My first camera was borrowed from my parents, a Minolta X370 with a 50mm lens. It was the late 1980’s and digital photography was just a dream (really? Who dreams about this stuff). I started out taking photos of things I liked, mainly trains. I didn’t know anything about exposure, f-stops or the like. Point, click, hope it turns out.
In 1992, I took a photography course in high school taught by Winona Elliott-Schep. That’s when I learned the things you’re suppose to learn about how to take a good photo. Yes, I learned about f-stops, how to develop film, don’t mix the wrong chemicals, and all the technical stuff. The real lessons though were in composition. How light, or the absence of light, can make art. Drama matters. Visual interest matters. Telling a story matters. There’s a reason why the phrase “A picture is worth a 1,000 words” was coined.
I will not profess I was not the best student in the class, far from it. But the lessons I learned shaped how I approach photography (redacted) years later.
Ah, now you’re thinking “What were those lessons?” OK, here we go (not these are in no particular order of importance).
First, taking 200 photos to get one good shot is a waste. We’re lucky in digital photograph not to have the costs and time involved with film photography. But the lessons from film still matter. Take fewer photos that matter. Pray and spray does work, but it is ineffective.
Second, patience. Take a deep breath and wait. The right moment for a photo will happen, and it’s kind of magical.
Third, technical points do matter. You have to get the photo. You have to be able to see an use the photo.
Fourth, do it right the first time because rarely you get do-overs. You cannot go back in time to redo an event.
OK so I told you about this, here’s some facts about me. Family guy, four kids, loves soccer, cheers for underdog sports teams, plays with model trains, wears Hawaiian shirts with tuques, history geek, works for a weekly newspaper, and takes photos. If you need more information, click on that contact link.