode and take control of your camera. If going to full manual mode is a bit daunting then try one of the half manual mode
s such as, aperture or shutter priority.
Letting your camera do part of the work while you learn how to do the other half is a good way to learn. Concentrating on learning aperture whilst letting the camera help you out with the shutter speed will speed up your understanding of the exposure triangle.