Monday, November 22, 2010

Making Your Photos Sing

From my ebook, Guerrilla Glamour: "You can have the best gear that money can buy and still shoot photos that suck. (That really sucks, doesn't it?)"

If you think better gear, make that the latest and most expensive gear, is going to automatically make you a better shooter, you've been misled by the marketing and advertising guys who make their livings hyping and pimping all that stuff.

There's only one thing, above all else, that will help make you a better shooter.


When it comes to enhancing and refining your photography skills, the latest-n-greatest cameras, the newest versions of Photoshop or Lightroom, those high-tech digital strobes married to nifty devices that trigger them while allowing your camera to "talk" to your lights, pale in comparison to the actual and oft-practiced experience of shooting.

Anything I write (or that anyone else writes) intended to help you reach higher levels of photographic excellence will do little to help you if you don't get out there and employ those suggestions by shooting.

There are many things in the world that cannot be skillfully and artfully learned from teachers and mentors, by reading books or articles, by viewing videos or listening to podcasts, by attending workshops and seminars, by building flashy websites, by blogging, by networking and meeting-up, or by Tweeting, MySpacing, or Facebooking. Photography is one of them.

I'm not down on better gear. I'm not marginalizing learning methods, traditional or otherwise. I'm simply saying if you truly want to improve your photography you need to get out there and shoot. You need to shoot often. It doesn't matter if you're shooting with a Canon 5D Mk2 or a little point-n-shoot. Any camera is capable of providing you with added experience that translates into improved skills.

Yes, post-processing can help make your photos "sing." Sometimes, it can even do so when the raw photo appears mute and incapable of visual music. But skillful production, later coupled with skillful post-processing, will make your photos sing loudly and beautifully. It will make them into music for people's eyes.

Okay. I just thought I'd kick Monday off with a little pep-talk.

The pretty girl on the pool table at the top, coming towards me like a sexy feline, is Penthouse Pet, Tori Black.


Lawrence said...

"There's only one thing, above all else, that will help make you a better shooter.


Sorry, but I cannot agree to this... or rather, it is a woefully incomplete statement that could be misleading.

Shooting more by itself will not make you a better shooter. In fact, it can make you worse as well.

Practicing doing the wrong thing or for the wrong reason will not make your photos look better over time and you will form habits that become hard to break.

You need to get involved with someone, or a community to critique your work and try and get it out to the largest audience possible because the more varied the critique, the better, which is why this internet thing is so marvelous.

jimmyd said...

@Lawrence: So true! Many people with point-n-shoots (and dSLRs too) merely point and click thousands and thousand of times and their pics get no better. I guess what I should have made clearer was that shooting, combined with the learning stuff, yields better photographers. You can't become better by engaging in passive learning processes alone. You have to add getting out there and shooting to it. Plenty of getting out there and shooting. Thanks Lawrence!!!

Fred said...

Very interesting points raised. I feel we sometimes seem to chasing the lastest gear, and not worrying as much to what we are actually putting in the frame.

Great informative website, and your e-books are brilliant.


Anonymous said...

Some very good points here. I find myself shooting all the time nowdays, but the important part is going back and analyzing the images as per the lens and settings used for any particular photo. This has helped me tremendously in the recent past to hopefully become a beter, more effecient photographer.

Thanks for all your insite Jimmy.

Fusion Photo