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ibdb
17th of January 2008 (Thu), 13:36
POTN has a wealth of very talented photographers across a wide variety of subjects. Some of us focus on very specific types of photography, while others shoot a wide range of different subjects. Even within that divide, there is a continuum from those of us who are still early on in our photographic journeys, all the way to those who have decades of experience.

When I go through the various shares, it's easy to identify photographers who might be considered as specialists and those who might be considered to be more generalists. What I'm curious about is what specialists in each area consider to be some of the biggest challenges they face in their particular area, and what they do to try to deal with those challenges. By the same token, I'm curious to know what generalists see as their biggest challenges, and how they handle those challenges. I wouldn't necessarily limit this to a discussion from the perspective of looking through the viewfinder, either. Client relations, post processing, and digital asset management, among many other possibilities, are also fair game.

My hope is that generalists may learn some new techniques from the specialists in there areas of interest, and that the specialists may learn some new techniques from people with other areas of interest.

So -- What do you like to shoot most? What is/what are the biggest challenge(s) you face? How do you deal with it/them?

madhatter04
17th of January 2008 (Thu), 21:15
I enjoy shooting landscapes and nature the best.
My biggest challenge is waiting for those golden hours when the light is just right.
Another big challenge is finding something interesting to photograph.
Umm, another challenge is wind. Sometimes, you can't photograph a mountain columbine when it's gusting :(.

shannyD
17th of January 2008 (Thu), 21:18
i really love concert photography..butlearning how to use flash to make it look like its not a flash when there is such bad lighting.

i dont know anything about flash. but practice practice practice is what i have been doing since i got it.. now i need to practice at shows.

shannon

Glenn NK
17th of January 2008 (Thu), 21:37
In a year or so, I've probably taken six to seven thousand flower closeups.


The No.1 problem (for me at least) is getting enough depth of field without bringing the background into focus and rendering it distracting.

I've somewhat solved this with focus stacking, although PS is often needed to "clean things up".


No.2 problem is wind which often pushes the ISO up to 640 or 800. Fortunately exposing to the right helps. Having said that, the background is often much darker and noise will sometimes creep in. Fortunately (again) noise is more of a discussion topic than a reality.


No.3 problem is avoiding direct open sunshine - it destroys colour saturation, and creates specular highlight (which by definition are blowouts and have no colour).

The solution to this has been a diffuser. It's a 5'n'1 diffuser which can also be used as a reflector, which is quite useful near the end of the day to get some warm sunlight right into a flower.

airfrogusmc
17th of January 2008 (Thu), 23:32
Finding the time to do it. Its a big challenge for me. And also finding the balance between what I do for my clients and the things I photograph for myself. Finding the time to work on my own signature style and having that run through my personal work as well as my professional work.

Perry Ge
17th of January 2008 (Thu), 23:32
I do mainly landscapes and portraiture and they are my favourite areas of photography, but I like to dabble in wildlife and loads of other things too, like concerts and sports - I want to try a bit of everything.

In general, planning shoots meticulously always gives me better results. I think about what I want to convey in my photos, what compositions I want, what kinds of things I need to remember and bear in mind during the shoot etc. I often sketch out final compositions of images before shooting, complete with technical info.

For landscaping, the biggest challenge is definitely patience. Finding good locations is hard, then waiting for the weather and sky to be right. Then comes the preparing for the shoot: drawing the compositions I have in my head, checking the weather every day, preparing transportation etc. And then at the actual shot comes along, which involves a lot of waiting at the location for the light to be right. Then I go back and PP, and self-critique the photos. If the sky and light aren't up to scratch, it's back to the drawing board and planning a trip to the same location. Landscaping takes a hell of a lot of patience. But I love it.

With portraiture, I don't have a studio, so finding locations indoors and outdoors, and working out how I want lighting to work are the biggest challenges. Balancing natural with artificial light, or figuring out indoor lighting. I'm pretty good with the people I shoot, so a well-planned shoot usually goes very well (in terms of poses, expressions, emotions), so long as I get the light right.

CyberDyneSystems
17th of January 2008 (Thu), 23:58
Some times, the birds just don't make there appointments.

T.D.
18th of January 2008 (Fri), 00:39
Some times, the birds just don't make there appointments.

:lol::lol::lol:

And they are too far away when they finally do show up!

Riff Raff
18th of January 2008 (Fri), 02:57
I primarily shoot at theatres, so low-light action basically. There's typically a combination of a spotlight along with some small floodlights in the front. The lighting is always challenging, and using flash is doubly so. Since I'm shooting just about every week, trying to do something different each weekend is also challenging. Using new and different lenses is an expensive but convenient way to do that. Moving myself around and changing perspectives is the better way to accomplish it.

tonylong
18th of January 2008 (Fri), 04:08
In a year or so, I've probably taken six to seven thousand flower closeups.


The No.1 problem (for me at least) is getting enough depth of field without bringing the background into focus and rendering it distracting.

I've somewhat solved this with focus stacking, although PS is often needed to "clean things up".


