Going beyond the technical

Many novice photographers may think that learning how to use their cameras is the be all and end all of photography. While mastering shutter speeds, f/stops and ISO is important, it’s just beginning of the process, not the end. Each genre of photography has its own characteristics to master. Having skills in one area may or may not necessarily translate to another.

TOP:(4/6/19) Delta College’s Dario Gomez, right, is tagged out by Folsom Lake College catcher Garrett Kellogg-Clarke art home plate during a baseball game at Delta’s Cecchetti Field in Stockton. BOTTOM LEFT: (2/234/18) Sierra’s Clara von Arnim, left, fights for the ball with Manteca’s Mia Watson during a girls soccer playoff game at Sierra. BOTTOM RIGHT: (1/23/20) Pacific’s Broc Finstuen, right, tries to steal the ball away from BYU’s Zac Seljaas during a WCC mens basketball game at UOP’s Spanos Center in Stockton. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

Sports photographers tend to be a breed unto themselves. In some ways they have to be as adept at what they do as the athletes are at their respective sports. A sports shooter has to be able to track and focus on a moving subject, often with other athletes in the way. They have to convey the intensity of the action of the field or court and capture just the right facial expressions to show that the athlete is making a supreme effort. The best sports photographers know the intricacies of the sports they cover so that they know where to stand or what play may happen to get the best photos. To top it off they have to identify who’s in the picture and provide caption information.

TOP: (12/1/13) Professional photographer Kristen Elardo makes her subject, 2-year-old Jackson Hetrick, feel comfortable with her camera during a session at the West 12 Ranch in Lodi. [BOTTOM LEFT: (5/6/16) McNair senior Gaby De Silva, left, sits with her mother Jhnaira “Jenny” Da Silva at their home in Stockton. Gabby is the first in her family to attend college. BOTTOM RIGHT: (6/26/08) Weston Ranch High School tennis player Fay Saepharn is a Charles Washington Award finalist. [CLIFFORDOTO/THE RECORD]

Portrait photographers do more than take pictures of people. They have to be experts at lighting and posing their subjects to make them look their best naturally without making them look stiff or uncomfortable. But more so than that, the best ones are people persons. From simple headshots to more involved environmental portraits They are able to make their subjects feel at ease by making a connection with them on a personal level. And often they only have a few minutes to do it in.

TOP: (10/23/19) Sandhill cranes share a flooded field with other waterfowl along Desmond Road in the Cosumnes River preserve near Thornton. BOTTOM LEFT: (11/5/11) Snow covers the ground and trees outside of Dardanelle along Highway 108 in the Stanislaus National Forest in Tuolumne County. BOTTOM RIGHT: (10/21/19) Trembling aspen trees turn to their fall colors near Red Lake along Highway 88 the El Dorado National Forest in Alpine County. [CLIFFORD OTO/THE RECORD]

Landscape/wildlife photographers have an affinity for nature, but it’s more than taking a picture of a bucolic scene. They have to know what time of day or even time of year is best to get the right light for their shots. Sometimes they may have to go back to a spot repeatedly to get just the right weather conditions. They have to know when and where a certain type of animal or bird may show up and how to photograph them without scaring them off.

There are more type of photograph that you can go into. From architectural to fashion to weddings and more, each has their own aspects to them. While proficiency in learning the technical aspects of your camera and photography is essential to advance your abilities, it’s only a jumping off point for specializing in any field of photography

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