Journey Behind a Lens…

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A guest post by Prateek Ahuja from Purple Karma.

For an artist, there is nothing as gratifying as having known they have yet again created a masterpiece – and masterpiece, here, is nothing but what they want to bring to life. Likewise, for a photographer, if there is something that they see behind the lens and are able to capture its essence; the job is well done!

Journey Behind a Lens-1.jpg

Personally I’ve come across people who are caught up in the complexities of photography and this holds them back and hinders their creativity. They are of the opinion that one should have a knowledge about aperture, exposure, lenses, lighting to even start taking the pictures, which in my opinion is not the right thing to do.

Observation is the first step towards being a good photographer. Simply observe what can make a great frame and start looking at things differently. This simple and small step is the key to a good photograph. Yes, like in any other art form, basic knowledge about the technicalities is important. It is this knowledge that will eventually lead to making beautiful photographs look better. But it comes later.

Journey Behind a Lens.jpg

First, one needs to let go of the fear of taking bad photographs. A baby learns to walk only after months of crawling and falling. Similarly, only experience will teach how to create one’s magnum opus. Thus the key is to simply observe and click. No more, no less. One should click until he discovers the vantage point and should keep striving for more.

Remember, some of the world’s best Photographers have never had any formal training. They went where their instinct took them and clicked what their heart told them to.

Journey Behind a Lens-2.jpg

Everything is taken care of once an individual knows they have an eye to capture ‘the photograph’. So it all shrinks down to the creativity aspect of it; on how differently they can see the world around.

As they say, ‘it’s the spark that starts the fire’; let that spark never die!

All one needs to begin with is ‘an eye to capture and a heart to click’. Be creative, see differently and JUST CLICK!

About Prateek Ahuja: I am 26 years old and am currently working with a non-profit in India. Photography has always amused me though I got my first SLR only last year in May. Since then I’ve been trying to capture anything and everything I come across. You can find some of my work at Purple Karma and on Flickr. A friend asked me so many questions about photography that they inspired me to write this article. I hope it is of help to a lot of others.

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  • This may be the best post I’ve ever read on this site. I agree too many people get caught up in the technical nature of photography. That knowledge is important but be observant and go make photographs.

    On my site I’ve started a series called FOCUS where in a one minute video photographers talk about what it took to take some of their favorite photos. http://grtaylor2.com/2010/03/focus-rcpm-celebrity-theater-european-swallow/

    For every one photograph I add to my portfolio there are approximately 250 photos that I hate and that no one ever sees. Although fear or taking a bad photo is valid I think that people are more afraid of the criticism that comes with bad photographs. (Everyone goes through this – Please don’t let this stop YOU from being a great photographer – the craft needs you.)

  • Veronica Salazar

    Very good post. It has happened to me that when I let go the fear of taking bad photographs is when I’m able to capture better the moment. Still I think knowledge of your equipment is a must.

  • This is just what I needed to hear today, thanks!

  • I enjoyed the advice and photos on this post. I love the shot of the burning text.

  • Louis

    for once i dont feel worried or perplexed that i don’t have to have the best slr and lenses to help me get the best photo..=)

  • “Remember, some of the world’s best Photographers have never had any formal training. They went where their instinct took them and clicked what their heart told them to.”

    I like this very much. I think perhaps that’s what makes great photographers.

  • Lon

    Today I was out for a long walk with my son and shooting everything that caught my attention. As we were about to drive back home and I was putting my gear in the bag I realized I didn’t even bother to check the shooting mode dial – it was in program mode as it almost always is and I realized that I’ve become familiar with the aperture my camera uses in various lighting situation. Unless I really want ultimate control of my depth-of-field, the only settings I really bother to fiddle with is the exposure control and the flash exposure control.

    Even when I want to expand my boundaries I usually shoot in Av mode, and occasionally Tv, but never fully manual except during long exposures – not having to think about it or divert my attention to the settings in the viewfinder means I can just compose and shoot.

  • J.

