We all know the magazine images of beautiful people and products with the purpose to make us wanting them or wanting to look like them. To create these images one needs Photoshop, because as they are artificial needs, the images stimulating them need to be artificial too. But for what reason do we need Photoshop for captured special moments? These moments were real. Or would you rather not really see the lion in the savanna or not really walk on the beach. It is the artificially perfect image from the magazine that makes us applying Photoshop to everything and by doing that destroying the captured real moment. If the picture doesn’t show what we saw, then we got to work on the photographic skills. Photoshop cannot make a picture a capture of a real moment, because it is made when the moment has gone already, later somewhere on a computer. Think and feel twice before doing Photoshop to your images. It might not do good to them.
How do you change the lens on your camera? Do you put the camera body on your lap; lens facing up and you turn of the lens and put on the other one? The moment we change the lens on our DSLR camera we open the camera body to the environment. That means whatever is in the environment gets access to the insight of our camera and it does not belong there. We don’t want dust in our camera and on the sensor. It might not be to bad in a closed and quite clean room, but it gets really bad when we are outdoors and especially in the bush. This environment is already challenging for the equipment and don’t make it worse. When changing the lens have the body opening always facing down. If you have to do it while being on a game drive with no assistants in sight to help you, do it like this. Hold the lens while still being on the camera body with your knees, turn the camera body off the lens, set the lens aside, hold the new lens with your knees and put on the camera body onto the new lens while holding the lens with your knees. It’s a simple way of being fast in changing the lens, keeping yourself reminded of facing the camera body down and avoiding as much as possible exposure to the dusty environment. Try it first at home to be fast enough when wanting to capture the fast moving leopard with the right lens. Well, or travel with a couple of bodies and never have to change a lens. Happy lens changing.
People often speak about wanting to sign up for a “real photography course”, meaning a course that goes over weeks and months through evening, weekend or online classes. But time says nothing about the quality of a course. If you wish to learn all about the technical features of photography, cameras, lenses and related software and you have only two hours per week the time to do it will take you months. But if you want to learn how to operate your camera only one lesson might be enough. Now you might think, it depends. Yes, it depends on what the person wants to learn, how quick a person learns, what knowledge is already there and what the goals are. This should be determined before the lessons start. What do you want to learn, for what reason do you want to learn it, where do you want to go in photography. Depending on the answers a number of lessons between one and four can be planned. Except from a basic lesson on the camera or for a specific photographic subject, four lessons are a good number of lessons to sign up for. They give you the time to get somewhere in photography with a beginning and an end. Setting out the personal goals in photography as a hobby or profession and get going in the first lesson. Working on it in the second and third lesson and evaluating the achievements in the fourth lesson gives the course a great dynamic and momentum in the photographic learning process. One might need some time to practice the learned before moving on with lessons or need a break for other reasons. Or one wants to carry on immediately. It is very personal and the personal conditions can change a lot with time. An individual and short-term approach takes this into account and adjusts the photography course to the individual circumstances of the student. That makes the short-term photography courses the better ones for the commited students.
Have you ever had the experience photographing a great place or event and thinking constantly, I hope this will turn out right, I hope they will like it, I hope this is what they want, I can’t get it right, I don’t know what to do … and many thoughts of the same disturbing kind. It’s horrible, isn’t it? And of course the images are not what you wanted, they are exactly what you were afraid of. How to switch of these thoughts or direct them in a positive way?
First thing, don’t get frantic when experiencing such a situation. By pushing yourself with force through these thoughts you make it worse and it will show in your photography. Instead make a “step back”, put down your camera, make literally a few steps back, find a bench to sit on and look at the situation. Even five minutes sitting there will feel like eternity, but they are necessary. Only when you let go, the pressure will flow away and you will start seeing again instead of being occupied by anxious thoughts. Reset yourself on what you see and what you want. Wait and focus on the light. It will show you what you need to see and do for the right approach to your desired photo. As a result you will be tuned in on photography and in conversation with the object through your camera. This “photographic trance” will take all your mind space and let no room for “alien” thoughts. Now shoot away.
Photoshop guru Scott Kelby, editor and publisher of the Photoshop User Magazine and training director and instructor for Adobe Photoshop Semiar Tour, gave at the recent Google+ Photography Conference a talk about composition with the title “How to crush composition”. The one-hour talk is available on youtube and PetaPixel announced it as going beyond the basics of rules of thirds, leading lines, and repeating patterns. Sounded interesting and I watched the video.
The first 15 minutes were already overwhelming, although in a different way I thought they would be. Scott Kelby was talking about a design workshop Adobe had set up in the 90ies to teach design. This workshop was a big success and also a failure. Adobe usually had 400 to 500 people attending a day workshop, but for this design workshop only 63 people came. The 63 attendees had the day of their life and were extremely happy about what they learned, but they were only 63 and not 400. Scott Kelby asked them at the end; why only so few people attended the workshop. The answer was that the other people at the office had said that they already know the design software. Kelby concluded that people seem to think they are designers when they know how to use the software. Only two out of the 10 planned design workshops were conducted and the second workshop was only done, because they couldn’t get out of it. As an explanation for the wrong idea about design Kelby concludes that it is our nature to want to learn the hardware and software. A natural conclusion for somebody who represents the software that gives people the impression they know design. Day workshops with 400 people pay better than workshops with 63 and let people think the software can do it all; that makes them only buy more software. Well and we the customers accept it. I was tempted to stop watching after the first 15 minutes, but carried on until the end, hoping to learn something new about composition. I did not learn something new about composition, but about how to disguise a photoshop sales talk with a composition talk. I got the impression that photoshop determines what is good and what not and degrades the original object or moment to a framework for photoshop.