Photography is the science, art, application and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor, or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film. Typically, a lens is used to focus the light reflected or emitted from objects into a real image on the light-sensitive surface inside a camera during a timed exposure.
With an electronic image sensor, this produces an electrical charge at each pixel, which is electronically processed and stored in a digital image file for subsequent display or processing. The result with photographic emulsion is an invisible latent image, which is later chemically "developed" into a visible image, either negative or positive depending on the purpose of the photographic material and the method of processing. A negative image on film is traditionally used to photographically create a positive image on a paper base, known as a print, either by using an enlarger or by contact printing. Photography is employed in many fields of science, manufacturing (e.g., photolithography), and business, as well as its more direct uses for art, film and video production, recreational purposes, hobby, and mass communication.
7 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD LEARN PHOTOGRAPHY
Here are my 7 top reasons why YOU should learn photography. So if you’re already learning, this will give you the motivation to improve, and if ‘learn photography’ has been on your to-do list for some time, hopefully, this article will give you the motivation to do something about it! So here are my 7 reasons why I believe that everyone should learn how to take great photos…..
1. To capture a moment in time
Once you have snapped that moment it is captured forever. These days we take photos for granted, but just think about that for a minute. How amazing is it that you can capture your children doing something wonderful together, and that moment will be seen and enjoyed by your grandchildren and your great-grandchildren. This is one of the main reasons I love photography. Capturing memories to hold on to forever. And sorry to say it, but if you are using a point-and-shoot camera on the automatic setting, you’ve probably realised by now that you’re missing too many of these fantastic moments.
2. To remember what people looked like at a certain time
If we want to remember what our children looked like when they were babies, the first thing we do is pull out the photo album. And if we’re thinking about someone who has passed away, we look through photos of them. Photographs are the only way we can preserve how people looked at certain times in their lives. But it’s very important that we do print the photos, not just leave them on a hard drive which could fail (but that’s a whole different blog post!)
3. To be creative
So many people who come to my workshops say that they’re not creative people. But once you know how to use your camera and find the right light, you will be amazed at the creative photos you are taking. Yes, some people have more of an eye for photography than others; some things just can’t be taught. But I do believe that ANYONE can learn how to take great photos. And some people who do consider themselves to be creative, lose that side of themselves once they become parents, and learning photography can be a fantastic way to ignite that creative spark again.
4. It will make you appreciate the world around you
I believe that learning photography will make you enjoy life more. I know that sounds cheesy but it’s true! Suddenly you’ll notice the beautiful sunbeams coming through the trees, the wonderful catchlights in your son’s eyes, the way the bluebells bring out the colour of your daughter’s eyes. All of this stuff may have passed you by before, but once you learn how to take great photos, you’ll see beauty everywhere
5. To capture the world the way you see it
There is nothing more frustrating when you want to take a photo of that beautiful lavender field, but you take it and it just looks washed out and rubbish. Or you want to show the world how beautiful your baby is but you just can’t take a decent photo of him. It’s an amazing feeling when you can take photos and they actually show what you see (and often even make it look even better!) And there is nothing more satisfying than when someone says they hate all photos of themselves, but you take one of them and they love it!
6. Photography fits in with your life
It’s very easy to get on with your life and never really take any time out for yourself….to learn new things and be creative. This is especially the case when you have children, it’s tricky to find the time to exercise and see your friends let alone learn a new skill! But photography is a wonderful thing to learn as you can do all of the practicings when you are with your friends and family. You can take photos anytime, anywhere and you don’t even need to have your camera on you, iPhones take fantastic photos! These photos below were taken on my iPhone on our camping trip to Featherdown Farms in Devon.
7. And lastly, it’s a skill you can show off easily!
There isn’t much point having an amazing skill if you can’t show people! It today’s digital world, showing our photos has become an everyday thing. Remember those days when you would just show your parents and your best friends your holiday pics? Well, now we’re sharing them with hundreds of people on Facebook! So you want to make sure your photos look as good as possible. And you’re just not going to get great results if you're just snapping away with a compact camera on auto without knowing anything about light or composition. I’ve never advertised my photography workshops, all of my bookings come through word of mouth and that’s normally due to previous students showing off their new photography skills on Facebook!
Four key skill of a successful photographer
When it comes to being a photographer, our overall mission is to create consistently incredible imagery. But to become a successful photographer, there are four key skills you must acquire. These four skills fall into two categories: hard skills and soft skills. The hard skills are the technical ones that come from being able to use your gear creatively, come up with new ideas, and know how to find and create light, post-processing, etc. The soft skills involve the ability to properly communicate with your clients and understand what they want and need.
