Updated: Oct 23, 2020
I have been taking pictures for 5-6 years. To begin with, I don’t consider myself a professional photographer. But I’m productive, and with every single photo I take, every single picture was taken of others I observe, every moment when I look around myself I learn a lot about people, and mainly myself.
Think about it, there were tons of beautiful photos taken before the digital photography era, and now in the age of the digital camera, a single cell phone has better camera capabilities than the best analog cameras that were used a few decades ago. The most expensive machines give some extra features and better resolution, which other digital cameras can’t, but it will take a long time to know how to use those settings adequately.
Given below are the tools of my trade
What I realized so far, most of the time it is not about the camera. Expensive, fancy or trendy cameras don’t make you an instant professional photographer. It’s not like Harry Potter in the magic wand shop.
If you have a digital camera and some lenses, you can begin to practice the art of photography. There are a lot of books that explain the basics, and there are some that explain the nuances of expert photography, and how to use the interplay of light and shadow.
Learning about the composition is my personal favorite, to see the movement of the shadows, how the lightning encompasses the theme, the movement of the subject –all things which make a great picture, and how they can be changed to make the photo better.
To make a good photo you have to find that little extra, what the picture is going to show its viewers. What would you like to emphasize, and what would you like to tell with your picture to the audience, when they see it. Personally, I think that’s the most important thing, and THEN comes the lights, the movement, and the other settings you can tune.
If you reached the level when you can use your confidently use your DSLR in manual mode, you are on the way to buy your new camera personalized for your preferences. But if you feel photography is just not for you, and you already bought a camera there are of course great automatic settings that you can set on your camera. To those who are fancy buying a DSLR instead of using the phone camera, I would recommend a cheaper one, with a couple of different lenses. I would really recommend investing in a Fixed Focal Length Lens also referred to as a "prime lens”. Believe me, you won’t regret it.
I mentioned before the composition. It’s my favorite part. You have to use your imagination and creativity as well and combine it with the camera settings to make a fantastic photo.
I took this photo in Romania, on the mountain Paring (~2600m). It’s a regular glacier pond, about 8 Degree Celsius, there is nothing interesting about it at the first look, right? Stones and some water, I know.
However, if you look in the right angle through your camera, it pins down a part of the sky and reflects the surrounding mountains like a mathematical graph. Neat, isn’t it? These two pictures were taken from the same pond. The difference is amazing.
There are some opportunities which just come for you. You need to be ready and catch the moment. That’s when you switch to the pre-programmed settings. Because there is not much time, the moment will fade away while you are looking for the best manual settings. So, in my opinion, automatic settings can be useful, sometimes even to an experienced photographer.
In the next picture, the guys just made a bet, which mountain is the highest that we were looking for to reach.
They all believed they were right at that moment, and if you look at the photo, you can literally feel their joy just looking at the picture. And that’s the whole point of photography. To convey emotions frozen in time to the person who is looking at the photo. If we inspect the next picture, the theme is the contrast between people and the depth of the mountain.
It can be scary how small we all are and one of the guys is pointing to the distance is which makes this picture unique. Admit it; you were just thinking to be there with them for a couple of minutes, weren’t you? And opportunity strikes again. *Note: the pictures were not edited.
Editing the pictures is as important nowadays as it is to get a good shot. There are plenty of applications that can help you highlight the theme, but don’t get carried away with editing and lose the essence of the shot. If you set in your camera to take the pictures in the RAW format most of the picture editing software will enable better quality after the changes. That’s why the RAW format is always bigger than the size of JPG from the same picture. And some programs are not compatible with the RAW picture format, so look for software that can open that. That doesn’t mean you can’t save your pictures straight to JPG, it’s easier to post it right away when you are home.
The following picture was taken in a pub, and what I wanted to emphasize was the gold color.
So I’ve cut the picture and made some settings that make it more fascinating in the second cut.
Photography is not a very cheap hobby, but it’s a good excuse to go out and express your feelings through your photos, and save these moments for later, and make it live forever, not just in your memories. It’s like you are making history. And it's good exercise! I hope I inspired a lot of readers who want to go outside immediately and take pictures of EVERYTHING. That’s the point. Maybe some of the people will say about your photo that’s a wrong picture, the contrast is bad, blah, blah, blah… or doesn’t get as many likes you expected. That happens. Even with the best. The best photographers took thousands of pictures just on one single theme/subject that is perfect. Now count how many photos took yourself in your life. Take my advice and compare yourself only to the person that you used to be.
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