I get tons of questions each day about what setting people should use, what distance calculation between the horizon and the main subject to get sharpness, what post editing tools to use, what’s the best camera to use, the best lens, what flash……etc, etc.
Well I’ll be perfectly honest with you. When I read emails asking me these questions I am pretty pleased that people are really thinking about the technical side of digital photography. Hey it’s great but….you knew there was going to be a “but” right? I simply have to add this and say this because it’s really going to help, so listen up.
When I sold my first set of pictures I was really surprised that someone wanted to buy them. Not because I thought they were bad and I took bad shots, but because I’d used a pro-sumer camera with minimum control over the settings and I’d used the auto setting.
Not very technical huh? You bet it wasn’t. But the person buying the picture didn’t give two hoots what camera I’d used, what f stop I used and what lens I had. They just loved the picture and wanted to have it for their private pictures.
So what does this tell you?
If you construed this upside down and the wrong way, you could think that I was telling you that technical know-how and the camera you use is irrelevant. But that’s okay, because that’s not what I am saying in any way whatsoever.
What’s important is to focus on what the end result looks like! How you get there is up to you but photography is all about the end result, not the “gear” and how it makes you look.
A guy I knew once had more money than brains. He went out and bought the latest Nikon camera and took the worst shots I have ever seen. And you know why he bought it? Just because he had the money and he thought that the camera would make him look good. Sorry to say this but with his photo skills he should have stuck with his mobile phone camera.
The gear is important and so is your technical knowledge but your shots will still be bad even if you have a Canon 5D. Just because is a beautiful camera doesn’t mean its going to take good shots automatically. You’re the one who takes the photos, not the camera. Don’t get caught up in the technical too much if you are not going to be artistic. Photography is all about being artistic, the technical stuff and the “gear” comes second.
So take the time to really examine your photos carefully. Look at the ones you’ve taken and stop thinking about the technical side for a sec. When you look at your images ask yourself “what could look better?” Is the light to your liking? Too dark? Too light? Could you have improved on the composition? Did you need to be further away or closer in?
Yes I know these questions are basic, but so what. If they help you achieve a level of confidence in your digital photography then who cares how basic they are? What matter the most is the feeling you get from what you’ve just shot. What matters most is the feeling.