Saturday, February 08, 2014

Become One With Your Camera

Click to Enlarge
Been working on my next (and 5th) ebook: Location Flash. I hope to get it done and released in the next few weeks. I have a few more photos to snap for it but that's the fun part. They're not random photos, of course. Rather, they're images that help illustrate the ideas, concepts, and techniques described in the book.

Unlike some other ebooks on the market, mine aren't about showing off my photography. Mine aren't about teaching people to shoot pictures that look like mine. (Not that I'm saying anyone would necessarily want to do that.) My ebooks encourage readers to develop their own styles and ways of doing things. I provide information that people can take, incorporate into their production work-flows and methodologies, and do just that-- make the photos their own and not some cookie-cutter images mimicking the work of other shooters.  My aim with my ebooks is to help less experienced photographers develop their photographic potentials... and to earn a few bucks for my Paypal account. (Hey! At least I'm honest about that part, right?)

Superstar photographer, Annie Leibovitz, once said she uses her camera "in a Zen way." It's a telling statement that resonates with me. It doesn't mean she walks around wearing the orange robes of a Buddhist monk with a camera in her hand. It means -- leastwise, for me it does -- that she becomes one with her camera when it's in her hands. In other words, it becomes a part of her. An extension of herself.

How do we become one with our cameras?  Well, doing so requires learning about our cameras. Not so much what makes them tick but how to make them tick in ways we want them to tick. We should be learning as much as we can about them in terms of  how they function, what their controls do and where they're located, what their many capabilities are (or few depending on the camera) so we can best employ that knowledge in order to capture the images we hope to capture. We become one with our cameras when we know these things inside out, when they become like second nature, automatic, as if our cameras are extensions of ourselves, like another limb or hand or a part of our limbs and hands.  Especially those functions, controls, and capabilities that are most important to the sorts of photos we most often snap.

Remember the Johhnny Depp film, Edward Scissorhands?  That's what I'm talking about. Our cameras should become (for us) like Edward's scissor hands were to him. He was one with his scissor hands.  We, as photographers, should become one with our cameras.

And guess what happens when we become one with out cameras?  We are free to bring our creative selves to the images rather than worrying about (or trying to figure out) how we can do this or that with our inanimate instruments/tools designed and manufactured to do just that: to free us creatively from the some, if not many, of the technical sides of photography.  But doing so requires investing time in what often seems like the mundane. The least glamorous part of photography. The technical part.

My ebooks, by the way, don't teach people the tech side of their cameras. That's something for them to learn about on their own. Fortunately, most cameras come with an instruction manual, a user guide. Crack it open. Spend some quality time with it. Seek out other technical guides that will help you become one with your camera and then practice what you've learned.  Practice, practice, practice. I guarantee the time invested will be well spent. It will pay-off dividends. It will help you become one with your camera. You might not end up as successful a photographer as Annie Leibovitz -- or perhaps you might --  but you will become a better photographer. A much better photographer.  You can take that to the bank.

The gratuitous, golden-hued, eye candy at the top is Charmaine. She's lit with a 33.5" Mola "Euro" beauty dish for the main, a couple of strip boxes either side for kickers, and a small soft box boomed overhead for a hair light. I put a small piece of Rosco's Bastard Amber gel on the glass baffle of the Mola dish to warm her up a bit. Some photographers like to use a bit of CTO gel (Color Temperature Orange) to do that but I prefer Bastard Amber. My second choice for skin-warming gels is "Straw."  I rarely, if ever, use CTO, leastwise for warming up the skin displayed by my glamour models.

No comments: