what SIMPLE thing can people do to make their photographs better?

Discussion in 'Photographic Aesthetics and Composition' started by jnanian, Jul 31, 2016.

  1. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i can't say how many time i have "goooogled" something photographic and i find ads in my sidebar
    and sponsored links to websites that offer some sort of advice, on how to make better photographs.
    they make it seem like it is some sort of secret that no one wants people to know about ...

    but what are they, what are some simple things regular folks with a camera can do to get better negatives
    and maybe simple things that they might do in the darkroom to make better prints ?

    i guess, a couple of the main things one can do is spend more than 1 exposure / view.
    vary the aperture ( if you have the ability ) over expose a little and under expose a little.
    shoot exaclty as the light meter says too. if you send the film to a lab, who knows what their processing
    is like, if you are processing your own film, some things might look better a little thinner or denser, besides if it was important enough to take 1 view, its probably OK to waste a few extra frames on the same subject.
    vary the way you see the thing you are photographing ..
    see it from different angles, or perspectives ( down low, raking side view, up above, ) straight on,
    center composition might seem boring to some, but it works too, leave room for the subject to breath,
    or crop part of it off, skew-it .. don't be so rigid with the camera or with the IDK 40¢/35mm exposure that
    you are afraid to do something different. and if there are 9 compositions inside your 1 exposure
    don't be afraid to crop the heck out of your view. there aren't rules that say you can't crop,
    just people who insist their way is the right way, and it is OK to ignore people's rules if you want.
    fill your head with photography, artwork, architecture, sculpture, stuff that interests you, junk store photos
    old tour books, anything you like, and allow it to seep into your way of seeing. there is no rule against
    having an open mind, or borrowing ideas from people, or things, just rigid ideas of how things should or shouldnt' be done.

    speaking of rigid, get a tripod or monopod or beanbag or learn how to lean against something and be rigid.
    supposedly there is a rule of thumb that if you use a shutter speed slower than the focal length of your lens
    you need a tripod. what does that mean ? it means if you have a 100mm lens and you photographat 1/60thS you might want to get a tripod because of "camera shake". or you can put your elbos against your chest hold your breath and exhale slowly and depress the shutter or limp your body and lean against a pole or tree and be a human tripod.

    i could go on for an hour i guess but i'd rather not ...

    good luck making photographs
    john
     
  2. Ko.Fe.

    Ko.Fe. Subscriber

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    Explore is the thing.
    Crop, processing, shutter speed is next to nothing to have better pictures, IMO. It is nothing but technicalities. But finding something motivative to explore was improving my photography skills.
     
  3. 480sparky

    480sparky Member

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    Go forth and actuate.
     
  4. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Look at other photographers' work with an open mind.

    Read the user manual for their camera.

    Play!
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2016
  5. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    read the camera manuals of the people who take the photographs you are being open-minded about you mean?
     
  6. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Ask yourself why you want to take the photograph, and what do you want it to "say" to the final viewer.
     
  7. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    clarified!
     
  8. Jeff Bradford

    Jeff Bradford Member

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    My list of rules for myself:
    Choose interesting subjects.
    Nail the focus.
    Get the exposure correct; use the meter and bracket
    Use a tripod and shutter release cable when appropriate.
    Determine the composition before looking through the viewfinder.
    Fill the frame.
    If you think the light will be better after 5:00, come back after 5:00.
    Get out there and take photos instead of geeking at home over which is the perfect combination of filters to keep in the camera bag.
    Always bring mosquito repellent.
     
  9. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    In the darkroom, get a larger trashcan and remove the words "good enough" from your vocabulary.

    For being better with a camera, take walks without one. Take the time to see unencumbered by worries about exposure/development/etc. Use your hands to frame (or carry some framing cards).

    Take chances... work outside of your comfort zone (if you consider yourself a landscape specialist, shoot some portraits, and vice versa). You may not be drawn to continue the pursuit, but it will help you see your specialty in new ways).