    Fantastic article!

  • Juan

    It certainly is. One of the greatest posts ever. It’s so relaxing forget about technicalities, which tend to be so stressful. We are so focused on them we forget about observation. Sometimes a technical setting just makes part of a good picture, others, makes the picture. I’ve seen great photos taken in the auto or program modes, which means, the photographer has not to worry about how the picture is achieved, just about grabbing the moment. However, shooting with different settings is a great way to find new things and see similar situations in diferent ways, conveying different sensations.

  • sahil mehta

    Mate these are awesome pictures.. next i go to India i know wat i’m looking for.. Cheers

  • Wise words, indeed, and fine photographs… I especially love the group of boys; it’s so alive.

  • johnny

    Great post! I really needed something like this! Thanx for sharing this!

  • Thank you so mush for the post!!!, It reaffirms me in the place I am. I’ve recently stepped out and decided to take a run at this passion of mine.

    Jay
    Some of my work can be found at:
    http://www.jmphotographyonline.ca (being updated)
    http://www.jmphotographyonline.wordpress.com

  • Yes, getting wrapped up in the technical aspects of photography can stop you from just shooting. For myself, I learned some base settings and controls well, then shot and shot and shot (1,000+ a week) learning what worked and what didn’t largely by trial and error in the beginning.

    I would much rather shoot by instinct, or to use a term you hear people say, “use an ‘eye’ for making photographs.” However, without that base settings knowledge, I would just be frustrated as now I teach DSLR photography lessons and often one of the first things my students say is, “I have an eye and know what I want to shoot, I just can’t get the camera to produce what I want.” That’s where the lessons come in and make them aware of what shutter speed, ISO, aperture combination is needed to make what their “eye” sees appear on their DSLR’s memory card.

    I like this photographer’s style, I’ll add him as a flickr contact and see if he is on Twitter. When I lived and traveled in Asia myself, I took similar shots and was lucky enough to have my portrait made with a similar group of children in Cambodia as in his first shot, seen here:

    http://jasoncollinphotography.com/about/

  • Well.. Although I totally agree, I also totally disagree! 🙂
    Guess that’s a bit of a statement to say!

    Here’s the thing –
    I’ve been shooting for long now, and I’ve been through all this! Been through the mind-boggling technicalities, the photographer’s block, the shoot everything mode etc etc.
    It’s the eye, but what you say has the limits. Especially if you’re looking to turn professional.

    For the passionate photographer, the lover of art, IT’S THE EYE – but like how someone mentioned, unless you’re able to bring out what your eye sees in the photograph, it’s a tough call.
    Also, as you go on to adding additional gear to your stuff, you end up having so much bulk, you just cannot move around so light as you earlier did. For eg, if you’re got stands, strobes etc, your shooting starts getting limited. So, if earlier you shot everything you saw, you slowly become wiser to shoot only those that you think will work out (that’s on experience you could say). And so the story goes. I say, ‘THE EYE’ gets trained!

    Pretty much, if you’ve shot the set of kids before with all different compositions, you’re definitely not going to go through the same stuff again, if you see another set of kids. You’re probably going to try something different, and with time, you get refined – your eye that is! So, you see.. It’s not just the technicalities that limit you, but a lot more in reality! And in reality, you need to get an understanding of your cam to know what produces best results, otherwise, you could be inconsistent – you may click once, not always!

  • Thomas

    Amazing article. Tells nothing but the truth, yet a truth many people (including myself) frequently loose out of sight. Thanks for making me see this, cause I am sure it will help me further.

    Thank you and take care!

  • johnp

    I agree, great post. Without trying and stumbling you won’t learn. Expertise only comes with experience (at least I hope so in my case.) If the technical aspects frighten you use the automatic selections, you will eventually progress to trying the other settings on your camera.

  • Arun, I agree with your statement on “So, if earlier you shot everything you saw, you slowly become wiser to shoot only those that you think will work out (that’s on experience you could say). And so the story goes. I say, ‘THE EYE’ gets trained!” . It’s so true.

