The Internet has been a real blessing for me, educationally. I’ve learned more about photography in the past nine years of shooting digital and reading blogs than in the previous 30+ years of trial and error. Following are some of the things I’ve read/heard that flit through my mind when I’m wandering with camera in hand:
In a recent video ostensibly promoting the new Nikon DF, Bob Krist says he needs three elements in a good photo: Great composition, Great light, and a sense of moment. I always think about the first two, but thinking about that third element is really helping.
When I’m lighting a scene myself, I fall back on David Hobby’s “Lighting in Layers” AFKA acronym (Aussies Find Kangaroos Attractive), which stands for Ambient, Fill, Key, and Accent. Helps every time.
When something catches my attention and I raise the camera to my eye, I remember the expression, “First you see what it is, then you see what it could be.” I don’t remember where I heard this, but the sentiment helps me work the scene, trying different angles and exposures to bring out whatever feeling attracted me to the subject.
For people shots, I try to “Keep the head and shoulders above the horizon.” Once again, I cannot remember the source of this advice, but I like how it plays out in my images.
One of the most famous bits of photographic advice, and one I struggle to act on, is Robert Capa’s “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” I’m working on it.
And finally, as I try to move from event and headshot photography to more personal work, I try to take my own advice: “When shooting for yourself, if you like it, it’s good.”