says: "Photography, combined from the Greek words, Φώτο - γράφω, writing with light, as the above sentence suggests the pure essence of photography is light, without light there can be no photography.
I have been asked many times what are the details of a good capture, what are the elements that compose a good picture. There are many elements that compose a good capture, the first and most important is the subject and the light, be it a landscape or a wild life animal or even a portrait or a building those 2 elements are always crucial for a good capture, imagine a picture with stunning light but no strong subject, it is immediately doomed , you need to be able to hold the audience, to keep them involved with your photography. Although light and subject are the key elements of photography, presentation is another vital aspect of it, a good photographer should be a master of the darkroom, it doesn’t matter if your photography is film or digital based, a darkroom is the same in terms of concept for both categories.
If you study closely the masters of photography (no need to mention names, everyone has a different inspiration) you will find out that except from the time spend on a good capture there is a great deal of time spend on processing the image, Ansel Adams would spend whole of his life re-processing old images, even admitting that every print was unique and different from the previous one. People nowadays believe that because photography is mostly digital there is no need to spend time in processing or that a good photographer can capture a image as it is without the need to visit the dark room. Contrary to that belief digitally processing images although easier in terms of requirements (you only need a computer) and resources (you can easily find many techniques and discussions over the Internet compared to the earlier days of photography) it is equally difficult, you start from zero and try to achieve the best result. Techniques and tools vary and all if a mix of experience and how willing is one to learn and understand. Both photography and the dark room are 2 processes bond together, you use both of them in order to evolve, to achieve a better quality one has to continually practice, study and explore the resources and the tools he has available.
Many times I see people credit equipment for a fine capture, only to soon find out that equipment is only a small part of the bigger equation, good cameras and lenses offer higher quality captures, but in order to make them you have to understand the technical side of it, you need to know what aperture or shutter speed is, how they both affect the exposure of your image and how they affect sharpness, Depth of Field or motion freeze, you need to be able to interpret how ISO affects your image, and what RAW capture means. If you don’t know the above elements even a five digit (in terms of money) camera will be useless or limited in your hands.
Studying the masters and understanding the principles of what made them masters is a process that provides you with the necessary knowledge, studying stimulates your brain and your vision and leads you to experiment even further. It provides you feedback either about new things or different approaches to your concepts in order to try new things in your work"
says: "Technically, i don't have that much experience in Darkroom Photography, i have only just took a class in the last semester.
With that said, i would say that it doesn't really matter what equipment you have, even if they are basics. Take some time getting used to the equipment, and find what works best for you. It would definitely help a lot to learn some basic techniques like dodging, burning photograph, and don't be afraid to play around and be creative, you never know what might turn out... It might sounds cliche, but i think the most important thing is to know how to have fun with what you are doing. One last thing: Darkroom Photography is freakin' expensive!"
says: "I think of the most important "skill" in Darkroom Photography is to not be frugal. It can get expensive. Someone, especially a beginning photographer, will need to use a lot of paper to get that perfect print (test strips are a darkroom user's best friend!). When you think you have the perfect print, but there's one little mistake, just fix it and print another. The paper is expensive, but having an actual perfect print without those little mistakes bugging you will be worth it."
says: "Love and patience: these two will help you create beautiful, stunning, breath-taking artworks! I know it MAY sound really cheesy at first, but believe me it's not. For several years I've discovered that anger, confusion, and boredom never helped me create anything (only random doodles that added more frustration). Here are my Golden Rules to Perfect Art:
1. Don't compare yourself to others and don't you ever try to copy someone else's style. It doesn't work that way. Don't think you're talentless just because A or B can do it and you can't.
2. Trust yourself. Practice. Do it with love. Every little thing you do is a pure creation of your own mind.
3. Not in the mood to draw? Your imagination is blank? Don't force it! It's okay! Art is supposed to be a hobby, not a job. I realized that every time I tell myself "I must do it" I actually transform my lovely hobby into an annoying job that I never feel like doing. And the artwork that results from this is plain, boring, lifeless.
4. Drawing, photography, writing, they all go well with music. If you feel a little down just put on your favorite song to burst up your mood and imagination.
