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Thread started 13 Jan 2012 (Friday) 10:14
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How did you get good at photography?

worship my useful and insightful comments
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Jan 13, 2012 18:55 |  #31

I never did get good.

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Ross ­ J
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Jan 13, 2012 19:30 |  #32
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RandyMN wrote in post #13700673 (external link)
I hope you are joking

Yeah, it was just a joke. Seriously though, the best way to get good is to purchase a subscription to Kelby Training: http://kelbytraining.c​om/ (external link) There's a no risk 100% money-back guarantee for those that aren't completely satisfied.

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Jan 13, 2012 19:40 |  #33

my photography improved when I decided to post them and ask for comments....that and shooting in every type of light .....and million plus images...when you wear out 2 cameras then your close to being good.....

So if God made Man & Woman....whats his excuse for Nikon...

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Jan 13, 2012 19:54 |  #34

A subject consists of two components that a student must experience in order to have a complete understanding: the theory and the practice. When studying the theory of the subject, it is always smart to locate the source - the original undistilled technology developed in that field. An example of this in photography might be the Basic Photo Series by Ansel Adams. While the data contained in these books might be a little meaty, the end result will be a much deeper understanding of photography than any recent publication will give you. Ensure that while reading these books (or any, for that matter), you NEVER go by a word or symbol that you don't fully understand. Doing so is the single reason that a student will abandon a subject. And when studying, always have the physical 'thing' that you're studying about. In photography, have the camera with you as you learn.

Now comes the practice. Once you've learned a new concept, apply it. That way, it becomes cemented in your mind. The number of times over you do something equals the level of certainty that you attain. Drill with your camera until you don't even have to 'think' about what you've just learned - you just know.

While I've read quite a lot on the Internet, I found that my results only really improved when I read Ansel Adams and the camera manual and optics texts - and then went out to apply what I've learned.

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Jan 13, 2012 20:01 |  #35

InlawBiker wrote in post #13697948 (external link)
I've been taking pictures my whole life but didn't begin to get serious about it until a few years ago. Now I have a Panasonic Micro-4/3 with enough lenses, and a 40D. I know buying mores stuff won't help me at this point.

Very wise.

Once you have enough gear, more stuff won't do anything but give you more stuff.

I'm reading a lot of books. I try to examine my photos to see what I could have done differently. There's something to learn from every session I think. My shots now far exceed what they used to be but, every time I do this I realize I have a long way to go.

I'm going to take a class this Spring. I understand how exposure works now but I'll take a beginner class anyway. I have a friend who shoots weddings and parties, I may ask him if I can tag along and work for free to see what I can learn.

What methods worked for you?

Get out there and shoot. Learn about one particular technique, then go out and shoot that technique. Panning, or mono, or macro or telephoto landscapes.

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Jan 13, 2012 20:54 |  #36

FlyingPhotog wrote in post #13700250 (external link)
...and humility.

You know, jk

I have been shooting for about 15 years. I consider myself ok. There is only one way I know. Practice and know your gear.

I find a picture here or elsewhere and try to duplicate the shot.

Just having fun with my 7D and 5D mark II :)

Cream of the "Prop"
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Jan 13, 2012 22:28 |  #37

The best way to see your photography improve is to stop taking bad shots...

Seems simple enough, right? :lol:

In all seriousness, there are times when the light, subject, location, weather, your frame of mind, the gear in your hands at the time, are all just plain wrong. Put the camera down and wait. Wait until the scene is optimized for a good image.

We have a publication here in Arizona called (wait for it...) Arizona Highways and for years, it's been a bastion of medium and large-format landscape photography. I've met and chatted a few of the long-time contributors and to a man, they all have said that their most important photographic tools are a pen, a notebook and patience. Make note of a location and write down why it's interesting when you found it and "it could be epic, if..."

Light, weather, moonrise, sunset, clouds, no clouds, bush should be taller, tree needs no leaves, tree needs leaves .. whatever would make the most kick ass photo, write it all down (today, use your phone or an iPad) but don't blindly bang away at a subject just because you can.

Obviously, if you're just visiting and you won't get back there soon (if ever) then sure, shoot but if it's local or easily accessible on another visit, why not wait and capture the scene as best as possible?

Here's my theory: Digital doesn't mean you can shoot thousands of frames for free. Digital means you can see that one great image a lot sooner.

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"If you aren't getting extraordinary images from today's dSLRs, regardless of brand, it's not the camera!" - Bill Fortney, Nikon Corp.

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Jan 14, 2012 00:46 |  #38

frugivore wrote in post #13700935 (external link)
...While I've read quite a lot on the Internet, I found that my results only really improved when I read Ansel Adams and the camera manual and optics texts - and then went out to apply what I've learned.

