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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 20 Aug 2010 (Friday) 12:32
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Breakthrough Improvement in Your Photography

2,176 posts
Likes: 3
Joined Feb 2009
Location: Socal
Aug 20, 2010 12:32 |  #1

What are some of the occasions where you experienced breakthrough improvement in your photography? I hope we can share our experiences and learn from each other in this thread.

for me for 3 years i've had a rebel and was basically doing greenbox point and shoot, until a local concert promoter asked me to take photos of the concerts. i started reading up about iso and aperture, and got myself a 50mm f1.4 and a 100mm f2 and really start to get an understanding of the technicals.

and just looking at enough pictures on this forum. initially, i couldn't tell a good pic from a bad pic, good composition from a bad one. but eventually, just looking at enough pictures on this forum helped a lot.

and thirdly, recently i've had the opportunity to shoot every week, evaluating how i did and try to improve/ fix my mistakes the next week. also got a lighting kit and i'm following some photography blogs in lighting and doing some portrait sessions with friends.

i really wish my local bookstores and library has more henri cartier-bresson books :)

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1,201 posts
Likes: 17
Joined Aug 2009
Location: North of Baltimore, MD
Aug 20, 2010 12:55 |  #2

Mine was being forced into low light shooting where the ISO I would have loved wasn't really useful because of noise. That really was an exercise in hand holding (1/4, f/3.5, ISO 1600) which I had to underexpose by -2/3 to get. Different rooms had different levels of light so I was able to get different shutter speeds throughout the museum. Doing all that with the most basic of lenses, no flash and no tripod along with nothing to steady myself against really highlighted my needs more than anything up to that point. It was a real "oh, I could have used that!" experience.


1,186 posts
Likes: 15
Joined Dec 2008
Location: CHiCAGO
Aug 20, 2010 12:59 |  #3

off camera flash

6D Rokinon 14 f/2.8 l EF 35 ƒ1.4L l EF 135 ƒ2.0L l EF 70-200 ƒ2.8L IS II l YN460 l 580EX II l Flick'd (external link)

(I will regret that)
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Joined Jan 2007
Location: Space Coast, Florida
Aug 20, 2010 13:23 as a reply to  @ [Hyuni]'s post |  #4

My moment came many, many years ago when I was just starting out as a HS yearbook photographer. My yearbook monitor (teacher) had taken a nice picture of a young child squatting down at the water's edge of a stream and playing with some stick. The beach was really just thousands of small pebbles, but beyond the stream was a large sky scene of clouds, etc. He showed me (using a simple mask) what big difference there was in what the photo conveyed by masking out the horizon and clouds, and allowing the child to dominate the scene of the thousands of small pebbles. Then he masked out the waters edge, and the child suddenly became an insignificant object the the grand world-wide scene.

Same photo, different cropping. It taught me more in those few minutes about cropping and composure than many many years of self-teaching would have done.

My lesson? Other than the obvious knowledge on composure, I learned that we can learn so much from those wise individuals who come before us . . .

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Cream of the Crop
13,462 posts
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Joined Jul 2004
Location: Gilligan's Island
Aug 20, 2010 21:07 |  #5

When it dawned on me that I need to start using flash almost always during bright daylight....

"Life is short, art is long..."
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Cream of the Crop
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Joined Jan 2010
Location: Chula Vista, CA
Aug 20, 2010 21:31 |  #6

SYS wrote in post #10759575 (external link)
When it dawned on me that I need to start using flash almost always during bright daylight....

+1. I didn't get into photography until about a year ago, before that it was just point and shoot. I can easily say that all of my epiphanies have come from reading books. The first was while reading "understanding exposure", that got me into really understanding the camera. The second was after reading "The Photographers Eye" which really opened my eyes to composition beyond the internet forum basics that are so often preached, the third was after reading "On Camera Flash" which has me now using my flash all of the time.
Granted I've read over a dozen books in the past year, but those three are the ones that gave me at least one "a'ha" moment. (external link)"Vacuous images for the Vapid consumer"
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Todd ­ Lambert
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12,643 posts
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Joined May 2009
Location: On The Roads Across America
Aug 20, 2010 21:36 |  #7

A tripod.

