This Week in Photography – Some Basics
First off, I’m assuming that “You” will be the principle audience of this series of blog entries and that “You” are interested in improving your skill at taking pictures and using your camera. If this is not you, then you’re still welcome to read along, and interject from time to time, as we go.
So! You’ve got this camera. It’s a great camera. It’s got buttons here and there, a big screen on the back, and a 10x zoom thingy etc. You’ve taken some shots of the kids, snapped a few landscapes and street scenes and even the occasional flower of two. But! The kids are blurry, the landscape’s boring, you can’t remember what it was in that street scene that caught your eye, and the flowers looked, bigger, didn’t they?
You’ve tried reading the manual, but it reminds you of a bad hair day in the middle of a math class, and for whatever reason, you’re just not satisfied with the results. What to do?
Well, first off, welcome to the world of photography. In articulating this dissatisfaction, you’ve taken your first steps on the way to becoming a photographer.
Over the next five weeks we’ll establish a dialogue together, in which we will explore some simple and effective ways of improving your photography. It is my aim that we interactively progress, in a non-sequential manner, through the following areas, that is, we will,
:- examine ways of using your camera
:- discuss aspects relating to light and how we use it
:- practice seeing in a photographic way
:- explore post-processing methods, and
:- establish a basic workflow routine.
Now that we’ve got all that out of the way, let’s get onto the real stuff.
This Week in Photography
This week we’re going to examine two core aspects. These are fundamental to making the most out of taking pictures. One is camera control, the other is what to do with the images you make, i.e. Image management. The process of managing all of this is called Workflow. Simply put, workflow is the method, the recipe if you like, that you use each time to take recorded images and turn them into pictures.
First up, what do all those pretty icons on the dial, or screen, mean? You should read the manual for your particular camera. By way of introduction though, I’d like you to take a look at Digital Camera Modes from Kodak’s website.
There are a number of different ways to manage the images you collect with your digital camera. First and most likely, you will/should have installed the software that came with your camera. This would allow you to download images from the camera to your computer, store and browse those images and to make some creative changes to your images before sending them of to be printed, displayed on the web or put into an album/scrapbook of some description.
If you haven’t installed your camera’s image management software, you may want to do that first. If you have and you don’t like it then here are some alternatives.
If you have Photoshop then it’s more than likely that you have Bridge as well, but you probably either don’t know about it, or haven’t started to use it. Programs like Lightzone and Lightroom aim to provide, in addition to image library management, non-destructive photo editing.
:- Do the reading.
:- Select two Picture Modes, other than “Auto” and take some pictures using them. Try something counter-intuitive, e.g. photograph a building using the flower/macro mode; using portrait mode photograph a fast moving object.
:- Write down the steps you use to get images from your camera into your computer; what you do to edit your images; and, what you do (would like to do) to print/display them.
:- If you don’t use a workflow application, pick one that matches/simplifies your workflow process.
:- Lastly, write down two questions that you have as a result of this week’s reading and post it here in the blog comments.
Most of all, spend time think about what it is you are actually doing with your camera. Do you just, Point & Shoot? Or do you aim to take a deliberate and thought out photograph?
Best of luck this week, I look forward to hearing your thoughts and fielding your questions.