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Becoming a Great Photographer - By Shiiizzzam

Lesson Three Pages that link to <a href="https://ozoneasylum.com/backlink?for=5198" title="Pages that link to Lesson Three" rel="nofollow" >Lesson Three\

The lessons I'm posting were done by John Setzler sixstring. He's a awesome photographer and taught me everything I know about photography. He gave me the following lessons to share here with others to help new photographers learn how to get started or even help if you feel you need to climb out of a slump. He has prints and a awesome gallery

Lesson 3: Evaluating and Improving Your Own Work

Now that you have made 25 photos of a single subject, it’s time to evaluate your results. Your objective should be to have a ‘perfect’ photo. A perfect photo is defined as a photo that you are completely happy with and don’t see any room for improvements.

There could be some controversy about what is and isn’t a perfect photo. You should base ‘perfect’ on what you know right now about photography, not what you may know in the future. Your perfect photo should meet a few simple criteria:

1. Did you accomplish your goal with this particular photo?

2. How well is the photo composed? Would it look better if you composed it differently?

3. Is the lighting adequate? Would changes in the lighting improve the results?

4. Are there any distracting elements in the photograph? Would repositioning your subject improve the overall environment any?

5. Is your photo sharp where it should be sharp?

6. Did you capture the ‘essence’ of your subject? Does your subject have some strong characteristics that you highlighted in your photograph?

These questions highlight a few of the ideas that I think about when creating photos. You always want your photo to be as good as it can be considering whatever circumstances you are working in. In many cases, you will be taking candid photos where you don’t have control over some of these elements. In situations like this, you have to take what you can get. But, knowing these things and practicing them whenever possible will make your candid moment camera results much better in the long run. After you have practiced and understand most of these issues, they will become second nature and you will integrate them into your work without even thinking about it. When this happens, even your snapshots will be more successful.

If you are making some type of still life, landscape, or other photo where you do have a little more control over the environment, you should always consider the above questions when shooting. In a landscape situation, you don’t have control over the weather and direction of the lighting. You can, however, plan your shots when you think the lighting and weather will be advantageous. Sometimes, with landscape photos, you may have to visit the site several times at different times of day to find the perfect photograph. It seems like a lot of work, but the amount of effort you put into researching these items will show in your final result.

With an indoor still life photo, you always have control over these elements. You should spend an adequate amount of time exploring your possibilities. Changing the direction and intensity of your lighting can completely change the mood of a photo. Changing your composition can give similar results.

Composition (the placement of the subject(s) within the frame) is a very important aspect of creating strong photographs. I am not going to attempt to write detailed information about composition, but I am going to refer you to some of the free online resources that I used when studying composition.

AGFAnet’s Classical Photo Course “Composition” Segment:


Kodak’s “Composing Your Pictures”


This is all very worthwhile reading. There are thousands of articles on photographic composition available online. Do a Google search for “photographic composition” and you will be flooded with results.

Your assignment for Lesson 3:

If you are not totally happy with your photograph and think it could be improved in some way, re-shoot until you feel this way about it!

It is possible that you shot 25 photos of something that you couldn’t possibly re-shoot. If this is the case, then you are in luck! You get to shoot a new subject and repeat lesson #2. No worries there though… Always shoot lots of photographs. One of the secrets to improving is not necessarily shooting lots of photos. It’s what you learn from your bad photos that will improve your record. Taking lots of photos is only beneficial if you study the ones you don’t like and learn from those mistakes.

Happy shooting!

Lesson 1-3 Recap:

The cumulative purpose of these lessons is to make sure you are familiar with the features and functions of your camera and to work you through the process of creating a finished photograph. Anyone can make photos. It sometimes takes a bit of persistence to formulate an idea and ‘finish’ it. Using this process seems time consuming, and it may be in the beginning. But, each time you create a ‘perfect’ photo using this method, it will become easier. You will begin to think this way and image ideas will come together more quickly in future attempts.

Creating your ‘perfect’ photograph will build your self confidence. Building images that you are completely satisfied with is a requirement. You have to be satisfied with your own work before you could possibly expect anyone else to feel the same way!

Related FAQs:
Lesson One
Lesson Two
Lesson Four

Related Threads:

Lesson One
Lesson Two
Lesson Three
Lesson Four

(Added by: Skaarjj on Sat 30-Aug-2003)

(Edited by: Skaarjj on Sat 30-Aug-2003)

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