  • Wajid Furqan

    I have recently developed interest in photography. Can’t afford a DSLR but looking forward to get my hands on something basic. I’m using a normal PTS camera and after many many bad pictures coz of either bad light or focus issues etc, I felt the need to learn the technical stuff abt my camera and the best fit for different situations.

    I believe that good image need atleast good idea of what to capture as well right technicalities to make it appealing to eye.

  • Prateek,
    A wonderful article!!!

    Your pics are ultimate.No body is bothered in ur EXIF data unless ur pics are really cachy and says something, Some one told me that you need to have a photographers eye to be a good photographer and I see that in you

    Cheers
    Mukul

  • Beautiful photos and wonderful insight.

    You do NOT need a DSLR to learn digital photography. Yes, there are limits to a fixed lens digicam. They do not hinder you from developing your eye and learning to see as the camera sees.

    Which as you point out you learn by just shooting and not being afraid of taking a bad photo. If I take 80 photos and keep two, I figure I’ve had a good day.

    My first digital camera was a 5 mp Olympus C5050Z. At the time, it was considered a “prosumer” camera because you could shoot in RAW and it had manual settings and manual focus.

    I used that camera for 6 years before I bought a DSLR. In fact, I still use it.

    Some people may be fortunate and have a natural eye but most of us have to learn it and I believe it can be learned through shooting and seeing what works and what doesn’t. JMO.

  • Yashraj Verma

    These are some of the classic pictures I saw today…needless to say a job well done Prateek

  • B

    Great little essay, Patreek.

    I have seen so many photos with a great vision, or “soul”, but that lack technical mastery — these are still amazing photos.

    I have seen so many photos that have no soul, but are technically excellent — these photos are terrible.

    Sometimes when we’re looking at our aperture, ISO, shutter speed, exposure compensation, etc., we forget to actually look through the viewfinder at what we’re actually shooting.

    Good luck working with your nonprofit. I have a good friend who spends a lot of time working in India and Nepal, traveling between KMD, Leh, Varanasi, etc. Beautiful country, beautiful people. Keep up the good work.

  • James nelson

    i like this article. for me it has been progressive, when i first started taking photos , i have to admit, i was crappy. i didnt have a natural abillity. but through practice i think i have become decent and gotten some really great
    “masterpieces”

    thanks for the article!
    -James

  • Courtney Dixen

    I totally agree, i think photography should be something that inspires you, not something that has to be mastered. i think im still at the stage where I just take a bunch of pictures at a time to find the right one. If i see something i like i take a picture of it. And i think i have gotten better since photo one, when i didnt know any of the basics and how to make the pictures look more appealing.

  • I take all the bad and good comments. Thank you so much. And its really heartening that you people liked my photographs and thoughts too.
    Thank you

  • brazelle_marie

    This blog really inspires who are new in photography. Tive stars for this! 😉

  • Bhavin Desai

    Nice post and Fantastic Pics!!! & one more thing, next year when u go to Vrindavan to capture colors in Holi, don’t forget me, I am ready to hold ur SLR’s case behind u 🙂

  • Nilmadhab P Sahi

    Wise words indeed…simply beautiful!

  • Great shots…the burning book and the group of cheerful boys are simply awesome. I liked your thoughts too. Buddy, it’s very true whatever you said and it remain true for most of the things…we need to come out of our fear that is holding us. Just have an eye on your passion and technicalities will follow you sooner or later…

  • Great article! Thanks for the words.

    This is a must read for all photographers.

  • Brittany

    Thank you so much.
    This is so true. I just started at college as a photography student but its been about 4 years since I took that first picture that inspired me to become a photographer.
    It’s taken me 3 years to learn the settings better.
    Only recently have I been able to take advantage of such knowledge…and I’m still learning!
    Strangely enough, my photography class is quite boring to me! So basic.
    It all started with a unique point of view…just taking a picture on auto settings..now…I’m on my way to becoming a photographer. 😀
    I am self taught. School simply gives me the degree.

