Photography 101

I’ve taken a photography class, pinned some things on Pinterest, and even read a good amount of what I pinned. So, I guess you could pretty much call me a professional photographer. OK, maybe not, but I’ve learned some stuff – things that may serve more purposes than photography alone. So Photography 101 isn’t so much about the study of photography as the art of photography.

I like to find connections in unrelated topics – everything is just a big puzzle waiting to be put together. So the art in photography has taught me what I already knew but that these things are true in more than one way. The artistic value of any entity is individual perspective.

So here is my perspective of photography.

CHEESE ATTRACTS MICE.

Say cheese! No, seriously, don’t. While cheese makes a lot of things better like grilled cheeses, mouse traps, humor, and life, there are times that it has a negative effect too. For photographs, just saying cheese creates an obviously fake smile – not something you want hanging from the mantel for all guests (invited and not) to be greeted by upon entering your home.

Instead, a good photographer makes the client feel comfortable – by talking with them, asking questions, being silly – so the expressions come naturally. This makes the pictures more interesting because they are a reflection of reality.

So what does this have to do with anything else? Whatever you want it to. You could say Don’t make yourself into something you’re not – just do you and that will enable everything else to fall into place. Or you could say it means Make yourself more comfortable in uncomfortable situations to keep from showing your discomfort. Think of things that make you happy, reciting movie lines in your head, day dreaming, planning the rest of your day, picking out the positives of your current situation and focusing on them – whatever works to keep you feeling good without having to fake it.

Give yourself something to smile about.

TAKE LOTS OF SHOTS.

When I take pictures, I take a lot. I need options because even if most of them suck, there’s a better chance that I got something worth keeping in a mess of pictures than only in a few.

That pretty much sums it up. Find opportunities and use them. Learn all you can about anything and everything. Read. Do. Grow. You won’t like or necessarily find an immediate purpose for everything you learn. Some of it will be things that you can use in your life now, while other information might become more useful in a future situation that, at this moment, you have no inkling about. The more you do, the more options become available.

GET IN CLOSE.

So I was taught to get close to my subject so I can see and better understand what I am looking at. Too much of the outside shot takes away from the purpose. Even if it means getting out of your comfort zone, move in close to get the best shot.

Focus, focus, focus. Take lots of shots and from different angles, but don’t lose sight of your subject. The best way to become a professional anything is to devote your focus to the subject. C.S. Lewis talked about his schooling growing up and explained that because there were fewer subjects, he had the opportunity to become proficient in each. In his words, “When we force a boy to be a mediocrity in a dozen subjects we destroy his standards, perhaps for life.”

AUTO IS EASY. MOVE IT TO MANUAL.

Anyone can be a photographer with the camera set on Auto. The camera does all the work to affect the lighting. And all the pictures come out looking relatively similar – not necessarily bad, just not distinct. But if you are going to change it to the Manual setting, you must first do some research. There is a lot to learn to operate a camera in Manual. It takes time, patience, and practice, but the results can be worth it.

While I have many positive things to say regarding laziness and its inner beauty, there are limits and boundaries to the life of it. Being lazy is one thing. Allowing the laziness to guide your pursuits is a mistake that you might not fully realize until it is too late. Make your own informed, purposeful decisions that line up with your beliefs and goals. Putting effort and thought into your own decisions and actions creates limitless possibilities.

So that’s the Art of Photography, according to me.

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