Not saying I'm "good at photography" as asked by the OP, but my path was similar to what frugivore posted above. The internet/world wide web didn't exist (as we know it today) when I bought my first SLR in 1984, but I bought/read books and learned the basics of exposure....then I went out and started burning through film practicing what I'd learned. As I got the basics down, I broadened my horizons to more advanced concepts, then once again went out and practiced them. And so on.

IMO, there are both technical and artistic elements to being "good" at photography. I've seen images that are technically correct (perfectly exposed, razor sharp), but so utterly boring and mundane that they're sickening. I've also seen artistically great images (great subject matter, well composed, etc.) with glaring technical flaws (completely blown highlights, missed focus, whatever). Did I say "seen" in the above two sentences? Heck, I've SHOT both of those types of images myself! :)

Putting the artistic and technical skills together takes what others have said above - practice, practice and more practice. Using your camera until it's almost an extension of your own body and eyes. As DC Fan alluded to, hanging out with experienced photographers can help - they've learned the tips and tricks and can help you along. Reading books and internet forums can be helpful, but nothing replaces picking up your camera, going out and putting that theory/knowledge into practice. Look at your shots, figure out what you did wrong and how you need to correct it, then go shoot some more. Make more mistakes, learn how to correct them, then go shoot some more. Lather, rinse and repeat (many times) until it all starts coming together. It sure doesn't happen overnight.

-Stuff I Use-

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Location: Oregon
Jan 14, 2012 02:23 |  #39

Veemac wrote in post #13701971 (external link)
IMO, there are both technical and artistic elements to being "good" at photography.


I see good photography as the combination of 3 elements:

Technical - the mechanical process of recording what you see
Emotion - recording the feeling of a moment and sharing it with the viewer
2D/3D - cameras are two dimensional systems, recording a three dimensional world

The 1st chapter of every photography book is devoted to the technical process of taking a picture.

You know a photo is moving just by looking at it. But how do you 'make' a photo moving? Start by feeling the space you are in and see if you can translate that feeling into an image.

The last one may be more of a talent thing. Visualize the space, drawing mental angles, lining up the objects in such a way that can be seen from one place.

Here's one that is dramatic in its darkness and evocative, but not directly emotional:

HTTP response: NOT FOUND | MIME changed to 'image/gif' | Redirected to error image by TINYPIC

Now compare that to human expressions you've spent your lifetime understanding:


Both have depth and are correctly exposed so its the feelings that make the difference

"Light is the paint, lenses are brush, sensors are the canvas"
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Location: Puerto Rico
Jan 14, 2012 07:02 |  #40

Numenorean wrote in post #13698769 (external link)
Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst. – Henri Cartier-Bresson

Though in the digital age, you can probably tack a 0 on the end of that number.

Jejejejeje, i just mark my 20k and still improving!!!!! LOL​photos/pipegarciaphoto​graphy/ (external link)

Canon EOS Rebel T1i w/ 24-70L, 50 1.8 and kit lens. :cool:

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Location: Milwaukee, WI
Jan 16, 2012 00:52 |  #41

Keep practicing, always be creative and think of new fun and novel things to do, and keep trying to find small things to improve over time. Stay curious.

I've been excited to see how long the learning curve can be to actually regularly get great photos! It's fun to know that each time you shoot, in addition to getting some photos, you'll be learning and getting better.

Canon T3i w/ Canon 17-55 f/2.8 - Canon 18-55 - Canon 55-250 - Canon 50mm f/1.8

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Location: Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Jan 16, 2012 00:58 |  #42

The two best ways I improved were (in no particular order): 1.) analyze the photos from other photographers. 2.) Go out and shoot as often as I can.

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Location: Gold Coast, Australia
Jan 16, 2012 04:20 as a reply to  @ XxDJCyberLoverxX's post |  #43

Don't ever settle for what you know.

Breaking out from the comfortable "known" and forcing myself to keep learning is one of the things I find hardest...

SOK Images - Wedding and Event Photography Gold Coast (external link)

Man I Like to Fart
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Jan 16, 2012 07:14 as a reply to  @ SOK's post |  #44

Practicing is a given. How you practice can make all the difference in the world. I don't think there's any specific way you should be practicing b/c the effectiveness will vary by person to person.

What I often times did when I was starting out and still do is to figure out why I really like a photo, whether it's my own or someone else's.

Also, as mentioned already, getting others to criticize your work in a constructive manner is extremely helpful.

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Jan 16, 2012 08:13 |  #45

As mentioned, practice practice practice!

Also reading forums like this can provide information with regards to the technical aspects.

I've noticed that my skills have been working their way up a fairly linear progression with the odd jump when I finally figure a certain aspect or skill out properly.

Like FlyingPhotog said, a part of taking great photos is learning when NOT to take a photograph.

Slowing down and deliberately thinking through your exposures will increase the quality too!

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How did you get good at photography?
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