  • sairaghavendra

    hey prateek…awesome post..
    ur photographs are reaaly good….

  • Ann Strober

    I was a 35mm SLR photographer. When I switched to digital, I totally fell in love with it. To be able to take as many shots as I wanted without worrying about film processing was heavenly. I had a good knowledge of the tech parts. After a year with my starter camera, I bought a Nikon D40X. I then took a course given by a local guy just to see what I knew and what I needed to learn. The teacher had an engineering bent and that is what he emphasized. I learned some things that the old 35 mm days didn’t have. What I came to see is that I am a “feel” photographer. I know when a shot captures something special. I do use the tech side of photography but it seems to be something that is helpful not the first thing.

  • Agree with Ann. from the beginning I got what I wanted to express with my photos just there was something missing. To know what I am doing gave it the push I needed. but the technique it coming in secondary. It is always the artistic view first.

  • Jean

    Thank you, you’ve given me some inspiration again. Having just upgraded from a p & s to a dslr I’ve been having a few problems and my enthusiasm has recently been on a downward spiral. I once again feel motivated to go out there and take the world (probably with my p & s!!)

  • Milind

    amazing post bro…and super shots as well…and I am in complete agreement with you on what you mentioned above…cheers!!!

  • Madhur Mangal

    as photography happened to me by chance so before spending on bigh bucks i decided to go for canon Poweshot A460, 5 mp camera it was with me for almost 2 years not much of a technical knowledge and u cant much play with settings i took some great shots with and without flash (that was easy) mostly on auto mode . then o just got hooked to photography i used to take my camera everywhere to parties, exhibitions, etc. then afetr two years of my interest in photography my relative gifted me an 8 mp 10x zoom sony cybershot (still no knowledge about settings) shoot in auto mode with or without flash) and got some great results. then i knew that i can take it as a profession finally i purchased DSLR D90 6 months back and have learned technicalities from this site (DPS) only. but i still shoot what i like as far as the camera goes it should give me decent result with whatever setting i use

    I truly agree with prateek u dont need any formal training its the instinct that matter the most .

    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002054825396&sk=photos
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=myuploads
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/madhurmangal/

    have clicked some but not the best of them i would say

Some Older Comments

  • Madhur Mangal February 9, 2011 04:33 pm

    as photography happened to me by chance so before spending on bigh bucks i decided to go for canon Poweshot A460, 5 mp camera it was with me for almost 2 years not much of a technical knowledge and u cant much play with settings i took some great shots with and without flash (that was easy) mostly on auto mode . then o just got hooked to photography i used to take my camera everywhere to parties, exhibitions, etc. then afetr two years of my interest in photography my relative gifted me an 8 mp 10x zoom sony cybershot (still no knowledge about settings) shoot in auto mode with or without flash) and got some great results. then i knew that i can take it as a profession finally i purchased DSLR D90 6 months back and have learned technicalities from this site (DPS) only. but i still shoot what i like as far as the camera goes it should give me decent result with whatever setting i use

    I truly agree with prateek u dont need any formal training its the instinct that matter the most .

    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002054825396&sk=photos
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=myuploads
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/madhurmangal/

    have clicked some but not the best of them i would say

  • Milind July 22, 2010 04:13 am

    amazing post bro...and super shots as well...and I am in complete agreement with you on what you mentioned above...cheers!!!

  • Jean April 11, 2010 09:18 am

    Thank you, you've given me some inspiration again. Having just upgraded from a p & s to a dslr I've been having a few problems and my enthusiasm has recently been on a downward spiral. I once again feel motivated to go out there and take the world (probably with my p & s!!)

  • Connie Kurtew March 30, 2010 06:47 am

    Agree with Ann. from the beginning I got what I wanted to express with my photos just there was something missing. To know what I am doing gave it the push I needed. but the technique it coming in secondary. It is always the artistic view first.

