First off, what a thrill to have been asked to guest blog here at Photo Freak’s fabulous place...and what a totally humbling experience it is to follow the past guest photography bloggers who have written such amazing posts! I’ll do my best to keep the quality standard at (at least) a ’worth reading level’....the best I can hope to achieve, comparatively ;D
(a very rare thing; a self portrait from the summer '09...wouldn't post that for just anyone, Aurora! ;D)
So, all about me, huh? Well, let’s see...I call myself Tezzie here in blogland (for many reasons not worth getting into, I prefer to blog under an assumed name). You’ll find me at Not Always Picture Perfect where I sometimes write and post pics about my life living in Finland as a Swedish Canadian...but mainly it’s an outlet for my attempt at creativity and art through photography, and it’s a place where I can truly be myself. And, before you get all excited about ’creative and artistic photos’, I should mention that at the age of 40, I am (at best) an aspiring photographer who has only been clicking pictures for 2½ years now, having bought my first DSLR camera in 2008 (a Pentax K200D, for anyone who might be wondering).
I’ve always loved looking at photos (especially ones taken by people who know what they’re doing!). I feel like I’ve always viewed the world through a camera lens, even when I haven’t had one! My eyes have naturally sought out scenes that I would love to capture in order to share them and have others see and experience the beauty of what I saw. One could say that I’ve yearned to fill the need to express a natural part of myself... and after economy and circumstance finally merged (plus with the amazing guidance from my younger brother, who started his photographic journey a couple of years ahead of me), I was at last able to buy a decent camera!
My style...hmm...while still at an intermediate amateur stage, I’m not sure if I have a style that can be defined as such. I suppose ’candid natural light photography’, might describe it... I also love creating ’photo art’ from landscapes and macros...but my personal favourite thing to capture is ”beauty in the oddest places”. Very, very rarely will I do posed shots...and it’s also uncommon for me to ’set up’ a photograph. What you see, is (pretty much) how it was!
It’s hard for me to give advice to other photographers, since I feel like such a beginner still! A couple of things, though, that truly make a photograph a ’good one’ are lighting and focus. If you don’t have those two basic ingredients, the rest won’t matter much.
When taking a photo, consider what it is that made you want to take that picture to begin with...(what is you want to show?...what is the most important thing you want the viewer to see?). Consider, then, how you will compose your picture to get your ’message’ across.
Something that has stayed with me from the first day I got my camera, is something my brother said to me; ”try to show your subject in a way that has never been shown before...find an angle that will make the viewer look at your subject as if it’s the first time they’ve ever seen such a thing, even if it’s something as common as a flower”.
Another thing that (in my opinion) is a MUST as a beginning learn-it-yourself hobby photographer, is photo editing software of some kind. So many of my shots have been either greatly improved, or even saved because I was able to ’fix’ them later on. Start learning editing with the easier things; like cropping, adjusting the lighting, sharpening the focus, and boosting colour. You’ll be amazed at how a photo you thought was pretty good SOOC (straight out of the camera) is turned into fabulousness with just a bit of tweaking in photoshop! (or, in my case, Photoshop Elements 6)
Here are some before and afters to show what I mean (all of the befores are SOOC, other than the watermark and resizing for the web):
What I did: slight straighten and crop, unsharp mask, brightness and contrast boosting, colour saturation boost.
What I did: slight crop, white balance correction, unsharp mask, lighting corrections, colour desaturation to bring a melancholy mood to match my boy’s expression, edge burn to help focus the attention towards the centre of the photo
What I did: flip to mirror image and crop to make use of leading lines and rule of thirds within the photo, unsharp mask, brightness and contrast boosting, colour saturation boost.
What I did: drastic crop to bring the subject much closer and place it centre/right (also taking advantage of the natural framing of the leaves), unsharp mask, brightness and contrast boosting, colour saturation boost, edge burn
The most important piece of advice that I have to give, though, is to LOVE what you’re photographing; if you can’t see the beauty in what you’re capturing, then noone else will be able to see it either!
OK, folks...I need to wrap this up now...hopefully I’ve managed to inspire some would-be photographers out there from a fellow beginner’s viewpoint. If any of my advice was helpful in creating an image that you love, please stop by my blog to let me know; it would make my day!! :D
Thank you, Aurora, for allowing me to do a guest post here...it was a true honour, for sure <3
Happy clicking, everyone! :D