We all have that burning question, how can I take beautiful photos? What’s the trick that other photographers use to improve on image quality? What’s the best camera for architectural shots? Or street photography?
I do not see myself as a professional nor have I reached the pinnacle of success in photography. But I do know that I have managed to revamp and tweak my photography skills over a period of 3 months and I’m here to share with you as to how I went about doing it.
I’ve been taking pictures for well over 8 years now and I stagnated after some time. My first camera was an EOS 400D, followed by the 7D and now currently I’m using both the EOS 6D and OMD-EM1. I have been playing around with effects ever since I installed the ever popular Photoshop and it’s been ongoing ever since. Now, I don’t really prefer any particular softwares and I’m kind of gearing towards the minimalistic approach of doing things, hence just dabbling with Lightroom and VSCO and posting images on Instagram, 500px and Flickr. I used to suffer from G.A.S.(Gear Acquisition Syndrome), thinking that with the best lenses and high end cameras, those will get me the National Geographic-ish shots that I’ve always wanted to achieve. However, after being in a challenging situation for a long plateau-ed period of time, I’ve decided on accomplishing a better artistic side by keeping it simple.
All these newer camera models aren’t helping me with better images. It’s true that the higher mega-pixels and full-framed sensors produce stunningly beautiful images to gaze upon but I just couldn’t keep up with the constant upgrades and I don’t need a heavy 51 megapixels camera for my shots. I don’t do massive prints or billboard ads so I settled down with my 6D (also with the 6D being the lightest full-frame DSLR). As for lenses, they’re quite subjective and I prefer those with higher stops. As much as I love prime lenses, I love the cheap and under-rated Canon 17– 40mm f4 and the Oly 12–40mm f2.8. It just makes travelling easier as it covers the range of focal length I need.
My perception changed after I got the EM–1 and I realised that megapixels isn’t everything (because it’s got lower megapixels as compared to my 6D), zoom lenses were able to get you beautiful shots and there was a simple trick to taking beautiful pictures!
I was amazed and I kept doing what I did.
No, I’m not saying go ditch your DSLR camera for a mirrorless one. Because, even without the EM–1, I was in that transition on taking beautiful pictures (not saying that my pictures are amazing but it was a leap over my previous less improved self).
You have to ask yourself this — Why are we so glued to our phones? The answer’s simple.
It’s just there!
Yes you read right. It’s availability and the obvious sole reason that it’s always right beside you makes you enthralled to it. Therefore, if the camera that you own is constantly in reachable range, you would mostly end up taking pictures and that’s the key to taking beautiful images!
Frequency trumps quantity!
The EM–1 has always been following me everywhere I went and it’s just hanging around my wrist (I use the DSPTCH wrist strap) for quick immediate snapshots. Therefore I’m always shooting and photographing people and architecture. I can also say the need to keep on taking pictures has brought me to “travel” and “explore” intentionally which unfortunately consumes most of my transportation fares. Likewise, I’ve been in the rain with it and taken nice blurry shots, which incited me — that a nice shot doesn’t need to be sharp in order to look good (which I will cover in posts to come).
Eventually, I kind of became “lazy” in a manner that at times, I just transfer images straight out from the camera and edit them on VSCO (an app on iPhone — my favourite preset is the Nike ACG!). Subsequently, I snapped out from the ridiculous idea; GREAT EXPENSIVE EQUIPMENT = GREAT SUPERB IMAGES. It’s not the price or equipment specifications that’ll give you results, but having the equipment right beside you at all times that will eventually improve on your photography. As my habit of taking photos increases, I slowly find myself focusing on achieving different variants of blacks in shadows, expanding my understanding of how the temperature (Kelvin) you set will affect your edits, composing and playing with ideas on photographing people, etc.
Don’t let the size and weight of your photography tools put you off to keeping them beside you. Because I know of a person who owns an EOS 5Ds and he lugs it around like a pouch. Additionally, with a weather- sealed and tough magnesium alloyed body, it is befittingly appropriate, being lugged and chucked around. What do you expect? It’s a workhorse!
So for those who wants to improve on their photography, just keep your equipment beside you at all times. Have it ready and ensure that it’s always there not when you need them, but also when you don’t need them.
Conclusively, everyone has their own ways in getting things done and staying motivated. Sometimes, photography is just an excuse for me to get coffee as well. Whichever works. Nonetheless, ‘deliberate practice’ makes one a master eventually and in order to master something, you should just, do. The pros, they simply take action whereas amateurs just wait for the right time.
See ya’ in my next post!