When you take a lot of photographs..you look at a LOT of photographs and not just your own. I am always checking out imagery, lighting and maybe the odd bit of PS awesomeness in lots of other folk’s work. Other photographers work can be so inspiring to look at and try and work out what they have done, how they have made it work. Always studying, always learning…
One of the things i get asked a lot is ‘how do i improve my photography?’
and no..my answer is never get a better camera. Well not initially anyway. I will always answer..get some training or education. Learn about light, what makes an image capture the eye and how you can go about using your camera to allow you to put on to film what is in your mind’s eye.
I have done a few bits of training with some incredible professionals and it was better for my photography than ANY bit of equipment that i have ever purchased..and i really really mean that! What you can learn, particularly on a hands on course, will teach you far more than shelling out the price of a small car to buy another fancy pants lens.
In 2013 i did a one day semi-private course with one of my photography heros. It was a day looking at natural light photography and a bit of flash based around a bride. Yeah..not exactly what i choose to shoot. BUT it was incredible. Those AH HA moments came thick and fast. I was desperately trying to remember everything and take it all in. They did not discuss kids, newborns or anything like what i photograph day to day..but what i learnt there has stayed with me and it can all be transferred to almost every type of setting. The basics of good photography don’t change. Its just your subjects that do.
It was a lot of fun actually photographing a bride and thinking about how you can get amazing poses and shots for adults who take direction. It is inspiring to be with other photographers too and share ideas and get help!!
Some of the things we chatted about were using reflectors effectively: I havent put any of these images through post processing, other than a little sharpen. Just want to show what i learnt and the difference it makes when you actually know how to use that very clever little black box you have in your hand 🙂
Then we chatted a little bit about Kelvin…(thats not a person!) its how temperature is measured. Whats this got to do with photography i hear you cry? Well light is measured on a Kelvin Scale. It is fairly straightforward on most DSLR’s you can change your white balance and on some DLSR you will be able to dial in the kelvin range of the light you are shooting in so that you camera can better assist you in getting the light right.
Make sense? Nope? Okay maybe this table will help.
To demonstrate with the images of the bride. Here is a shot where we dialled Kelvin right up to 7900K. So what we have here is that the camera is then thinking that the light is really really cool, on the blue end of the scale and so it compensates by throwing in some warm tones..which we probably didnt need in the setting we were in because it was already warm ish but just to see what it was like we gave it a go. This would be similar to selecting the ‘cloudy’ setting on your white balance.
Then we dialled it back to 2950K – way down to the yellow/orange sun maybe even warm lightbulb oranges..see the difference?
The camera is now trying to take down the orange tones that we are telling the camera is there. So the outcome is this blue ish tone. This would be similar to the tungsten light setting on your white balance. The colour difference is amazing. She did have a little off camera light on her in the second one.(which is what is lighting her face) .but you can see the idea…:)
We played around with using a small hand held light..and the dramatic effects it can make in darker locations. More on this sort of lighting another time!!
But one of my favourite images from the day was this one shooting through a hazy filter..which gave such a lovely dreamy effect on the bride. I love that what looks like a moment of quiet contemplation is captured, like we may have just caught her as she is pausing to reflect, before the big day, after maybe, as she is praying, thinking, dreaming. Its a window to the soul (even though it was pretend as she was a model). It could easily be one of those sort of moments and the hazy, pinky filter that we used in front of the lens just adds so much to it.
One of my favourite days of photography and it was for pure enjoyment and learning. It is good to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone and have a go at other genres of photography. Why not try something yourself? street photography? landscapes? nature? It helps you to ‘see’ things differently.
It was amazing rubbing shoulders with real professionals who have been in the industry for so long and had so much knowledge to share. There is an element i guess in all industries that gets its feathers ruffled when new people come along as beginners and want to learn but I am all for it. We are all beginners at some point, we all have to learn. If you have found it out the hard way doesn’t mean that everyone has to go the same route.
Its good to share! 🙂