Dear Aspiring Photographer,
Hereâ€™s the deal, I know enough about photography to know that I do not make a decent photographer. I appreciate photography; when other people do it, but lately, it has begun to annoy me.
I understand that, now more than ever before, dozens of people have access to DSLR cameras and instagram likes have them believing that they are really good photographers. I hate to burst the bubble, but most of you arenâ€™t all that. I realize this sounds like a hate mail, so I am going to point out a few mistakes and things I think would help improve the situation.
Once upon a time, some guy took a photograph. It was a medium shot with sharp focus on the subject and a blurred background; the end product was beautiful, amazing even. A lot of people seemed to agree on that because I have seen countless replicas of that same shot. Now, I think it is OK to try out a shot youâ€™ve seen before, but seriously you canâ€™t make a whole photo session out of that one shot, it is wrong and boring and makes me want to hack into your account and shut it down.
While I am still complaining, I would like to touch on head rooms. Now, I expect that you know what is, but in laymanâ€™s terms it is the space above a personâ€™s head in a photograph. The rule is to keep it minimal. But over and over and over again I have seen photos with a kilometer-sized headroom! Unless the sky was subject of the photo (and I doubt it was) fix that headroom aspiring photographer.
Of course they are a bunch of other mistakes, like taking all your photos from one point of view, imbalanced lighting, the crazy belief that taking photos of semi-nude women automatically makes you a good photographer and so on. We could go on forever but I think it would be more constructive if we went on to how to fix this mistakes.
Now, if you have decided that photography is what you want to do; donâ€™t just pick a camera and walk around snapping it. Get an education. Doctors go to med school, go to a film class; any school offering journalism/film/animation offers them so enroll. Now if tuition fees is going to pose a problem; I have an idea for you; ever heard of YouTube? Yes, it hosts countless tutorials.
Alternatively, go into a library and get a book on photography. Take notes, practice a little, take more notes, practice some more. Ever heard of that clichÃ©, something about practice making perfect? Well, that is the idea here. The idea here is to learn the rules so you can now how to work within their confines and how to effectively break them and end up with a masterpiece on your hands.
While learning on your own is important, there is nothing wrong with a little mentorship. So apply for a workshop, universities with media departments are always hosting symposiums, people like Osbourne Macharia and Pawa254 are constantly hosting workshops. The good thing about workshops is that you meet people better than you and people at the same level you are in. Your work gets critiqued, you get suggestions at what you could better and you probably share something too and impact the photography scene.
Another option is searching for an internship. Apply to be a production assistant at a film company. Offer to ferry a photographerâ€™s equipments in exchange for a few lessons. This way, not only do you perfect the skill, you also get to know industry trends and network and the overall result is that your photos tell the story with clarity and you grow from being an amateur into an artist. Most importantly, you get challenged.
Of course there is another option where halfway through all this you realize photography isnâ€™t for you; should that happen- there is no shame in putting down the camera and sticking to selfies.