Many successful photographers you may come across in the industry aren’t necessarily the best artists, but they have fantastic technical skills. Or you may find some that are incredibly successful because they’ve mastered the soft skills of client relationships and communication, but are not necessarily as technical or artistic.
If you want to become a successful photographer, it’s important to have all four key skills, with a balance between the four.
25% Hard Skills
The hard skills can be referred to as internal skills because you can improve on these skills by simply studying and practising on your own. These are very important but they’re not the sole means of success. Hard skills encompass the technical side and the artistic side and should make up about 25% of a successful photographer.
1. Hard Skill: Technical
As stated above, hard skills are easy to teach and learn. Our numerous workshops cover the many aspects of the technical side. On the technical side, there is the camera, composition, and exposure control. This is all Photography 101 course content. Then there’s mastery of lighting and light modification from our Lighting 101, 201and soon-to-be-released 301 courses. You’ll need post-production skills and for this, we’ve created three entire courses on Lightroom editing in the Lightroom Workshop Collection. And then there’s posing, which is one part hard skill, one part soft skill, both of which is taught in the Natural Light Couples Photography Workshop. Posing and directing is also covered with Caroline Tran in the Light & Love Workshop.
2. Hard Skill: Artistic
The artistic side covers the artistic camera, composition, and exposure control which is, again, discussed in all of the courses listed above. Technical and artistic are two very different hard skills. Think about some of the photographers that you know, or even yourself. Would you classify yourself as a technical photographer or as an artistic photographer? There are so many incredible photographers who are absolutely amazing artistically; they can create images that are breathtaking, yet they don’t really know much about the technical components of what they’re doing.
On the flip side, do you know photographers that are incredibly technical? They know their lighting ratios, everything there is to know about aperture, maximum dynamic range, about optimal shutter speeds, etcetera, yet there always seems to be something missing from their photographs? These are technical photographers. Generally, most of us are going to have a balance between these two but it might be weighted on one side.
A photographer strives to have a good balance of the technical and the artistic and this makes up what we call the skilled photographer. It is only a small fraction of what it takes to be a successful photographer. The bulk of comes from the soft skills side.
75% Soft Skills
The soft skills are labelled, “external skills” because these need to be practised with people. These soft skills are a greater part of the process, therefore, these soft skills are more important and weighted more in the balance of being a successful photographer.
3. SOFT SKILL: COMMUNICATION
Communication is key to building a relationship. Being able to communicate with people and discuss their interests, backgrounds, and anything other than photography is an extremely important soft skill. It involves smiling, being genuine, and being interested in what others have to say. You’d be surprised how much this could do for you. It’s the ability to use positive and reinforcing words as well as provide positive solutions to your client’s sometimes random requests.
When it comes to posing, as we mentioned above, there’s a technical side but much of posing comes down to communication and how you guide and direct your clients. You can have the know-how of what makes a good pose, but you need to have the ability to communicate and guide your clients through it.
4. Soft Skill: Understanding
Being able to ask targeted questions is part of communication, but a major component for the soft skill of understanding. While communication is about your words, how you speak to them and how you communicate your vision to your clients is critical. And understanding involves talking less, listening more and asking targeted questions so you know what their vision is.
When you seek to understand your clients’ wants, needs, and concerns, as well as having the ability to address and resolve those concerns, it will show that you are present in the moment.
Having the ability to communicate clearly and understand people makes you an empathetic communicator, able to understand their vision and share your own vision effectively.
Throughout the entire process, almost every touchpoint will draw on your external soft skills. From understanding the vision, tailoring expectations, proper planning, and exceeding expectations, communication and understanding are required. Only when you get to the shoot execution do you use those external hard skills, but even then on shoot day, both soft and hard skills are incorporated.
In the process of creating consistently incredible images with every single client, the vast majority of your interaction and the process itself relies on your soft skills and your ability to communicate and understand, versus your technical and artistic ability. You need both sides, and all four skill sets to succeed.
Fun Facts about Photography
- Every two minutes we snap more pictures than the whole of humanity did in the 1800s.
- This first digital camera was only 0.01 Megapixel and weighed an incredible 8 pounds (3.6kg). It took the camera over 20 seconds to commit the image to tape.
- The most viewed photograph in the history is the Windows XP’s default wallpaper.
Famous Quotes about Photography
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“Photography is the story I fail to put into words.” Destin Sparks
“The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do.” Andy Warhol
“A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.” Diane Arbus
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