How to go from being a monkey with a camera to being a decent photographer
Guest Blogger – Behlah Barbhaya.
What is Photography
It’s the modern age folks, practically everybody has a powerful camera in their pockets which is capable of taking some incredible pictures. Phones have come a long way in a very short period of time especially when it comes to the quality of images that they are able to produce. It’s incredible what the engineers at Apple and Samsung and for that matter every mobile manufacturer is achieving today. Some more enthusiastic people, however, decide to spend their money on something slightly more professional- a DSLR camera. Unfortunately, not all of these people have a photographic sense that enables them to make the most of these fantastic devices. So how to go from being a monkey with a camera to be a decent photographer?
In this article, I’m going to talk about what is photography, making sense of photography, and how to make the most of whichever camera you have.
Some people say that photography is all about how good the light is or how good the equipment is or how correct the settings are. And several wannabe pros say that you must always shoot on fully manual settings on a full-frame DSLR during the golden hour.
A photographer that has photographic sense will be able to create amazing images regardless of the equipment they use. It’s how you compose your images that makes or breaks the picture. And the ability to compose images has nothing to do with what camera you use. That is entirely on the photographer and is what separates the best photographers from the rest.
Pro photographers have the amazing ability to perceive things in a unique way with God-like attention to detail. It is the finer details that matter and paying attention to those can really elevate your ability as a photographer. Something as simple as the horizon being slightly askew or a person’s feet being cut off from the photo should bug you as a photographer.
These are the basics of photographic sense. You are either born with it or some of us unfortunate ones have to develop it over a period of time.
Developing photographic sense, like any other skill, takes practice. All you have to do is take your camera, any camera, and start shooting the world around you. You need to have the curiosity to try different angles of the same subject. It’s trial and error for the most part.
You may have heard the phrase “Rules are meant to be broken”. This is especially true when it comes to photography. But before breaking any rules it is important to fully understand and master them.
Let me share an exercise that I practice developing my photographic sense. Basically, I challenged myself to take one great picture every day for a month. I’d carry on with my daily routine but at the end of the day I should have taken an interesting picture from wherever I had been that day.
It was challenging at first because I hadn’t developed my photographic sense yet and I didn’t visit beautiful places worthy of clicking photographs every day. But once I got a hang of it and started seeing things in a different light, I realized the importance of developing a photographic sense. It had become like a second nature, as if a third eye had opened and towards the end, I started taking 3 to 4 decent pictures every day.
For the most part the pictures I took during this exercise were with my phone, which was the camera I had with me at all times. Most of the pictures I took were based on getting the composition right. And the other advantage of using a phone was I could place it in nooks, crannies and crevices where my DSLR couldn’t possibly go.
It didn’t matter that I didn’t have my Canon with me at all. I was still able to create interesting images of uninteresting things while having an uninteresting lifestyle using a mid-range Nokia phone. That isn’t to say that having an expensive camera is useless. I could talk about the technical mumbo jumbo of it all day long, but I’ll leave that for another day.
You shouldn’t avoid clicking a picture because of your gear (or lack of). The best camera you can have is the one you have right now. The point I’m trying to make is that the best photography isn’t restricted to the best cameras. Yes, the technical, more expensive DSLR and mirrorless cameras will give you a much higher potential for taking better images but unless you know what you are doing with it, you’re just a monkey with a camera.