Tips and Advice
for photography and for life
1. Stay curious
- Ask why: If you see a photo you like, ask yourself why you like it. Do I like this photo because of the colors? Or maybe it's the way the elements of the photo are arranged? This will help you become more aware of your own aesthetic tastes and preferences as well as give you insight into that of others such as your audience.
- Ask how: If you see an effect you like, ask yourself how that effect was achieved and read into it! Search engines are your best friends. How can I get my background to be blurry like that? Just putting this question into Google gives me the wider your aperture the more blurry your background from the first hit article. How can I give my photos that warm feel? Again a quick search gives me a plethora of post editing tutorials to achieve such an effect.
2. Try it out
- Don't just read. Do: Don't just read about how things are done. Try them out for yourself! Go take photos with a wider aperture and see how that affects your photo's background. Follow one of those post editing procedures and see how they're done. What you learn from reading will stick with you much longer if you supplement with doing.
- Experiment: You definitely don't need to limit yourself online the techniques you've read about. Make up your own concoction of techniques.
3. Try again
- Tweak and repeat: If at first you don't succeed, try try again. But make sure to tweak your procedure a bit. It's insanity to do the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. Maybe your wide aperture shot just caused the entire photo to become overexposed. Try it again with a faster shutter speed.
- Don't get discouraged: If you're having a hard time, it's not because you're dumb or incompetent, it's because you're trying to do something hard! Failure happens for a reason. If it was easy, everyone would be super skilled at it already.
4. Be critical
- Challenge what you read: Don't trust everything you read online or even what you learn from others. We're all prone to making a few mistakes here or there and may accidentally suggest misinformation. Follow up on your sources to make sure they're credible and what they assert is replicable. If many sites claim that a wider aperture leads to a blurrier background, then there's a higher likelihood that the statement is true. However, if only one site claims that a smaller aperture actually leads to a blurrier background, then there's a higher likelihood that the author accidentally got his facts wrong.- Logic it out: If you feel like something may be wrong, logic it out. Synthesize what you've learned to deduce whether something new makes sense. If you know some basic optics, it will be clear why a wider aperture leads to a blurrier background.
- Challenge yourself: Take pride in your accomplishments but never forget that there's always room for improvement. You can always aspire to even greater heights.
5. Keep an open mind
- Be open to change: Understand that nothing is set in stone: Your personal tastes will likely change. Industry standards may change. Audience demographics and preferences may change. Whether you let the latter two changes influence your work is up to you. But be ready and willing to adapt to new changes.
- Be open to new ideas: You never know when you're going to encounter an idea from a perspective that makes you challenge your own. Maybe that perspective will teach you a few new things about how to view photography and how to view life.