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You’re Not as Good as You Think

Growing up I thought I knew everything there was to know about photography; I was basically convinced I WAS a photographer. My dad purchased a camera for me when I was in 7th or 8th grade. I would just kind of “point and shoot” and be like,” Yep, this is a great photo!” When in reality it was just a picture of the ground with nothing special about it.

I signed up to take a Photoshop class my freshman year of high school. Originally I thought the class would teach me the basics of photography, but we went into depth about everything from the basics of Photoshop, using a black room, and how to take a good photo. The class taught me so much; I was finally aware that I was NOT a rising photographer… thanks mom and dad.

I began to take more “artsy” pictures and use the knowledge of foreground, background, depth, etc. to elevate them. Obviously, I still thought I was a lot better than I was. As the years passed, I slowly started taking less and less pictures. Finally, in the era of COVID-19 I have stopped taking pictures all together.

When I reflect on the pictures I have taken, I’m not wowed. For the most part all of my pictures are of my cat, old pets, selfies, pictures with others, or random things I liked.

After reviewing the materials on photography and how to use visual elements to create a story, I don’t feel too awful about my pictures. I feel as though I already do a good job with contrast, lighting, and balance. I decided to analyze the pictures in the top left, bottom middle, and top right based on contrast, perspective, and lighting.

Perspective: There is absolutely no perspective in this photo. I took it by just pointing and clicking. It would have been better to take this photo from the point of view of the water, rather than the flowers.

Contrast: This image falls a little dark and it’s quite hard to tell what’s going on. I do, however, like the contrast of only having the objects outside the window in the focus of the light. To improve the contrast I would take this picture with the light in front instead of behind my sister.

Lighting: The stage lights create a forced juxtaposition of the figure(foreground) on the stage/set-up(background). The lighting also illuminates the smoke on stage, adding an element of depth to the image.

Overall, I really want to work on selection, depth, and moments. Becoming a Better Photographer defines the three as follows:

Get Pickier: Instead of using your camera like a rapid fire machine gun, spend more time pre-composing in your mind. As you get more practice, you can be more selective, and more deliberate. See if perhaps you can decide before taking a shot if it will be good.
Create Depth: Look for ways to add dimension of visual depth in your 2 dimensional images- play with foreground, lines, use of wide angle lenses, use of dark backgrounds

Pay Attention to the Moment: Sometimes it means slowing down, but also being more aware of the action in a scene, trying to anticipate the moment of something interesting before it happens e.g. watching a family at the table preparing for when baby might spill the glass of milk? at sporting events trying to be ready for the kick that scores the goal?

I chose depth because I feel like my pictures come across as “flat.” I also chose both selection and moments because I don’t want to simply point and shoot. I hope to be able to take a picture and encapsulate a sense of feeling coming from the moment in the picture. I want a viewer to be able to look at my pictures and get a sense of what was happening in that moment and why it was important without an unnecessary or extensive explanation.

2 replies on “You’re Not as Good as You Think”

I love your in-depth review of your own photos! I definitely relate to the feeling of realizing “Oh…I’m not as much of a photographer as I thought I was”; my parents bought me a camera when I was 10, and I had a similar experience as you. However, from a non-professional-photographer point of view, I think your pictures look great 🙂 The three you picked out to analyze were all interesting in different ways!

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