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....