No.2 problem is wind which often pushes the ISO up to 640 or 800. Fortunately exposing to the right helps. Having said that, the background is often much darker and noise will sometimes creep in. Fortunately (again) noise is more of a discussion topic than a reality.


No.3 problem is avoiding direct open sunshine - it destroys colour saturation, and creates specular highlight (which by definition are blowouts and have no colour).

The solution to this has been a diffuser. It's a 5'n'1 diffuser which can also be used as a reflector, which is quite useful near the end of the day to get some warm sunlight right into a flower.

I do mainly landscapes and portraiture and they are my favourite areas of photography, but I like to dabble in wildlife and loads of other things too, like concerts and sports - I want to try a bit of everything.

In general, planning shoots meticulously always gives me better results. I think about what I want to convey in my photos, what compositions I want, what kinds of things I need to remember and bear in mind during the shoot etc. I often sketch out final compositions of images before shooting, complete with technical info.

For landscaping, the biggest challenge is definitely patience. Finding good locations is hard, then waiting for the weather and sky to be right. Then comes the preparing for the shoot: drawing the compositions I have in my head, checking the weather every day, preparing transportation etc. And then at the actual shot comes along, which involves a lot of waiting at the location for the light to be right. Then I go back and PP, and self-critique the photos. If the sky and light aren't up to scratch, it's back to the drawing board and planning a trip to the same location. Landscaping takes a hell of a lot of patience. But I love it.

With portraiture, I don't have a studio, so finding locations indoors and outdoors, and working out how I want lighting to work are the biggest challenges. Balancing natural with artificial light, or figuring out indoor lighting. I'm pretty good with the people I shoot, so a well-planned shoot usually goes very well (in terms of poses, expressions, emotions), so long as I get the light right.

Both of you have put out some great things! I have. lately, put a lot of energy into wildlife photography, which has certain demands, but you two are highlighting some concerns regarding portrait, macro, and landscape photography that I am really interested in! Keep contributing!

PhotosGuy
18th of January 2008 (Fri), 10:17
I shoot mostly cars in the Summer, but with a background in editorial & advertising, I like to shoot almost anything else, too. Except weddings. ;)

For me, the most important thing to do for any shot is to find the right light. After that, the subject tells me when to shoot & from where to shoot & the image almost takes itself.
A few Car Lighting Tips - Updated (http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=70290)

Jethro790
18th of January 2008 (Fri), 11:41
My job really gets in the way of my quality shooting time. That's my biggest problem.

Jon, The Elder
18th of January 2008 (Fri), 14:37
I shoot horses and riders. Start counting eyes, appendages, and two different subjects bound together, with movement of both and only 2 instants to be correct.

Thats just a few of the challenges that you have each shot. Add 5 to fifteen combos like that in the arena at the same time, and mix in a bit of changing light/breezes/dust/or rain.

The only way you know you are any good is when they send in an order form and write you a check.

Crossfire
18th of January 2008 (Fri), 15:08
I shoot a lot of indoor sports and dance in gymnasium like settings - biggest challenge is always light. It is usually 'average' at best and is generally different from venue to venue. Other challenges are finding the right location on the floor, as most of the time the floor area is quite cramped

Mike J.
18th of January 2008 (Fri), 16:53
I enjoy macro and birds and my biggest problems are identifying new subject matter. I think I would enjoy urban type shots but have not developed a good eye for it........BTW, nice photos on your site, perryge.

Tareq
18th of January 2008 (Fri), 19:56
I need money then i can do a lot in photography ;-) [Travel, afford more gear and tools that can help, pay for printing out my photos and set up galleries or show my works in galleries which need money in most cases anyway].

ibdb
18th of January 2008 (Fri), 20:15
Some great answers so far -- and some great details Glenn and Perry! I've mulled over quite a number of thoughts on the topic, thus the question, but still don't have a complete answer in mind. But since you all have offered your thoughts, I figured that I owe you something. :D

I'm a generalist. I shoot whatever I get a chance to. Which bring me to one of my biggest challenges -- time. I don't often have the time to get to places when I know the light is likely to be best. Even when I can try to get somewhere at the right time, weather doesn't always cooperate. And many times, my schedule is in someone elses hands -- and photographic light isn't on their list of concerns.

As a result, I find myself wishing I had better light, but not having the time and flexibility to do enough about it.

Indoors, I'm continuing to work on balancing available light and flash. My most recent purchase was a 50mm f/1.4, so I've veered way off towards available light recently, but I know that a flash is never too far away.

More to come later. . .

the_incubus
18th of January 2008 (Fri), 22:50
I enjoy shooting street photography best and find that finding the time to just go and shoot in a big city is very difficult. I get distracted easily :D. Then there is getting the nerve to shoot strangers in the street but im pretty much over that.