  • Ann Strober March 29, 2010 01:40 pm

    I was a 35mm SLR photographer. When I switched to digital, I totally fell in love with it. To be able to take as many shots as I wanted without worrying about film processing was heavenly. I had a good knowledge of the tech parts. After a year with my starter camera, I bought a Nikon D40X. I then took a course given by a local guy just to see what I knew and what I needed to learn. The teacher had an engineering bent and that is what he emphasized. I learned some things that the old 35 mm days didn't have. What I came to see is that I am a "feel" photographer. I know when a shot captures something special. I do use the tech side of photography but it seems to be something that is helpful not the first thing.

  • sairaghavendra March 26, 2010 04:51 am

    hey prateek...awesome post..
    ur photographs are reaaly good....

  • Brittany March 24, 2010 03:53 pm

    Thank you so much.
    This is so true. I just started at college as a photography student but its been about 4 years since I took that first picture that inspired me to become a photographer.
    It's taken me 3 years to learn the settings better.
    Only recently have I been able to take advantage of such knowledge...and I'm still learning!
    Strangely enough, my photography class is quite boring to me! So basic.
    It all started with a unique point of view...just taking a picture on auto settings..now...I'm on my way to becoming a photographer. :D
    I am self taught. School simply gives me the degree.

  • Chris March 24, 2010 10:52 am

    Great article! Thanks for the words.

    This is a must read for all photographers.

  • Brajesh Nirala March 24, 2010 01:39 am

    Great shots...the burning book and the group of cheerful boys are simply awesome. I liked your thoughts too. Buddy, it's very true whatever you said and it remain true for most of the things...we need to come out of our fear that is holding us. Just have an eye on your passion and technicalities will follow you sooner or later...

  • Nilmadhab P Sahi March 23, 2010 08:50 pm

    Wise words indeed...simply beautiful!

  • Bhavin Desai March 23, 2010 07:24 am

    Nice post and Fantastic Pics!!! & one more thing, next year when u go to Vrindavan to capture colors in Holi, don't forget me, I am ready to hold ur SLR's case behind u :)

  • brazelle_marie March 23, 2010 07:19 am

    This blog really inspires who are new in photography. Tive stars for this! ;)

  • Prateek Ahuja March 23, 2010 05:26 am

    I take all the bad and good comments. Thank you so much. And its really heartening that you people liked my photographs and thoughts too.
    Thank you

  • Courtney Dixen March 23, 2010 04:49 am

    I totally agree, i think photography should be something that inspires you, not something that has to be mastered. i think im still at the stage where I just take a bunch of pictures at a time to find the right one. If i see something i like i take a picture of it. And i think i have gotten better since photo one, when i didnt know any of the basics and how to make the pictures look more appealing.

  • James nelson March 23, 2010 04:46 am

    i like this article. for me it has been progressive, when i first started taking photos , i have to admit, i was crappy. i didnt have a natural abillity. but through practice i think i have become decent and gotten some really great
    "masterpieces"

    thanks for the article!
    -James

  • B March 23, 2010 12:51 am

    Great little essay, Patreek.

    I have seen so many photos with a great vision, or "soul", but that lack technical mastery -- these are still amazing photos.

    I have seen so many photos that have no soul, but are technically excellent -- these photos are terrible.

    Sometimes when we're looking at our aperture, ISO, shutter speed, exposure compensation, etc., we forget to actually look through the viewfinder at what we're actually shooting.

    Good luck working with your nonprofit. I have a good friend who spends a lot of time working in India and Nepal, traveling between KMD, Leh, Varanasi, etc. Beautiful country, beautiful people. Keep up the good work.

  • Yashraj Verma March 22, 2010 10:04 pm

    These are some of the classic pictures I saw today...needless to say a job well done Prateek

  • Karen Stuebing March 22, 2010 09:42 pm

    Beautiful photos and wonderful insight.

    You do NOT need a DSLR to learn digital photography. Yes, there are limits to a fixed lens digicam. They do not hinder you from developing your eye and learning to see as the camera sees.