5. Don't wait for others to do it. Be the 1st to praise yourself! Do it each time you do something new, that you couldn't have done before, especially if you learn it all by yourself. How do you expect other people to like your stuff if YOU don't like it?
6. Find your spot of creation. Mine is in the living room because I like watching TV series while I draw. Laughing while drawing works best for me. Find your own spot. Garden, kitchen, park, somewhere near your favorite pet, anything that works for you.
7. Make a little folder with all your stuff. Go through it from time to time. It's funny how, even if you don't work that much on something, you still get better."
says: "When I do macro photography, I try to capture the essence of the subject by making things visible, which are hidden for our eyes and hearts in the daily life. For this, the most important technique is reduction. I remove all elements that do not belong to the essential attribute of the subject and which would only disturb when looking at and discovering it. That's why I always make sure that I have an uniform and calm background (e.g. cloudy sky or a piece of paper or cloth).The quality of light is just as important as the reduction: good uniform ilumination and if possible no shadows, as they add complexity to the picture. But in order not to get a "dead" subject, I always try to find smooth and wavy lines and make them visible. If one of these elements is missing, I normally don't take the picture. A prerequisite for an interesting macro picture is of course a good equipment: a sharp macro lens, a cam with noise free chip/invisible film grain and a stable (!) tripod."
says: "To show insects, reptiles or flowers right, you need a good view of light. The background should be blurred, so you have to work with an open aperture. That could be difficult, because there's just a small area of sharpness and the main object have to be very sharp. A good distance between the main object and the background could be helpful. And a tight crop can give the viewer the best focus on what you want to show.
I think the skill, the view is way more important, then a good equipment. A expensive and professional camera don't make you a good photographer. Of course, a good lens help you to show some things better, a good camera can give you a great resolution. But important is the moment, when your viewers see something eye catching on your art. Something, that let them stay and just watching it."
says: "Firstly, you don’t need hundreds and hundreds of dollars’ worth of gear to get decent macro shots. Extension tubes and good quality macro filters are not overly expensive.
It all depends on what sort of budget you have, and what you plan to do with it. Are you looking to make it your profession? Is it a serious hobby on the side? Either way, it’s a good idea to start out simple and grow, rather than getting all the high-tech gear and taking forever to get your head around all the many buttons and functions. Most likely you will get frustrated, and it would take you much longer to learn. Tripods are a big factor for Macro, because your subjects are so small, and you’re so close to them, the slightest movement will make your photo blurred. So on windy days, it’s pretty much pointless trying to shoot outside. Calm, still conditions are ultimately the best for this style.
I mostly shoot hand-held, it gives you extra freedom to move around and change your angle quickly, but it also means camera shake. Have something to lean on for good support, or keep your elbows locked tightly to your body, all helps reduce camera-shake and gives you a better photograph. Settings: there are many variables to consider for Macro.
Shutter Speed - The 1/focal length rule of thumb is a good idea. It basically means that whatever the focal length of your lens is, your shutter speed needs to be at least equal to it. If you have a 100mm lens, then you should be shooting at 1/100th of a second and higher. It compromises with any movement, if you’re shooting hand-held; it also helps to reduce camera-shake.
ISO - Depends on what effect you want. Low ISO will give you darker backgrounds. Higher ones will make the BG more natural. ISO 400 is a good place to start, and then simply adjust it to your liking.
Aperture - Is again something that depends on what look you’re after. If you want much of your subject in focus, then f/11 usually works well. However if you want to draw attention to just the head/eyes of an insect, f/4 and down will be what you need.
Flash - Light is the most important thing to consider in any photograph. If you have an abundance of natursl light, then use it! Take notice of which way the sun is shining - if you’re shooting into the sun, your subject is likely to turn out dark. Shoot with the sun behind you so it shines onto the subject. Just remember to watch your shadow - and your cameras! Flash units come in a wide range these days. With different amounts of power to choose from, again that all depends on how much you want to pay. There are proper flashes just for Macro, however they are quite pricy. That said, if you’re shooting with a flash it’s a good idea to use Flash Exposure Compensation (FEC) to control the amount of power, and therefore light, being omitted by the flash. This is something you will have to experiment with, as each setting may require different amounts of light. You want a natural look though. Too much power and it will blow out your photo.
