Mark Seawell's Photo World 3 steps to improving your photography for 2013!
So a new year has started and you have a fancy new camera or you've had a camera for a while and wamt to improve your photography, all valid possibilities. If you are just starting with photography, let me tell you it's a wonderful world! When I started dabbling with photography I had no idea about the options available through this medium. A few short years later Mark Seawell's Photo World is just one of the seeds that sprouted through pursuing photography. Now let me see if I can give you some practical information in your own personal journey.
First, looking back I realize I had no teacher so I taught myself. Fun yes, painful, very! I wish someone could have tapped me on the shoulder at one point to say "You know shooting landscape pictures in the middle of the day isn't great!" Or "Why don't you try that shot again in the evening, the light is not so harsh." There are a million little things that would have helped. I wasted a lot of time. So, if you know someone with photography experience I would say, talk to them! Photographers are normally very chatty people and love to share what they know (hence the blog!). Also, a photography club is very good. You may have a local club close to you and the internet is a good place to start for finding it. You have Facebook of course with groups of folks starting out just like you or more experienced levels are available for folks who have clocked some miles with a camera. I want to take a moment to mention Google+ as well. IMHO Google+ blows FB away when it comes to image quality and there are a LOT of photography clubs and genres under Google+. Google+ seems to have been built from the ground up for photographers. Just my opinion, but there are many places to start. Lastly (shameless plug) I conduct photography workshops and will do at least 4 this year(2013) so check this site for schedules. I also conduct private workshops for those who want one on one training.
Secondly, read, read, and read! I like to read and when I get into something reading is fundamental! I read technical books on photography of course but I also read about photography history. All won't agree, but I like knowing how this all started and who were the greats of my particular interest. I believe reading about Ansel Adams, the Godfather of modern landscape photography has improved my photography immensely. Why? Because people like Ansel Adams pointed the way for me. People like Adams and Henri Cartier-Bresson, the man who started street photography and capturing "The Moment" are instrumental to understanding how modern photography started and where we are today. Knowing a bit of photography history is like being given a map instead of stumbling about. I strongly encourage you to read the map maybe over a cup of coffee! Amazon has a ton of books or you can Google what interests you.
Lastly, and most importantly, get to know your equipment. You have to know what that stupid piece of hardware will record or you'll get really frustrated really fast! Did I just call your camera stupid? Forgive me but it is. Dumb as a pile of rocks. What? I can't hear you over the screaming and grinding teeth! Now that I have your attention I'm going to tell you a photography secret. I don't care if that new camera cost $4000 dollars or whether it cost $400 dollars (like mine) unless you get to know what your camera can and cannot do it will be a long, fruitless journey. But there is a very easy solution. Practice, practice and more practice! Failure, success, failure again. I know it well. I have 10,000 failures on my rather packed external hard drive but I keep most because they show me where I started and how far I've come. Also another great aspect of practicing is you get to know WHAT you like to shoot. Some folks struggle with this but if you are out there shooting something you'll find out what you like. Touch the camera everyday if possible even if for 5-10 minutes. Without practice and experimenting with your camera you are like a bird without wings, you'll never learn to fly.
I hope this has helped you in your journey! I like feedback and if I can help, I will! I am looking forward to 2013 as the photography journey continues and changes as it must. For me photography isn't just about the the pictures but what we discover about ourselves along the way. Through this blog I'll be providing regular inputs so I hope you will follow us. Keep shooting!
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