    Which as you point out you learn by just shooting and not being afraid of taking a bad photo. If I take 80 photos and keep two, I figure I've had a good day.

    My first digital camera was a 5 mp Olympus C5050Z. At the time, it was considered a "prosumer" camera because you could shoot in RAW and it had manual settings and manual focus.

    I used that camera for 6 years before I bought a DSLR. In fact, I still use it.

    Some people may be fortunate and have a natural eye but most of us have to learn it and I believe it can be learned through shooting and seeing what works and what doesn't. JMO.

  • Mukul March 22, 2010 05:24 pm

    Prateek,
    A wonderful article!!!

    Your pics are ultimate.No body is bothered in ur EXIF data unless ur pics are really cachy and says something, Some one told me that you need to have a photographers eye to be a good photographer and I see that in you

    Cheers
    Mukul

  • Wajid Furqan March 22, 2010 01:54 pm

    I have recently developed interest in photography. Can't afford a DSLR but looking forward to get my hands on something basic. I'm using a normal PTS camera and after many many bad pictures coz of either bad light or focus issues etc, I felt the need to learn the technical stuff abt my camera and the best fit for different situations.

    I believe that good image need atleast good idea of what to capture as well right technicalities to make it appealing to eye.

  • Mei Teng March 22, 2010 01:22 pm

    Arun, I agree with your statement on "So, if earlier you shot everything you saw, you slowly become wiser to shoot only those that you think will work out (that’s on experience you could say). And so the story goes. I say, ‘THE EYE’ gets trained!" . It's so true.

  • johnp March 22, 2010 12:32 pm

    I agree, great post. Without trying and stumbling you won't learn. Expertise only comes with experience (at least I hope so in my case.) If the technical aspects frighten you use the automatic selections, you will eventually progress to trying the other settings on your camera.

  • Thomas March 22, 2010 04:20 am

    Amazing article. Tells nothing but the truth, yet a truth many people (including myself) frequently loose out of sight. Thanks for making me see this, cause I am sure it will help me further.

    Thank you and take care!

  • Arun March 22, 2010 02:48 am

    Well.. Although I totally agree, I also totally disagree! :)
    Guess that's a bit of a statement to say!

    Here's the thing -
    I've been shooting for long now, and I've been through all this! Been through the mind-boggling technicalities, the photographer's block, the shoot everything mode etc etc.
    It's the eye, but what you say has the limits. Especially if you're looking to turn professional.

    For the passionate photographer, the lover of art, IT'S THE EYE - but like how someone mentioned, unless you're able to bring out what your eye sees in the photograph, it's a tough call.
    Also, as you go on to adding additional gear to your stuff, you end up having so much bulk, you just cannot move around so light as you earlier did. For eg, if you're got stands, strobes etc, your shooting starts getting limited. So, if earlier you shot everything you saw, you slowly become wiser to shoot only those that you think will work out (that's on experience you could say). And so the story goes. I say, 'THE EYE' gets trained!

    Pretty much, if you've shot the set of kids before with all different compositions, you're definitely not going to go through the same stuff again, if you see another set of kids. You're probably going to try something different, and with time, you get refined - your eye that is! So, you see.. It's not just the technicalities that limit you, but a lot more in reality! And in reality, you need to get an understanding of your cam to know what produces best results, otherwise, you could be inconsistent - you may click once, not always!

  • Jason Collin Photography March 22, 2010 01:04 am

    Yes, getting wrapped up in the technical aspects of photography can stop you from just shooting. For myself, I learned some base settings and controls well, then shot and shot and shot (1,000+ a week) learning what worked and what didn't largely by trial and error in the beginning.

    I would much rather shoot by instinct, or to use a term you hear people say, "use an 'eye' for making photographs." However, without that base settings knowledge, I would just be frustrated as now I teach DSLR photography lessons and often one of the first things my students say is, "I have an eye and know what I want to shoot, I just can't get the camera to produce what I want." That's where the lessons come in and make them aware of what shutter speed, ISO, aperture combination is needed to make what their "eye" sees appear on their DSLR's memory card.

