Saturday, December 29, 2007

How to take pictures

1) The first thing to do is to spend 6 months learning how to use the camera (If you're already technically proficient, you can skip this). It only has one button you should care about, the shutter button, but there are a lot of little technical niggles you need to get out of the way before you can go to only caring about the shutter button.

2) Forget what everyone has told you about what is and isn't a good photo. You're the one who gets to decide that now, when you're looking through the viewfinder.

3) Care about what you're doing. I mean really care, as in you're gonna be on top of the world when you're doing it well, and feel like shit for days on end when you can't make a good picture. You should care enough that even though you're tired, you're exhausted, you can barely lift the camera, you're still seeing pictures. And if you trained right in the first six months, you should be able to go on automatic (even if your camera isn't) and still make a picture when you see one. You should see them in your dreams, after you've fallen asleep, camera in hand.

4) Get out of the house. This should be obvious, but you can only shoot so much at home, and most of it is boring. unless you have a really exciting home life, and then you're excused.

5) Forget landscapes. Also architecture, still lifes, and anything else that isn't moving. Still subjects have been done to death, and 99% of the time, you're not doing anything new or interesting but shooting yet another sunset. Shoot it if it calls you (you should care enough about your shooting that you can tell me to fuck off, too), but edit that shit for personal use.

6) Grow some balls. (For the female readers, grow some ovaries). Take risks. Learn to move as fast as you can. If you think a picture isn't going to work, but you saw something, take the damn frame, move on, get close, back up. What attracted you? Close in on that. Don't be afraid to get in someone's face. If you start to take a photo but then don't because it would slow down the group or make someone look at you or maybe even talk to you, then you should ask yourself when you became such a chickenshit. It takes less that a 30th of a second to take a picture, and why should you be afraid to talk to people? We all need more friends, and mostly, the individuals you meet will enrich you and your work.

This is the step I'm on, so if anyone knows step 7, please, tell me. Next up: what a good photo is (how to look at a picture).

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