Mark_Cohran
19th of January 2008 (Sat), 12:01
I shoot fairs, festivals and other outdoor events. The biggest problem is isolating subjects from the swirl of the crowd (often in costume) and the busy backgrounds. Over the years, I've become more bold about asking people to pose and getting them to move so that the background is less distracting, as well as shooting with a larger aperture to better isolate the subject (and their costume) from the surrounding distractions. And I've become much, much better at keeping a lot of business cards with me to hand out so people can order prints later. :)

Tareq
19th of January 2008 (Sat), 12:06
My biggest challenge or problem right now is, how to shoot people indoors in halls or in low light and has good light on them [main or fill light], if i can understand this will then i will be fine, i did many shots anyway, some fine and some not so.

willy b
19th of January 2008 (Sat), 15:24
Light and the weather are teh 2 biggest ones for me, as i only shoot outside, mainly landscape/nature

gymell
23rd of January 2008 (Wed), 14:27
I mostly shoot birds. My biggest challenges are finding good locations, getting close, and finding the time. Especially during winter, when the days are much shorter, my time is often limited to weekends. I have to plan when I'm going to go out shooting, rather than carry my gear around and take advantage of unexpected opportunities. It's just not practical to load up the camera and 500mm, and then leave that in my car while I'm at work.

Going out only occasionally can be very hit or miss. For example, this winter I've driven several hours to find eagles at good locations, only to not find very many or any at all. I'll get really frustrated and decide I'm not doing that any more. Then someone will tell me about another good location, and I'll quickly change my mind, because I always think I'll regret it if I don't try, and I certainly won't get any photos by not going out.

I'm thinking this summer, with the days much longer, I'm going to go take photos before work. Also do some better set ups in my back yard so I can work on that too. I had a lot of fun in my back yard last summer.

3Turner
23rd of January 2008 (Wed), 20:10
My biggest challenges are time and finding a subject to shoot...but they really go hand in hand. IF I had the time to shoot, I could probably find a subject to shoot and develop my little hobby. Usually work and family time interrupt the shooting.

dandan
23rd of January 2008 (Wed), 20:17
I generaly prefer to shoot portraits and glamour, my biggest problems are finding models and getting the catchlight just perfect in the eyes.

blackshadow
24th of January 2008 (Thu), 07:55
I mainly shoot music/concert photography - the main challenges I face are:

Having to battle abysmal lighting but deliver professional quality images to clients

Shooting from the moshpit when there is no photo pit

Competing against amateurs who are happy to give away their work for free or a couple of tickets

Being made to sign bull **** releases to be allowed to photograph, some expecting you to give away your copyright to your images.

If this sounds like a whinge it's not - I love what I do and am extremely lucky to be able to do it. But there are challenges and overcoming those challenges is very satisfying.

Twitch1977
24th of January 2008 (Thu), 09:22
I do mostly macro stuff and I have two battles I wage constantly. Having a decent depth of field without getting to the point of lens diffraction is the first.

And secondly ants. Ants really suck, they crawl up your leg, and they bite lots. I can be shooting something on a tree or whatever, look down and my entire shoe and leg will be covered in them. Also photographing ants isn't much fun either because they don't stay still. ;)

Kurt

PhotosGuy
24th of January 2008 (Thu), 09:24
Ants really suck, they crawl up your leg, and they bite lots. So now we all understand your choice of username! http://photo.klein-jensen.dk/smilies/rotfl2.gif

Steve Parr
24th of January 2008 (Thu), 09:34
With concert photography, my biggest challenge is gaining access. Sometimes it's not that tough. When I shot Atlanta Rhythm Section, I dealt with the lead singer of the band. When I shot Styx, I had unlimited access (backstage, dressing rooms) for the duration of the the show, and before the show. When attempting to shoot Cheap Trick, though, I'm pretty sure I could've turned water into wine and I still would've been turned away.

I've found that working with the venue pans out about 80% of the time...

cosworth
24th of January 2008 (Thu), 09:37
I'm still at the point where my biggest challenge is knowing what my favourite type of photogrpahy is.

Am I a motorsport shooter?
Am I a glamour shooter?
Am I a landscape shooter?

Not from volume but from quality. I still don't know, that's my challenge.

AccidentalArt
24th of January 2008 (Thu), 10:16
time :cry:

Mum2J&M
24th of January 2008 (Thu), 12:44
I've got to shoot more than my kids. I try, but just keep going back. I have a lot to learn about people photography, but even more about other photography. I just need to bite the bullet and do it. I'm too much of a wimp to get my lazy rear end outside in the cold to take some shots. Sad, I know. I have many challenges, lol.

narlus
24th of January 2008 (Thu), 15:13
similar points as to what steve, richard and shannon have mentioned re: concert photography. i think for me, it's gaining access to certain shows; it's a competitive field and growing even moreso each day, as quality gear gets cheaper and cheaper (it's definitely a field where you need some decent gear).

NC_Photo
24th of January 2008 (Thu), 16:56
I shoot mainly family portraits, and also some weddings.

My family groups are vacations staying here at the beach, and my biggest challenge can be dealing with the families. Unfortunately, when you are photographing families of 15-20 people you don't get the luxury of waiting until the ultimate hour to photograph - the beach can be some of the harshest conditions to shoot in. The light, wind, and water are all things you have to take into consideration. There is no way to shoot the big group and do each individual family and have everyone get the "best" light. Then you have to deal with customers who get upset that they were photographed first and their pictures look different than their aunt sally who was photographed last....and the light is different. :sigh: I really do love most of my family groups but this part can be so frustrating.