This is my perception of the process on how I can improve my photographs. It is defined as a ladder where the higher number represents higher level.
When should I get a new gear? When you can afford it, and you are ready for it. At the end of this process are the cameras/lens. For me they are a tool that can bring better image details to reflect what I wanted but camera will not cover the previous steps or make me better photographer.
- Take and see Photographs. Use the camera you have, enlarge a few of your own photos. Seeing your photographs and others you will realize what can or want to improve.
- Focus: Select a Theme, define your subject and ensure your subject is on focus. If you like what you see and don’t know what theme might be then your theme is “what I see”. 😛
- Composition. Frame the subject, look for harmony with light, shadows, shapes (lines, curves) colour intensity (and colours). Follow the rules of 3rd. Elements in the photo should be pleasant to the viewer. For me this is the most difficult and the most important.
- Still. Set the camera on Tripod. Avoid shakes or movements. Preparation with a tripod will force you to consider the first steps. Also consider faster lenses and cameras more sensitive to the light if tripod is not possible, especially if you want a particular moment of the action. Here you need to pre-set all in your camera to ensue it is ready and “steady” at the time of pressing the button.
- Camera Settings. Select the f/stop. Learn how digital cameras has a mini-lab in them. Use the correct exposure, chose the white balance, select the ISO you need, set sharpness, etc. Settings on the camera can deliver the image as you might be wanting. See how your subject should be illuminated.
- Post process the image. Some basic enhancements can be achieved this way. Some cameras might have functions that can save you of post process the image.
- New gear! At this point you have pushed yourself to the limits, as well as your camera. You know what settings you need so you just look for the gear that fits our needs. You are aware on what you can’t obtain with your current gear. You know what filter, lent or what settings you are looking for. If you ask what camera suits you best then “maybe” you missed one step in the process (maybe any camera might be good for you). Here You are willing to obtain a new camera/lent because you already know what you expect from the new gear.
p.s. If I am selling you a camera then you can ignore what I said and buy yourself the camera I am selling… 😛
My photographer-cycle is defined in three stages, (well it is my own perception).
- The photographer that can obtain the photograph he wants changing the setting in the camera.
- The photographer that can obtain the photograph as he sees it in his mind.
- The photographer that creates a photograph in his mind that will be pleasant for him as well for other people and mix the other 2 stages.
Meanwhile, I enjoy taking photographs.