The secrets of photography

If you look for photographic tips on the Internet you’re likely to get a number of entries that are about “secrets” in photography. They’re usually titled something like “5 secrets of highly successful photographers” or “10 secrets to improve your pictures.”

However, there aren’t any real “secrets” in photography. There isn’t a photographic illuminati guarding remote vault somewhere buried in the Himalayas filled with esoteric information. There aren’t any secret handshakes or obscure passwords just for the initiated. There are tips, techniques and methods that are yet to be discovered depending on your level of experience. Finding out is as easy as asking a more knowledgeable photographer.

People see pictures in newspapers, magazines and the Internet and wonder: “How did they get that shot?”
It’s been my experience that most advanced and pro photographers who are worth their weight in camera gear are more than happy to share their knowledge with almost anyone who asks. Even photojournalists, who are a highly competitive lot because they often go head-to-head with other photographers on the same assignments, are in general generous with giving their photographic knowledge to others.

Some photographers may be busy working on an assignment and might not have time to answer questions. Many questions don’t have a simple yes or no answer like “what’s the best lens to use?” (The answer is: it depends on what you’re shooting) Also some concepts may be too difficult to answer with a short and simple reply (I’m still trying to figure out how to explain the relationship between f/stops and shutter speeds without putting anyone to sleep in the process).

Many of the “secrets” are so simple that many people think that they’re too easy to be true. One is: “The more you shoot, the better you’ll get.” At times it may seem like you’re not making any progress and sometimes you’ll even feel like you’re losing ground because of the mistakes you’ll make (and everybody makes them). However, it’s often from those errors that you will learn the most.

Other “secrets” don’t have a single straightforward answer to them. For example: “What is the best f/stop to use?” The answer is: it depends. Do you want a lot of depth of field or a little. Do you need to use a high shutter speed to stop the action? Do you want a low or high ISO (light sensitivity)? All these considerations go into choosing which f/stop is the best for what you want (a better question would be what’s a good f/stop for a given situation).

There are a number of resources for the budding photographer to get information. You can take a class (Delta College offers a number of photography courses), join a photo club (the Stockton Camera Club is a great group to learn from), there are numerous photography magazines and even more photo websites on the aforementioned Internet. In photography there are no secrets and knowledge is out there just for the asking.

This entry was posted in Photography, Techniques, Tips and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form.
  • Categories

  • Archives