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Thread: Five Truths about photography

  1. #1

    Default Five Truths about photography

    Was chillin with an old friend last night and started talking about photography etc. Definitely not saying that these are the five most important but just sharing some thoughts.

    1. A good photo is a marriage of TECH SKILL and MOJO SKILL. In mojo I mean the magic that a good photographer can infuse into the shot: the gentle tilt of the head, the correct candid moment, the angle of light as it strikes the object etc. But if one does not know the tech side of photography (ISO, Aperture, shutter speed control etc), then his outcomes are just luck.

    2. Get good one niche at a time. This one more controversial. A good macro insect photographer is not necessarily a good landscape photographer. Competency across all types of photography is like seeing a lawyer fresh out of law school, knows something about everything but not necessarily a master of anything. Focus on acheiving excellence one niche at a time, it is surprising how rewarding this approach can be........

    3. Imitation is flattery. When learning, copy. Copy poses. Copy lighting. Copy perspectives. Copy things that inspire you to go wow! If you can copy a good photo and replicate the shot yourself, you will have learned so much more. Copy means analysing how the shot was done and trying to replicate it to learn the nuances. Copy does NOT mean stealing a pic and photoshopping another model's head on it! "We see what we see now beacuse we stand on the shoulders of giants."

    4. Post processing is integral to photography. Imagine showing a negative to a friend and saying here is the photo, completely untouched except for putting it into a plastic sleeve. Your friend will say hmm.....looks really odd However there is an attitude that post processing a RAW file is "adulterating the pureness of photography". Beware of this attitude in oneself. Yes. You do not need to DI +++ but remember that looking at a untouched RAW is like looking at a neg. In this way, learning how to use a basic RAW editor and a basic photo editor is integral to modern digital photography, the same way that using a darkroom was integral to good old film photography. Just because someone else did the darkroom work for us then does not mean that it was not done!

    5. Shoot with purpose. No. It does not mean that every shot must be a tiring mental exercise. What I mean is that when one takes the shot, one should have an idea what he is trying to do with the shot eg baby shot for the family album, pretend that it is for a fashion mag, documentary shot, National Geo style etc. This "truth" I feel is most relevant to the group XMM shoots. Too many shooters there just snap w/o thinking. If one decides that for the next shot, it is for a pretend music album cover, suddenly one has a reference point to pose the model, decide on the mood etc. By giving each shot/ pose a purpose, it dramatically improves the way the photographer approaches the shot and results in a better picture. Give meaning and purpose to your photos when you are shooting and you will find ways to infuse the magic that will bring your photo from good to great.

    5 cents worth....

  2. #2

    Default Re: Five Truths about photography

    1. I think mojo is everything 90% of the time, tech skills not so important with the auto-everything cameras. But tech skill needed to do studio lighting, etc. of course.

    2. Why is that controversial?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Five Truths about photography

    I support Point 5.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Five Truths about photography

    ohh..point 2 was controversial because some of my other friends do believe that if one is strong in the fundamentals, one can shoot anything. Although I firmly believe in the value of fundamentals, i feel that each niche of photography has its own nuances....beyond those stated in a typical "dummies guide to photography" where each type of photography is given a 3-4 page treatment.

    Their argument is that the nuances derive from the understanding of the fundamentals......how to argue with that?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Five Truths about photography

    Strongly appreciate this five points.

  6. #6
    Member king2penn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Five Truths about photography

    My five truths of photography:

    1) The second truth is a lie

    2) DSLRs perform better than compacts, expensive lenses hand-delivers u nice pictures and models are always easy to work with

    3) The first truth is a lie

    4) The first truth may not be a lie

    5)The second truth does not really matter

  7. #7

    Default Re: Five Truths about photography

    Quote Originally Posted by squall View Post
    ohh..point 2 was controversial because some of my other friends do believe that if one is strong in the fundamentals, one can shoot anything. Although I firmly believe in the value of fundamentals, i feel that each niche of photography has its own nuances....beyond those stated in a typical "dummies guide to photography" where each type of photography is given a 3-4 page treatment.

    Their argument is that the nuances derive from the understanding of the fundamentals......how to argue with that?
    what david norton once said in a magazine stuck in my head

    he said that most beginners ended up trying to be a bao ka liao shooter, i.e. people who want to shoot anything and everything. he said in his time working for practical photography uk, he had seen many pictures of great variety sent in from many different people, and ALWAYS there was something in particular they had that extra zest for, that extra passion, that extra step they were willing to take, that extra vision they could see. he also suggested that they identify that particular subject and milk it to death because they would probably be able to excel and sustain interest in it, as well as bring out plausible ways of looking at things never thought of before.

    a good macro photographer may have strong fundamentals and an eye for say, landscapes, but i think that one cannot be good at everything. if you don't feel as much happiness shooting insects even though you can shoot them.. and you feel much happier looking (and shooting) a beautiful sunset.. then by logical argument you would be better at the latter (though of course, this is not always true because of limiting factors). no one is perfect, no?
    Last edited by night86mare; 22nd November 2008 at 12:28 AM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Five Truths about photography

    I strongly believe in Point (5). When you want to deliver a particular message across with the photo, everything else will click together. It's just a matter of time and tries. Just like when you are driving, your vision will dictate your direction.

    Talk easy lar... heh

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Five Truths about photography

    All 5 have merit, not just in photography, but maybe life as well. I especially like number 3, as you do learn a lot from looking at other photos, paintings and such. I recently went through a large group of photos taken by LX3 cameras on CS (Panasonic section) and saw a lost of good ideas. Thanks, PN
    Leica M6's; 35/2, 50/2, 90/2.8

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Five Truths about photography

    The truth is out there...

  11. #11
    Member Deming86's Avatar
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    Default Re: Five Truths about photography

    yeah I also learnt from my friend about something similar to point 5. That is to look through the viewfinder and think twice if that image is what you want to be captured. In the digital era, we just keep shooting none stop and I always end up deleting losta bad shots. Not only does shooting with a sense of purpose and knowing what you want helps you get better images, its also shutter friendly! (My shutter count attrition rate has dropped tremendously! =D)
    Shoot with your heart, not for greed/ego..

  12. #12

    Default Re: Five Truths about photography

    Quote Originally Posted by Deming86 View Post
    yeah I also learnt from my friend about something similar to point 5. That is to look through the viewfinder and think twice if that image is what you want to be captured. In the digital era, we just keep shooting none stop and I always end up deleting losta bad shots. Not only does shooting with a sense of purpose and knowing what you want helps you get better images, its also shutter friendly! (My shutter count attrition rate has dropped tremendously! =D)
    yes. In the days of shooting film, we used to talk about "keeper ratios" which was the number of shots per 36 roll that we considered good. We did this as film and processing all cost money and we wanted to maximise each roll. Today, I have seen group shoots that average 200 shots per hour!
    photography by SQUALL "Shoot with purpose....."
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