When looking for insects, remember that they can hear, and detect vibrations. So the louder you are, the more likely they are to disappear! If you're shooting flying critters, then something to try is setting up the camera and focusing on a flower, leaf, stick - anywhere you see them land regularly - and wait. Wait until one flies into the frame then press the shutter button! It’s a good way to capture in-flight shots. Think about the angle you’re shooting on. Get on the same level as your bug! Eye to lens with it! How do you want to see it? If you don’t like your own photograph, then how do you expect someone else to? The biggest ‘secret’ to good quality shots is really just patience and persistence. You have to remember that it doesn’t happen overnight. You need to keep trying! It takes lots practice and lots and lots of trial and error, I guarantee you will have more fails then successes, but when you get a good one, it will be worth it. As time goes on, if you stick to it, then you’ll know just by looking at a scene what settings you’ll need to get a good photo. All the pro photographers you see? They weren’t born professionals, they had to learn all the tricks. They got to the point where there are more successes than fails. It just takes time."
says: "One of the most important things about working with the small macro world is first visualizing how you want the shot to look. Frame it in your mind and think about the entire composition. Macro photography requires a lot of patience, practice and knowing your subject. Try different approaches and find one that works best for you, whether it's using mainly natural light or a tripod.
says: "The most important thing in macro photography is, in my opinion, that the object is well-contrasted, which means there must be a shallow depth of field. Low aperture numbers help you achieving that goal (like f/2.0). The other important fact is the focus. When you take a picture of a bug, be sure to focus on its eye, no matter how big or tiny they may be. Focussing on the wings, etc, while the eyes are blurry, makes the watcher think the whole picture is not sharp enough. Since the eyes are the first things humans (normally) look at when they look at another person, this manner can also be transferred into the animal world. We first look into the eyes, and that's what you need to focus. Stay on one layer with the object (no matter whether plant, human or animal), because top-down everything looks quite odd and uninteresting."
People & Portraits
says: "What do i think is the most important thing in obtaining beautiful artwork I believe it's something you just have inside you. I started painting as far as i can remember since kindergarden . I have no formal lessons in photography i see my photographs as art; my camera is a brush and the people i shoot are the canvas. I personally believe no amount of teaching will ever make you a master artist. Most important thing is to paint, sculpt, photograph , etc what you love ! Personally i love to shoot what i perceive as beautiful women. But on that note if you love to paint, photograph, etc. make sure its something that you love to do. That at the end of the day is the most important thing to me in making beautiful art."
says: "I just think it's really important to focus on producing work that makes you personally satisfied. I think what makes my art successful is that I really try my best to do things that I consider cool and interesting. I'm not sure if this is helpful or not, because it's all about taste, what one person considers interesting another may not. I have been fortunate enough then, to developed a taste that other people find acceptable as art. So I suppose what I'm saying, is really take the time to hone your taste and find out what other people will like also. If you are a photographer like me, and you continue are taking pictures you love to take rather then what you think other people will like, then in most cases that will show in the work. I take pictures for me, and I try my best keep myself interested in the subject matter in front of me, whether that be a story photo or a beautiful girl, it just has to be something I'm truly interested in, because then I know other will follow suit. My heart leads your heart, and that is I think a real important concept in being an artist.
says: "To me there's not a unique secret in photography, like in good cuisine, a nice picture is a balance of a few ingredients, all wisely used. You can change ingredients according to your taste, skills, and aims. There are multiple ways to reach a great end result!
I consider glamour photography as capturing something beautiful about the model, I don't like to stick to a standard of beauty. Instead, I love to emphasize the unique features of the specific model. I love natural light, so yes, if you're looking for my ingredients, this is certainly one of them! Natural light allows to me create an intimate and romantic mood, and to use nudity without being revealing of a naked body, but instead as functional to give an atmosphere and to focus on the model features only.