Cream of the Crop
14,060 posts
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Joined Jan 2008
Location: Montreal, Canada
Aug 20, 2010 21:51 |  #8

Planning concert shoots. I shoot much less, got more variety in my images, and don't have to hang around as long.

Attention to detail. Paying a LOT more attention to what is behind the subject and around and anything on the subject that is out of place and/or distracting. It's always some small detail that ruins a shot. Looser framing.

That's about it, I think.

Bohdan - I may be, and probably am, completely wrong.
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Cream of the Crop
75,941 posts
Gallery: 8 photos
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Joined Feb 2004
Location: Middle of Michigan
Aug 22, 2010 10:22 |  #9

When I learned to ignore my Mom's advice to shoot people with the sun behind me! :D

FrankC - 20D, RAW, Manual everything...
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Organic ­ Treats
1,012 posts
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Joined Apr 2010
Location: Cordova, TN
Aug 22, 2010 10:48 |  #10

When I visited Guatemala for three weeks this summer and went around shooting all the great architecture and landscapes. My best photography yet. It forced me to learn a lot about my camera. :D

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Cream of the Crop
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Joined Jun 2007
Location: MI/CO
Aug 22, 2010 13:00 as a reply to  @ Organic Treats's post |  #11

only after I got in touch with my inner feelings...what a load of crap

The things you do for yourself die with you, the things you do for others live forever.
A man's worth should be judged, not when he basks in the sun, but how he faces the storm.

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Senior Member
747 posts
Joined Mar 2009
Aug 22, 2010 15:37 |  #12

Off camera light
Shooting RAW & understanding processing in Lightroom

30D ● 5D ● Canon 24-70/2.8L
Canon 17-40/4.0L Canon 50/1.4 ● Canon 100mm/2.8 Macro ● 2xVivitar 285HVs ● 430EX ● Cybersync Flash Triggers ● AB800 ● AB400 ● Vagabond II

Chopped liver
15,249 posts
Gallery: 7 photos
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Joined Dec 2008
Location: Just South of Ballard
Aug 22, 2010 15:59 |  #13

PhotosGuy wrote in post #10766163 (external link)
When I learned to ignore my Mom's advice to shoot people with the sun behind me! :D

Working with challenging lighting conditions has helped me the most.

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71 posts
Joined Aug 2009
Location: Maine
Aug 22, 2010 20:01 |  #14

PhotosGuy wrote in post #10766163 (external link)
When I learned to ignore my Mom's advice to shoot people with the sun behind me! :D

It is strange how those photos that really look cool are the ones that break the conventional habits.

My breakthrough was to erase all fundamentals of photography I thought I knew beforehand and straighten them out to an SLR. That means trial and error, no book, no trainer, no class. You want a picture to look a certain way? Once I got the triangle of ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed idealized in my head, I can go up to a scene and get ballpark range of what I want. That really increased my number of "Ooooo, me likey."

PS - It was about 4 months before I understood what metering modes really did and how to use/abuse them in respect to the triangle of exposure. Still yet to read Understanding Exposure.

Canon XTi | EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM | Canon EF 50mm f/1.8II | Canon EF-S 55-250mm

1,839 posts
Likes: 1
Joined Mar 2008
Location: somewhere in Oregon trying to keep this laptop dry
Aug 22, 2010 21:25 |  #15

The really cool thing about living in the digital age is that we can play with this stuff and push all the buttons and try all the tricks and if it just doesn't work, it's just a load of 1's and 0's and who really cares?
My biggest breakthrough was realising that no matter how bad I fouled up, I hadn't wasted any film, and as long as I deleted the shots I hadn't even taken up any disc space or wasted any printer ink or paper. A little shutter wear and tear, and one more charge on a battery that still might outlast the camera.
Film was so much more unforgiving and the fear of wasted money was always a background inhibiter of being truly free and taking creative chances.
Digital is great, I can dive headfirst into techniques I know absolutely nothing about and have alot of fun doing it.

5D, 10D, G10, the required 100 macro, 24-70, 70-200 f/2.8, 300 f2.8)
Looking through a glass un-yun

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Breakthrough Improvement in Your Photography
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