Variables in Photography

October 29, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

So you want to be a photographer?  Ok, then you better be ready to encounter lots of variables while you are learning the art and science of 35mm photography.

Variables?  The majority of my students are surprised to learn just how much art and science goes into photography.  There is a huge difference between a "point-and-shoot' photographer and a "creative photographer."  Most of my students never heard of the 18% gray rule.  The "Exposure Pyramid" aka "The Photographer's Triangle" - what is that?  

To become a skilled craftsmen of this visual art, you must learn the art and science that makes up photography.  This is a steep learning curve but like any other profession, rewards don't come without challenges and very hard work.  In the days of film photography, it was both easier and harder to master your skills and create award-winning artwork.  In film photography, more emphasis was put on the film technology and the artist had to master the "the exposure pyramid" - especially, aperture and shutter.  The photographer had to learn and master composition techniques.  The advantage with film cameras was that they were mainly fully mechanical, fully manual machines that were straightforward to learn and use.

Today, technology is rapidly advancing in our "digital age" and although digital technology has been a boom to photographers and artists in many ways, it has and continues to hinder us due to the very nature of the technology itself.  For example, instant preview and editing.  Now, with the digital sensor as our medium, we can all be trigger or shall I say "shutter-happy" and click away because we no longer have to pay 39 cents per lick.  This leads us to want to shoot faster and not really slow down and think about our compositions as we did with film.  In the days of chrome photography (slides), it was WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) and you, as the artist, had to be dead on when capturing your exposure because slide photography allowed no room for error.

Our "shutter-happy" society also leads to capturing and storing 1000's of images in a very short period of time which leads to now only more editing and processing time but also storage issues and how essential it now is to create and have an efficient work flow in place.  Variables?  Here are just a few:

Storage space, archiving, electrical and digital technology versus mechanical, digital cameras dependent on battery use, memory cards versus film, lighting, atmospheric conditions, dew, wind, motion, depth of field, clutter, strong composition, exposure, design elements, file format, aperture, shutter, exposure compensation, ISO, pixels, megapixels...and the list goes on.  

Everything in photography is a balance -- a give and a take -- and it is a lot of hard work.  But there is nothing like working hard for something you love to do and become a master craftsmen at it and reaping the rewards!


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