My surroundings are essential, often white; this is another instrument I use to let the watcher be driven to the model beauty. As a result, composition and posing are essential. While my photos look natural, in practice they come from a well studied setting; the model is first of all an actress in my photos! As such, I really love to work with models who have talent in expressing themselves, or going to take the challenge of being a different persona for a while in front of my camera, so, not surprisingly, the other fundamental ingredient of my photos is the model! I really believe in a collaborative, trustful and respectful shooting atmosphere and that's what makes me love so much shooting!"
says: "Everybody wants to know a secret of a brilliant shot. There is no exact recipe, but it consists of many details that are so important. First of all, it is necessary to get an idea. It will be visible in your photo, even without explanation. This is a framebone of a shot. Another important part is lighting. Proper light setup gives proper mood. It is also important to pay attention to make-up, wardrobe, pose, and of course whole combination. A great makeup can be not suitable for a particular shoot, not combining with outfit or main idea. Also, model has to feel the idea and mood of the shoot to bring her contribution into work. The Devil is in the details! They can be more or less important, but you have to combine all of them to get a great shot!"
says: "As absurd as it may sound to some, I think that the most important things a photographer can cultivate, before knowing what light or lens to use, are all attitude and vision based.
It is my personal belief that what you love is what you will shoot. And if you don't shoot what you love, you will not experience any deep satisfaction from what you are shooting, or even photography in general. So being mindful first of WHAT you love, then WHY you love it are the first two things you should think about. I mean really ask yourself these questions and wait until you hear an honest answer, one that isn't cluttered with a bunch of "shoulds". Then when you really figure that out, start looking for it. And VERY importantly, start practising gratitude everytime you see it. You're being given an incredible Divine gift every time you do. I will not write about Harvard research into how living in gratitude actually changes your brain chemistry and overall creativity here, just suffice it to say, that this is one of those foundational primarys that might seem secondary, but isn't."
More thoughts from =aarontyree in his "The best Photography gear advice you can find" article: [link]
says: "First and foremost, understanding that everything is perfect will help your eye find the most amazing things to photograph. Everything you see is like a flower and your camera is like the sun. Point it toward your subject and you'll be surprised how life will blossom right before your lens.
An essential skill in capturing great photo-journalistic shots is the ability to get in and get out, like a ninja. Always have your camera ready. It's of no use to you in a bag hanging off your shoulder. Be quick! Be fearless! You don't need the most expensive camera to make something amazing. While I use the D300 and D700 for professional projects, my personal preference for being out and about is something light, like the Nikon D40X. Something you won't mind carrying around for hours at a time. The most important piece of equipment, in my opinion, is the lens. A 50mm 1.4 or a 35mm 1.8 will work wonders in low light. Don't be afraid to use a high ISO, either. A little bit of noise never hurt anybody..."
says: "When it comes to capturing a picture or creating a piece of art, there are those who will tell you to buy top-of-the-line equipment and supplies that will do everything but press the button or put the brush to canvas. Sure, you may get visually-pleasing images, but what makes beautiful artwork is not just brilliant colors or a a shallow focus field, but what emotion or feeling the images convey. What story does that one picture tell? What mood does that painting make you feel? Plenty of beautiful artwork can be made by an iphone or a bottom-of-the-line point-and-shoot camera when the subject matter it captures makes its viewers feel.
says: "I think for a good photo, first you have to imagine it. With the help of imagination we can create a photo frame and this is the first stage of a good photo. Next step does not have to be a picture frame or best equipment photo, it's the composition and technical knowledge you need to have. For this phase you have to train many times, constantly take pictures, and you must be patient. In the next stage, with the help of photo editing softwares you create the photo you dreamed of. The most enjoyable part of the photo that you dream of is when the one you've created entirely resembles it. For example, i'll tell you how this photo was created.
One Canon 580 ExII flash, a white bright umbrella, to increase the shutter speed when using flash, Pocket Wizard trigger was used. The model from interior was drawn from outside the window next to the light source. Model stance was repeated for the right light, and technical competence.With the help of editing software, color saturation the photo was finalized."