    I like this photographer's style, I'll add him as a flickr contact and see if he is on Twitter. When I lived and traveled in Asia myself, I took similar shots and was lucky enough to have my portrait made with a similar group of children in Cambodia as in his first shot, seen here:

    http://jasoncollinphotography.com/about/

  • Jay McIntyre March 21, 2010 11:39 pm

    Thank you so mush for the post!!!, It reaffirms me in the place I am. I've recently stepped out and decided to take a run at this passion of mine.

    Jay
    Some of my work can be found at:
    http://www.jmphotographyonline.ca (being updated)
    http://www.jmphotographyonline.wordpress.com

  • johnny March 21, 2010 10:57 pm

    Great post! I really needed something like this! Thanx for sharing this!

  • Barbara March 21, 2010 07:43 pm

    Wise words, indeed, and fine photographs... I especially love the group of boys; it's so alive.

  • sahil mehta March 21, 2010 06:43 pm

    Mate these are awesome pictures.. next i go to India i know wat i'm looking for.. Cheers

  • Juan March 21, 2010 03:03 pm

    It certainly is. One of the greatest posts ever. It's so relaxing forget about technicalities, which tend to be so stressful. We are so focused on them we forget about observation. Sometimes a technical setting just makes part of a good picture, others, makes the picture. I've seen great photos taken in the auto or program modes, which means, the photographer has not to worry about how the picture is achieved, just about grabbing the moment. However, shooting with different settings is a great way to find new things and see similar situations in diferent ways, conveying different sensations.

  • J. March 21, 2010 01:31 pm

    Fantastic article!

  • Lon March 21, 2010 01:30 pm

    Today I was out for a long walk with my son and shooting everything that caught my attention. As we were about to drive back home and I was putting my gear in the bag I realized I didn't even bother to check the shooting mode dial - it was in program mode as it almost always is and I realized that I've become familiar with the aperture my camera uses in various lighting situation. Unless I really want ultimate control of my depth-of-field, the only settings I really bother to fiddle with is the exposure control and the flash exposure control.

    Even when I want to expand my boundaries I usually shoot in Av mode, and occasionally Tv, but never fully manual except during long exposures - not having to think about it or divert my attention to the settings in the viewfinder means I can just compose and shoot.

  • MeiTeng March 21, 2010 12:37 pm

    "Remember, some of the world’s best Photographers have never had any formal training. They went where their instinct took them and clicked what their heart told them to."

    I like this very much. I think perhaps that's what makes great photographers.

  • Louis March 21, 2010 10:42 am

    for once i dont feel worried or perplexed that i don't have to have the best slr and lenses to help me get the best photo..=)

  • Memoria March 21, 2010 09:16 am

    I enjoyed the advice and photos on this post. I love the shot of the burning text.

  • Merri March 21, 2010 09:07 am

    This is just what I needed to hear today, thanks!

  • Veronica Salazar March 21, 2010 08:23 am

    Very good post. It has happened to me that when I let go the fear of taking bad photographs is when I'm able to capture better the moment. Still I think knowledge of your equipment is a must.

  • Greg Taylor March 21, 2010 06:14 am

    This may be the best post I've ever read on this site. I agree too many people get caught up in the technical nature of photography. That knowledge is important but be observant and go make photographs.

    On my site I've started a series called FOCUS where in a one minute video photographers talk about what it took to take some of their favorite photos. http://grtaylor2.com/2010/03/focus-rcpm-celebrity-theater-european-swallow/

    For every one photograph I add to my portfolio there are approximately 250 photos that I hate and that no one ever sees. Although fear or taking a bad photo is valid I think that people are more afraid of the criticism that comes with bad photographs. (Everyone goes through this - Please don't let this stop YOU from being a great photographer - the craft needs you.)

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