Wednesday, July 14, 2010

5 Things to Know If You Have a DSLR (and consider yourself a photographer)

this post is meant for people new to SLRs and people who share the same opinion about 'photographers'. i have written quite a few entries before about my annoyance toward wannabe photographers. but each and every one of them was left unpublished. i hate posting negative posts.

i know people have heard of this before, but i just wanna say it: 'owning an SLR (digital or not) does not make you a photographer'

ok enough with the negativity. i am starting to feel like an elitist jerk who thinks that i am better than everyone.. which i am not, not entirely. maybe just a little but i prefer to deny it. just to be clear, i like photography, mostly about the design aspect of it. so i don't care much about the tech and the proper use of lenses etc. as far as i'm concerned, even someone with a compact camera can snap awesome pics. i am only a hobbyist.

if you just bought an SLR, or planning to, or maybe have it but still feels a little weird (or perhaps shy to use it in public) when using it, i suggest practice and understand what all these mean :

1 - the correct way to hold an SLR
once i saw this malay drama on tv and her character is supposed to be a photographer or something. then picked up her dSLR, and held the camera like a n00b. tsk tsk tsk

2 - learn the SLR basic functions
ISO, aperture, shutter speed, light meter, and the most important of all (and also the easiest way to identify wannabe photographers).. focus. i think focus is the most important because a blurred picture is a complete FAIL. if photography is a language, then focus would be the proper grammar.

3 - learn the photography basics
composition (balance, rule of third, point of interest, negative and positive space, depth of field), lighting (using flash, not using flash, reflectors, natural light), colours (colour temperature, white balance, understanding the colour wheel helps a lot too), and bracketing.

4 - read tips, look at inspirations, practice, practice and practice.
i am sure a lot of SLR owners are already doing this. to be good at it (or everything else anyway), a lot of practice is needed. if you're using dSLR, make sure you have a lot of disk space and keep all the photos.. but by all means delete all the out-of-focus and ugly-as-shit ones. if you are using film, keep the negatives in a safe place. and tips, although it does not sound important when you have been taking pictures for years, are always a good thing. i still read photography tips before i go somewhere to travel. it's like a revision and sometimes, you come across simple tips that you never heard of.

5 - learn the advanced techniques
ok this part is not really important, but will help you improve. but start this only when you have mastered the basics and have done these things :
- sunrise and sunset photography (with silhouette)
- light trails
- panning and zooming effects
- multiple exposure
- marco photography

when you have done these successfully, most likely you have enough experience in photography. so move on to the more advanced things like:
- panorama (and vertical panorama)
- extreme macro
- tilt shift photography

i think tutorials and examples of any of these techniques i mentioned are easily found on the net. lots to read right? yes, but it is a lot of fun too. just don't do everything at the same time.

omg this has become a long post. no matter. if you have read it i hope, in any way, it has been beneficial and not too much of a waste of time. again.. i'm no photographer. so all this are things i know about photography from reading, uni, internet, mags, and friends.. and blogs too.

and owh.. there's lots more photography techniques out there too. obviously.


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