    Finally, don't worry too much about getting better. Make sure it remains fun. If it remains fun, you'll do more and (just through repetition) improve.
     
  10. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    at least one of these things:

    regularly look at art that isn't photographic
    read some art history
    read some art criticism
    read some art theory (ignoring anti-intellectuals who bang on about it being "rubbish")
    stop worrying about what pictures mean and start thinking about what they do
    stop worrying about what apug members think is good/bad/right/wrong
    push contrast until every scrap of detail disappears. then see how the composition looks
    stop worrying about "perfect" exposure & development.you have to make really gross errors to produce Unprintable negatives.
     
  11. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    A simple one directed at myself right now:
    When I use a pinhole camera or my 24mm lens, I try to be close. Sometimes with a wide pinhole, camera touching subject is still not close enough :smile:

    When using a "normal" lens like 50mm I often forget. A bunch of photos from the past year would have been better if I'd been closer.
     
  12. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Move closer and get rid of anything that does not add to the composition.
     
  13. ME Super

    ME Super Member

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    For portraits, landscape, and other "static" subjects, FART (I got this from Ken Rockwell - a Jedi mind trick that works, though some would call it a mnemonic). Follow ABC for sports/action (ABC is mine).

    F - Feel the need to take a picture.
    A - Ask yourself why you want to take the picture.
    R - Refine, to bring out the reason for taking the picture.
    T - Take the picture.

    A - Anticipate the action.
    B - Be in the right location
    C - Camera ready to take the picture(s).

    Lather, rinse, repeat. :cool: Repetition is a good thing when trying to learn something or improve.
     
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  15. Theo Sulphate

    Theo Sulphate Subscriber

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    Develop and print your work. Soon you will discover which of your photos are worth your time. This will cause you to strive for better images.

    Get close to your subject. Then get closer.

    Review your old photos.
     
  16. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Put them up on a wall for a week.. it will tell you more than any book
    Best peter
     
  17. Old-N-Feeble

    Old-N-Feeble Subscriber

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    How do you get better? Observe everything I do then do just the opposite. :D
     
  18. 4season

    4season Member

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    Photograph often and review your work while the event is still fresh in your mind's eye.
     
  19. Antonio Marques

    Antonio Marques Member

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    1. Take a photograph if you get the impulse to, and only if so.
    2. Try to do it so there's something in it that doesn't already exist everywhere.
     
  20. OP
    OP
    jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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  21. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Member

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    Simple: shoot more. Spend less time trying to find that perfect lens and perfect developer and just shoot. Nothing will improve your photography more than experience.
     
  22. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Member

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    Funny. I find the opposite better for the latter part of your sentence. If I review too soon the event is too fresh in my mind and my expectations too high and I'm often disappointed. If I wait a few weeks or even months the immediate high expectations wear off and I'm more objective in my review and more excited and pleased by my results in general.
     
  23. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    This applies to my kind of photography: architectural subjects, slide film.

    Buy a good incident light meter;
    Buy a good spot reflected light meter;
    study the theory behind exposure. Learn to make a reasoning before taking an exposure of a difficult situation. Obtain the result you expect. "Practice" doesn't improve technique if it is not rooted into reasoning and theory.

    Learn to slow down. Use a tripod, not just for the better image quality, but also because it slows you down;
    Always use a tripod when possible. A tripod always gives not just a better picture technically, but a better picture aesthetically. That's because your frame doesn't change while waiting for the pedestrians to have gone away, or the delivery lorry to go away, or the magic moment between red light and green light when no car is in the crossing (which requires waiting for many red lights cycles).
    Study very carefully your composition with a tripod, and then wait for the right moment while keeping your composition firm.
     
  24. tedr1

    tedr1 Member

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    Don't use flash
     
  25. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    To be in a location and sense the presence of an image waiting capture. Seek, wait and you may find.
     
  26. baachitraka

    baachitraka Member

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    Become an artist
     
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