Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Confessions of a Newbie Photographer

{1}  I still enjoy using my point and shoot....I'll admit, there are times when I don't want to worry about the light, and the focus, and the composition of a shot. I want to simply point my camera at the action (usually my family) and take those campy, off-kilter snapshots that (I believe) have a charm all their own. Which is why I utilize Instagram so much on my phone. Truly, in real life, we are not always poised, we are not always perfectly lit, sometimes we are awkward.  Snapshots show that angle of our lives, ad I don't think they should be discarded just because I'm learning to use my super-cool DSLR.

{2}  All my DSLR pictures are not in RAW (If you have no idea what RAW is, look here.) Sometimes, even if I AM using my DSLR, I just want the freedom of knowing I can upload the pictures directly and they are what they are (although, despite my want for that "freedom", I've caught myself thinking "If 'd just shot that in RAW, I could.....")

{3}   It frustrates me to no end that my skill is no where near what my eye and my sense of what is "good" is.  Frustrating, but highly motivating, too!  I think I have a pretty high standard of what qualifies as quality photography, probably because of my art background, and it only highlights how much I DON'T know about this passion of mine.When I find myself getting too hung up on this discrepancy, I remind myself of this quote by Ira Glass, which hangs on my wall behind my computer monitor.  It gives me hope!

{4}  Photo editing and digital design has become something of an obsession for me....and I know that isn't good. When my neck has a cramp in it and I feel like my bum is permanently molded to our computer chair, it means I need to get up and move...but just one more picture....what if I tried THIS instead.....that needs a little more light...what about that template I haven't tried out yet? .(well, you get the idea).  I'm still finding that delicate balance between my work and my family and home.  The scales are probably tipped (just slightly) in the favor of photography/editing right now...but I'm working my way back to center!

{5}  I'm learning my style, both in photographs and in other aspects of my life.  What is your style? That's a big question for new photographers, if you didn't know. But I'm finding very quickly that my style is quite a bit like my personal taste.   In clothing style, I cringe at what I consider too much: I like the classic, casual look.  I'm the same with personalities: I like to surround people who are straightforward, easy, calm, and with a flash of humor and sarcasm. Complicated, brazen, flashy, arrogant. These are personality traits that I avoid.  In home decor, I prefer a simple, sometimes rustic, natural look, with a touch of flare.  I suppose I should not be surprised (and yet, it is a new insight for me!) that as in other aspects of life, in photography , I aim for clean, rich, natural colors, with sometimes a touch of something extra. My goal is for my photographs to be visually soothing, yet interesting to see.  Now that I know this about myself, I'm going to be looking to see if other photographers I know are the same way...hmmm....

{6}   I know I'm nowhere near what I'd call a PRO, but I know enough to be deeply offended by those who think that if you have a quality camera that you can take photos equivalent to those who have more practice/education/skill. That's like saying if you buy a really nice guitar, you are going to be a great musician; or if you can put on a band-aid, you must be just as good as a nurse. The tool you use is obviously important. A high quality guitar is clearly going to make a more pleasant sound than a cheap one. But if you don't know all the components of how to play, how to form the composition, you still aren't going to create good music.  I like using music analogies to explain photography...there are many parallels between the two. :)  {And after spending the last 12 years of my life with a musician, I might as well be able to put what I've learned to some use!} Personally, I still hesitate when even referring to myself as a "photographer" (let alone a "pro", that's not even on the horizon!), and that respect I have for the trade translates into a fairly deep offense when someone is quick to assume that great equipment = quality photographer. A mindset like that shows a complete disregard for all the time and energy spent learning, trying, failing, trying again, learning some more...PRACTICE and KNOWLEDGE that comes with being a quality photographer. {just as in ANY profession!}

NOTE: It actually took me the better part of a week to get this post done, so crazy has my life been with end of school activities, the fourth birthday of my littlest man, and deciding to foster a dog while we see if she's a good fit for our family.  All of which have given me fodder for several more blog posts!